GLAAD, PlanetOut, HRC distance themselves from Manchester
Pride Rocks event moved from Manchester Grand Hyatt
Published Thursday, 01-May-2008 in issue 1062
In apparent response to media inquiries, PlanetOut Inc., the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and the Human Rights Campaign acted swiftly April 22 and 23 to dissociate themselves from the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
PlanetOut, GLAAD and Global Hyatt Corp. have partnered to offer a Pride 2008 GLAAD Package rate at 26 hotels nationally and to stage “Pride Rocks” parties at three hotels, in San Diego, San Francisco and Boston.
But, the San Diego party now will be moved to another location in protest of the $125,000 donation by the owner of the San Diego hotel, Doug Manchester, to the ongoing campaign to amend the California Constitution to permanently ban same-sex marriage.
In March, Manchester told The San Diego Union-Tribune that his Roman Catholic faith drove him to donate to the anti-same-sex-marriage movement.
“When they say that we cannot say that a marriage is between a man and a woman, that’s where I draw the line,” Manchester said.
Donations such as Manchester’s helped the amendment campaign pay signature-gatherers, and the coalition announced on April 21 that it has collected enough petition signatures to force a ballot vote on changing the Constitution, a claim that now must be verified by state officials.
GLAAD was first to bolt from any association with Manchester, on April 22.
“GLAAD ... does not and will not have a relationship with the individual hotel property owned by Mr. Manchester,” said President Neil Giuliano. “Mr. Manchester’s decision to fund an initiative that would hurt loving, committed gay couples makes it impossible for us to continue to be associated with any promotion of his venue. GLAAD strongly encourages members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to speak as one and to withdraw their support from this venue’s event as well.”
A day later, the Pride Rocks parties co-host, PlanetOut Inc., decided to move the San Diego event.
“We put together a program with Hyatt at the corporate level,” marketing vice president Kevyn Aiken said in an interview. “Upon learning about this, we have decided to move the event to a location that is more supportive and more appropriate.”
PlanetOut Inc. owns The Advocate, Out magazine, Gay.com, PlanetOut.com and other gay media properties.
The Human Rights Campaign took action against Global Hyatt on April 23, demanding that its “Best Companies for GLBT Equality 2007” logo be removed from Hyatt material referencing the San Diego hotel.
“We do not condone his (Doug Manchester’s) participation in any efforts to write discrimination into the California state constitution,” the nation’s largest gay rights group said. “Permission to use HRC’s ‘Best Places to Work’ service mark is given based on a Corporate Equality Index score of 100 percent received by the parent corporation and not individual properties. In granting a score of 100 percent, HRC investigates financial contributions to anti-GLBT organizations by officers, board members and significant shareholders of the parent corporation, but not individual franchises. Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corporation has received a score of 100 percent for the past three years. The company continues to be a strong supporter of the GLBT community.”
The San Diego Pride Rocks event, which will take place the night before the city’s Pride parade, is not affiliated with San Diego LGBT Pride, which runs the Pride parade and festival.
“Not only do we not have anything to do with it, we’ve never been contacted by PlanetOut, HRC or the Manchester Grand Hyatt to even talk about such a thing,” San Diego LGBT Pride Executive Director Ron deHarte said April 22, as the controversy began to unfold.
DeHarte said Doug Manchester “basically has said ... he welcomes (gay) people to go eat and drink and stay at the hotel and at the same time he’s writing a check to fund the constitutional ban. We want the public to be aware of Manchester’s role in funding the constitutional amendment.”