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The Facts About Marriott and California's Proposition 8

Posted: November 11, 2008 07:17:19 PM

As many of you may know I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   Some might conclude given my family's membership in the Mormon Church that our company supported the recent ballot initiative to ban same sex marriage in California.  This is simply untrue. Marriott International is a public company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and is not controlled by any one individual or family.  Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.   
 
The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people.  But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business. 
 
I am personally motivated to speak now because Marriott was built on the basic principles of respect and inclusion.  My father, who founded this company along with my mother, told everyone who would listen:  "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your customers, who will come back again and again." 
 
For more than 80 years, our company has grown and changed, but that basic principle still holds up.  We embrace all people as our customers, associates, owners and franchisees regardless of race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
 
Our principle is backed up with a formal diversity program, which we established more than 20 years ago.  Our Board of Directors has also focused on this priority and helped us be a leader and a better company.  We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we've earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row.  Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.
 
I am very proud of all of our associates at Marriott. And I want all our associates and guests, whom we welcome into our hotels, to know that we embrace your talents and thank you for your many contributions and your business.
 
I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

The facts About Marriott and Californias Proposition 8



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Comments

Posted By: John Gallagher (11/11/2008 at 11:41 AM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott;
i enjoyed reading your comments, and I know them to be from your heart. My father, Pat Gallagher, worked for you for more than 30 years. First at the now gone Twin Bridges Marriott, and then at Key Bridge. He is gone now, but some of the best advice he ever gave me was respect and like the people you work with and for. I know he did.
Hope all is well with you and yours.
Sincerely,
John Gallagher

Posted By: Cathy (11/11/2008 at 12:18 PM)
Comment:

Wow! Thanks for that!!
Great job with your blog-just a suggestion-maybe follow up with posts like the Pakastan bombing and such. It would be good to have updates.

Posted By: Alexa (11/11/2008 at 12:58 PM)
Comment:

Thank you for posting that. I was a bit concerned when I heard someone say that the Marriott chain was involved in the Prop 8 passage.

Posted By: Todd Hall (11/11/2008 at 01:47 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott,
You never cease to amaze me. You are truly a living example of the two greatest commandments.
1. To love the lord with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind.
2. And to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
I think it would be mighty hard to aspire to these goals without being able to embrace diversity. Thank you for leading by example.
Kind Regards,
Todd Hall

Posted By: Jerry (11/11/2008 at 03:57 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriot,
Can we take that as your personal and public disagreement with the Mormon Church's stance on Prop 8?

Posted By: gavin levin (11/11/2008 at 03:59 PM)
Comment:

Mr Marriott,
I have enjoyed your hotels for several years now. This is the first time I have e-mailed or blogged your hotel.
I would like to commend a young man named Adam *******, who went above and beyond the call of duty in securing me a room.
I believe Mr. ******* upholds the values set by your family to treat your customers with dignity and respect.
Mr. Nemirow is the manager at the Chicago Medical District Marriott.
If you have an opportunity, a brief note would be nice.
Keep up the good work, your employess attitude are exceptional.
Gavin Levin

Posted By: ourlivesforhim (11/11/2008 at 04:26 PM)
Comment:

We all have sins and faults before a perfect and Holy God. None of us can cast the first stone at anyone else. Thank you for reminding us that we all matter to God and are his children.

Posted By: Stephen (11/11/2008 at 04:27 PM)
Comment:

Thanks for posting your honest and forward comments. It was a pleasant surprise reading them, since they weren't required and sounded sincere. Thanks!

Posted By: Aaron (11/11/2008 at 04:29 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott, I appreciate that you are motivated to respond to the accusation that you contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8. However, what you did write was different than saying that you personally oppose Prop. 8, which you did not write. Saying you did not contribute to the campaign for Proposition 8 is not the same as saying you do not support your church's stand on gay and lesbian civil rights. I find it sad that you have to issue such a carefully worded statement to avoid both censure from your church and censure from an outraged public. I used to be a Mormon, and have always wondered why anyone would continue to claim membership and association in an organization that has in the past advocated against civil rights for Blacks and continues today to advocate against civil rights for women and members of the GLBT community. I resigned my membership in the Mormon church because I wanted absolutely no connection to an organization that would promulgate misogyny or homophobia. Your message, while appearing sincere on the surface, is hypocritical. The Mormon church is a political organ pushing hatred and bigotry. If you really believed otherwise, you would have long ago spoken with your feet.

Posted By: Jack Lechelt (11/11/2008 at 04:36 PM)
Comment:

I'm proud to know that my family is associated with the Marriott family through this fantastic company. Well said Mr. Marriott.

Posted By: Marshall (11/11/2008 at 05:30 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott, Thank you for recognizing the world is in essence one human family. From Key West with Gratitude

Posted By: Larry McVoy (11/11/2008 at 05:32 PM)
Comment:

I've spent a lot of time and money at your hotels. I can assure you that if this is your reaction to the LDS I will never spend a dime with you again nor will my employees.
The LDS may well lose their tax exempt status over this mess. And their actions will be proven to be against the constitution that enabled your church to exist in this country.
You should be ashamed and the morman church should be deeply ashamed. This is a country that is founded on the idea that everyone can be who they want to be. For shame, Mr Marriott, for shame.

Posted By: Larry McVoy (11/11/2008 at 05:34 PM)
Comment:

If my previous post does not show up on your blog I will post it to reddit, digg, slashdot, forbes, newsweek, nytimes, and anywhere else I can find. With a comment that you censored my thoughts.
Welcome to the internet.

Posted By: SEO Company (11/11/2008 at 08:16 PM)
Comment:

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Posted By: Rob Wright (11/11/2008 at 08:19 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott,
Thank you for addressing this issue. I have a couple of questions:
Given that you are a member of the LDS church, don't you provide a percentage of your income (increase) to the LDS church as a tithing?
Is that tithing being used to support anti-gay actions by the LDS church?

Posted By: tommy ward (11/12/2008 at 01:29 AM)
Comment:

Thankyou from the bottom of my heart

Posted By: Ira Blackman (11/12/2008 at 03:25 AM)
Comment:

Thank you for addressing this. Personally, I was wondering about the Marriott corporation and have heard so many discuss boycotting. This is good news. I am a Platinum Elite member and will continue to be. You have my unwavering customer support and I will tell others.

Posted By: bev gebicke (11/12/2008 at 03:30 AM)
Comment:

what a fantastic commentary! I wish every American had your insight & compassion.

Posted By: Paul Ginandes (11/12/2008 at 03:44 AM)
Comment:

Dear Sir,
I'm glad to hear that you personally did not support stripping civil rights from gays and lesbians in CA. However, you do tithe to the Mormon Church, and since that organization contributed tens of millions of dollars to that discriminatory amendment, we can be sure that some of those dollars came from your tithes. Did you contact your church elders and ask them not to encourage the other members of your church to work against the equal marriage rights of gays and lesbians? Your membership in the church supports all of its works, and many of those have been unfair, dishonest and discriminatory. I will no longer support any Mormon owned businesses, for any reason.

Posted By: Gary SF (11/12/2008 at 04:41 AM)
Comment:

So, is Bill Marriott supporting same-sex marriage or is he against same-sex marriage? Also, there is no mention of sexual orientation in the 'formal diversity program.' Don't expect GLBTs to be your customers if you cannot support us.

Posted By: Mike W. (11/12/2008 at 05:04 AM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott,
Thanks for speaking up on this topic. Many people incorrectly assumed that Marriott International or members of the Marriott family supported Prop 8. It is good to know that you did not in fact support it and that you practice what you preach in the area of diversity. It took some courage for you to come out and denouce Prop 8 in this way, knowing that your church supports it - and we applaud you for your bravery and willingness to stand up for what is right. Your words and actions are appreciated and are what makes Marriott such a great company!

Posted By: George Fox (11/12/2008 at 05:09 AM)
Comment:

Bill with all due respect, you need to put their money where their mouth is. Give money to Equality Utah, and publicly come out in support of the proposals going before the Utah legislature to support civil union. After all, those proposals are tailored to meet precisely the limits that the Mormon Church said publicly it was willing to accept. If those businessmen are not willing to do that, at the very least, then all their protestations are hot air. It's not enough, but it would separate the wheat from the chaff.

Posted By: Marty Munson (11/12/2008 at 05:13 AM)
Comment:

Years ago John F Kennedy made a speech imploring the public to believe that while he was a practicing Catholic he would not allow the Pope to dictate to him on matters of government. I think that history has confirmed his assertion. I believe that today it is commonly known and accepted that many Catholics disagree with their church on some matters, yet we don't require them to list which items of dogma they agree with and which they disagree with. We should require no different of Mormons. Your hotels' record of inclusion and civil rights is exemplary and what your personal beliefs are should remain just that - your personal beliefs, so long as your business continues to operate as it does within the laws of the land. I have been treated with the utmost of respect each time I have been a guest at one of your hotels, and have seen the same treatment for all others, and as such will continue to make Marriott Hotels my first choice for all of my travels.

Posted By: paul (11/12/2008 at 05:13 AM)
Comment:

I don't understand Larry McVoy's comment (actually either of them). I can't tell precisely what Larry McVoy wanted Bill Marriott to do. Similarly, regarding Aaron's post, I am happy to hear that Bill Marriott didn't personally contribute to yes-on-8, and I don't think it would have been reasonable to expect him to go further, by coming out swinging against the proposition or against the LDS Church. That would have been extra credit but not required.

Posted By: dan (11/12/2008 at 05:45 AM)
Comment:

It doesn't matter if Bill Marriott didn't give to Prop 8. He is a major donor to the Mormon Church. And they use that money to impose their religious views on others

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I'm Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International.

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