The Facts About Marriott and California's Proposition 8

November 11, 2008
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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As someone who worked for Marriott for several years, I can say Marriott has always been accepting and supportive of those in the gay community. There were several gay associates working in all areas of the hotel and most brought their partners to hotel employee functions. I don't know Mr. Marriott's personal views but as an employer, he has been good to the gay community and has offered benefits to gay couples for years.

OK what BIll Marriott believes are two different things! He clearly stated that the Marriott corporation did not in any way donate money to this campaign. So whaat Bill does with his own money is his own buisiness. That would be different if he used marriotts money be he stated that he did not!!!!! so what else do you want?

Like many others, I am somewhat conflicted about boycotting Marriott. I have stayed at many Marriott properties, and have been a happy customer in the past. Nevertheless, I come down on the side of a boycott for the following reasons:
1. Mr. Marriott is wealthy because of his hotel chain.
2. Mr. Marriott uses his wealth to support the LDS.
3. When I stay at Marriott Hotels I increase Mr. Marriott's wealth. I am indirectly enriching the LDS.
4. The LDS is an enemy of GLBT people.
5. Only a fool would help his/her enemies triumph.
I am under no obligation to support any company for any reason. I choose not to support this one. I implore none of you to so either.

I am happy to hear this rumor clarified from the top of Marriott. After so many thoroughly enjoyable stays at various Marriott properties it is reassuring to know that i will not have to weigh my decision in the future. I applaud the fact that Marriott has devised and implemented a diversity program irregardless of the religious leanings of the Marriot Family. Bless you for your sensitivity!

Thank you for stating your view on prop 8 in California. As a long time platinum rewards member with Marriott I was concerned when I heard news of the Marriott's involvement in this ballot initiative. I am glad you have addressed the issue. I do not think any church should donate money one way or the other on cultural issues. It is time for positive change in our country and a company like Marriott involved in social issues would not be a smart decision for the corporation or the company's board members.

I'm a patient at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. For twenty years I've stayed once a year at Rotary House, a hotel for cancer patients and their families which is run by Marriott.
As an amendment to the California constitution, Proposition 8 takes precedence over statutory law and, as other amendments have, it can do away with domestic partnership rights including equal access to insurance for gay couples.
This is a life and death matter for people like me. If Proposition 8 is used to undermine or remove DP rights, expect massive protests by cancer patients against Marriott hotels. Also expect to lose your contract at Rotary House in a very public way.

Of course Marriott isn't going to support prop 8 in public. All businesses put up a united front so they dont loose business. Look at some of the wackos that didn't say there because he didn't openly support it. He runs his business like our founding fathers did: SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. People can have their beliefs, but if they are going to be in the public in any way shape or form, they have to realize they aren't the only ones out there and that other people believe differently. Guys just trying to make a living like everyone else. Go back to the basics people and stop turning everything into something big horrendus and complicated.

Why should Mr. Marriott denounce his personal beliefs? Why should he have to publicly state his personal beliefs? He has PUBLICLY stated his PUBLIC views regarding his company. Marriott is an excellent company - the best lodging company in the industry, and to boycott the company because of the personal beliefs of Mr. Marriott is just dumb. And do some research on Mormon tithing and what it's used for before you go accusing him of donating millions to the proposition. My lds friend has told me it goes to maintain church meetinghouses, building temples, aid for the less fortunate and other things like that. The money raised for prop 8 was donated specifically TO THAT CAUSE by the members in california. Get a clue.

The words all seem right, however the fact remains that as a faithful LDS member I asssume Mr. Marriot still tithes to his Church. I am a rewards member, a Christian and a gay man. My Church, The Episcopal Church, spoke loudly against Prop 8 in every Diocese in California. Had it spent one penny to support this proposition officially I would have given it a short goal to repent publicly and then find a place to worship the God of Love and Welcome that I know. I love the quality of your company, but I cannot support those who oppress me. I will be watching.

As a gay male, I am all for boycotting a corporation when that corporation had a direct donation. In this case, Marriott did not donate. If you want to boycott Marriott because Bill Marriott is a Mormon, then you need to boycott every company that a member of LDS owns stock in. If we boycott Marriott, we are sending the incorrect message.. If we boycott, make sure we boycott the correct firm.

I loved the Marriotts in Munich and Berlin where I stayed this summer. This company knows how to run hotels. That said, I'm leaning to the boycott side of this debate. Mr. Marriott was very careful to avoid stating a personal opinion about Prop 8, so I'm left to assume that he's a Mormon because he believes in the tenets of the church. That church stands for discrimination and intolerance.

as a part of the lgbt community I am very sad and ashamed with some of your comments towards the marriott stance on this issue. I dont believe that its right to segregate or threaten loss of business just because they may or may not have the same stance or opinion as we do we need to understand that yes we have come far there is still more to go and eventually the world will see through tolerent eyes but until that time anger is definatly not the solution. if we want others to be tolerant shouldnt we first show others it first?

Don't we believe in seperation of corporation and state too? If you want government to be truly independent, then you would boycott Apple and Google too based on their $$$ involvment in Prop 8, just for principle sake.

Bill is not going to destroy freedom with my money. Boycotts are effective and appropriate. Let's unite and defend America.

Simple, Mr. Marriot: demonstrate your good intentions by issuing a formal statement in opposition to the unequal civil rights foisted upon Californians in Proposition 8.
Anything less merely legitimizes complaints of duplicity.

They're not the only church to back it, and it treads directly on separation of church and state. How can any church throw money into politics (undeniable, since this was directly involved with changing a ruling by the California State Supreme Court and the state Constitution) and keep their tax-free status? Remains to be seen.
Good for Marriot for staying out of the fray.

Karen, you're way off base. ...many who've become violent... Can you back up your assertions with facts? Yes, there have been a few instances of minor violence but they have been condemned by all those involved in the protests. It's people like you who try to inflame this further. I don't think a handful equals many.
The Mormon Church is being targeted because its leadership organized to funnel over $20M in support to the Proposition 8 supporters. While it is their right to do that, it is also the right of Prop 8 opponents to boycott businesses that support Prop 8. This is an exercise of free speech on both sides.
As a former Marriott employee I applaud Bill Marriott's statement. He didn't have to do that. But he should have known it would lead to these questions. And yes, a stay at a Marriott hotel, be it managed by Marriott or franchised, does ultimately enrich Marriott International and ultimately Bill Marriott who like most Mormons probably gives 10% of his earnings to his church. So it is perfectly reasonable to consider that when making lodging decisions.
Marriott was one of the best employers I have worked for and I still frequent their properties many years later. But I do have to consider where their income ultimately ends up when I make my travel plans.

As a public company it is understandable that it would be unfair to donate to a cause all share holders don't support or at least don't have a chance to vote on. And to retaliate against a company that treats all customers with equal respect is not very tolerant, especially since I'm sure there are employees on both sides of the issue depending on Marriot for their livelyhood. And I'm sure Mr. Marriot feels a burden towards the company that bears his name. But hopefully we will judge the company on it's own standing and not on the opinions of a shareholder. I'm sure Mr. Marriot would not want to serve more drinks to an intoxicated patron despite their desire for it, because that would only hurt and not help. Yet it is interesting to see those same customers cry foul and seek other establishments. Sorry if we misinterpret your comments and put you on the wrong side of the fence, I think many wish we understood better so we could judge better.

All I need to know is that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, did Mr. Marriott contribute anything to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Amazing how the Mormans are being targeted as the ONLY group or religion who voted YES on 8.,,,I'd love to see these same protestors, many who've become VIOLENT to older women and others who voted YES on 8, picket and hold rally's in front of Black Churches. MANY Churches, who value marriage as between a Man & a Woman, also Voted YES on 8,..Many Hispanics & Blacks,,,,To Boycott or picket the Marriott, and not those other churches is cowardly & hypocritical...I will continue to enjoy the Marriott properties in the future.

I travel alot and have always enjoyed Marriott hotels. I love the friendliness of them, as well as the cleanliness and the price. I was bummed to hear (allegedly) that Mr. Marriott had supported Prop. 8. I would never stay ANYWHERE that promoted discrimination against anyone. That being said, I was glad to read Mr. Marriott's blog that he in no way funneled Marriott Hotel money into Prop. 8's passing. I also was pleased to learn Marriott's policy on domestic partnerships and their approval by the Human Rights Campaign. I will continue to stay in Marriotts. I respect Mr. Marriott's right to embrace whichever religion he chooses. Religious freedom is very important and we should be allowed to worship whoever or whatever we want. I don't agree with the Mormon Church's stand on many things, but that's my choice as well. As long as Mr. Marriott's beliefs don't get in the way of him running a business, I'll stick with him - he actually sounds like a pretty nice guy. Julie

When it comes to gay issues, Marriott is conveniently a Baltimore-based hotel chain that is welcoming and accepting of all travelers. When it comes to Mormon issues, Marriott is conveniently a company founded and led by members of the LDS church and fully supportive of church doctrine.
Marriott can't play it both ways. Through this posting , Bill Marriott is attempting to salvage Marriott's reputation with a PR diversion.
As Margaret Thatcher once said, "Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides". Marriott can't continue to waffle.
I appreciate Bill Marriott's comments. And his willingness to weigh in shows that he realizes the financial impact of an international boycott of Marriott will have - a boycott not just by gay travelers, but those who are also supportive of equal human rights. It's not personal against Bill Marriott, I just don't want any of my money supporting Hate. Good luck.

I just stayed at a Marriot in Germany and was astonished to find a Mormon bible next to the phone. At the same time CNN reported that Mormons support the antigay movement in California. I felt quite upset. And it is more intrusing than a Mormon may understand to be forced to sleep next to a book that is linked to a movement that dislikes, or hates me, as gay.
It would be more respective to just leave a note saying that books of all religions are available in the reception for those wanting. Sorry but I will avoid Marriot in the future.

One of my best friends works for The Marriott... It is interesting to see how some people can really make a difference and take the overall well being of the many into consideration instead of his own, regardless of background and beliefs. Too bad the few bad apples always manage to ooze negativity into everything. I am pleased with Mr. Marriott's comment, and happy that some of my friends are part of such a company.

Mr. Bill Marriott: Thank you for your detailed note and Marriott's commitment to fairness in treatment of members of the LGBT community. As long as neither you personally nor Marriott corporately contributed to support Proposition 8, your personal beliefs regarding gay marriage are irrelevant. Intelligent people and churches of good will and faith can reasonably disagree on the subject of gay marriage. They become fair game for boycotts and protest only if they become political advocates and contributors of financial or other assistance. I do not care what you personally think about my 21 year same gender relationship as long as you and your company treat me with the same dignity as any other customer and citizen and avoid using the money I give you to work against my interests in society. As long as the Human Rights Campaign continues to be comfortable with Marriott International, I will continue being a customer from time to time. John