Marriott urged not to host Christian attorney group that campaigns against gay rights



Campaigning group have accused the Marriott hotel chain of hosting a forthcoming training conference for a right-wing, Christian-based, anti-gay organization.

The ‘Alliance Defending Freedom. For Faith. For Justice’ describes itself as, ‘an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.’

It claims to be allied with 300 other organizations and 2,900 attorneys.

It has campaigned against same-sex marriage and other LGBTI rights issues – often supporting cases that have been taken all the way to the US Supreme Court.

It operates worldwide and runs an Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Academy to offer training to attorneys.

According to a petition launched by AllOut, the Alliance, ‘has been behind some of the most hateful anti-gay laws in the US. Their legal team advised Indiana lawmakers on that state’s anti-gay Religious Freedom Law. They tried to stop marriage equality in California and defended same-sex marriage bans in over 25 states.

‘They’ve also been working to take this hate global. Since 2012, they’ve fought tooth and nail to keep anti-gay laws on the books in Jamaica. They’ve even attacked women’s rights at the European court of human rights and lobbied at the UN.’

AllOut says that the Alliance is hosting a forthcoming training session in California. According to the ADF’s own website, its next Legal Academy is set to run from 5-9 July, 2015.

‘The organizers are hiding the exact venue, but All Out’s staff team have narrowed it down to two Marriott hotels in Orange County, California,’ says AllOut in a press release for its petition.

‘Our research shows that one of two Marriott-owned hotels is the most likely location. Marriott prides itself on being pro-equality: their President and CEO wrote last year that “business can’t afford inequality.”

‘If we create a huge outcry around this conference, it’ll show Marriott that condemning the anti-gay values of the ADF is the only way to protect their pro-equality reputation. The ADF will hear a powerful message: their anti-gay hate isn’t welcome, not in California, not anywhere. It could be enough to stop the training.’

Marriott has a good reputation with regard to LGBTI rights. Marriott International Inc. scored the top ranking of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2015 and 2014.

Earlier this year, its CEO, Arne Sorensen was one of several business leaders who spoke out unequivocally against the introduction of a religious freedom law in Indiana that could have been used to deny services to LGBTI individuals.

Last year, Marriott was named Corporation of the Year by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Last week it was among the first companies to send out a congratulatory message via social media about the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage.