The Mormon-owned international hotel chain Marriott continues to promote the company’s support of homosexuality through its marketing department, building off of its #lovetravels campaign.
The hotel chain has compiled several stories from homosexual partners in its ongoing promotional effort, which began last year, and is placing online banner advertisements to promote its “lesbian and gay travel” accommodations. It is also encouraging Tweeters to post its #lovetravels hashtag to show support.
The Marriott website has a page dedicated to trumpeting its support for homosexuality, stating that “[a]t Marriott, there is no room for inequality.”
It also features five videos that share the stories of various homosexual “couples,” who have also been made into banner advertisements that the company is currently promoting nationwide. (See right bottom, captured online this week.)
“Summers’ unique ability to capture romantic and touching images of LGBT individuals, couples and families perfectly conveys the company’s commitment to make everyone feel comfortable being who they are everywhere they travel,” Verona Carter, Marriott’s global director of PR, told reporters.
Marriott’s #lovetravels campaign additionally provides information on how the hotel chain provides accommodations for same-sex “weddings.”
“Every couple and each family deserves to shine equally,” the company writes. “Let’s shine the spotlight on love and pride.”
This past June, the Marriott hosted a same-sex ceremony during the Washington, D.C. pride parade—taking out billboards in the nation’s capital to tout its support—and its president, Arne Sorenson spoke out in opposition of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in April.
“This is just plain wrong and we will not stand for it,” he told Diversity Inc. “The notion that you can tell businesses that somehow they are free to discriminate is madness.”
However, Marriott’s support for homosexuality is not new as in 1999, the the hotel chain was one of the first in the nation to offer partner benefits to homosexual employees. It is also a partner with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and is a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
According to reports, the organization is additionally a national sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Out and Equal Workplace Advocates.
While the Marriott was founded in 1927 by devout Mormon J. Willard Marriott, and has prominent Mormons on its board, including former LDS bishop and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the company still supports homosexuality despite Mormon doctrine against the lifestyle.
Executive Director and Chairman J.W. Marriott “has been a quiet supporter of LGBT rights for more than 25 years,” the publication Quartz reports.
In seeking to distance himself from the Latter Day Saints’ efforts to support California’s Proposition 8, J.W. Marriott said in 2008 that he separates his religion from his actions.
“The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people,” he stated. “But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business.”
Homosexual activists had urged a boycott of the Marriott that year because the hotel chain was Mormon-owned, assuming that Marriott’s leadership followed LDS doctrine. The company issued its statement from J.W. Marriott to clarify its stance.
“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,” he wrote.
“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,” Marriott continued. “Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.”
Marriott’s daughter, Deborah Marriott Harrison, a spokesperson for a Mormon stake, was appointed to the company board last year.
Thomas Maloney, director of government affairs for Marriott, told the publication Skift recently that the company’s efforts to support homosexuality go far beyond its advertising.
“Marriott’s taken a pretty holistic or 360-degree approach to how we’re approaching LGBT issues, so it’s not just a marketing effort,” he told Skift, “but it also encompasses our public policies and policy advocacy.”