A hotel chain has said it is refusing to let gay couples stay in its rooms, a move that could lead to further protests in cities across the country.
Key points:Hotel operators said they would not let couples share their roomsHotel chain The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is urging other hotels to follow suitHotel chains are a growing source of revenue for some cities, and the industry is facing pressure to diversify into new areas as America moves towards an economy that is increasingly homogeneous.
Hotel operator The American said it would not allow couples to share rooms with people of the same sex in its hotels.
It said it had received an overwhelming response from its members, which included many in the gay community.
It urged hotel operators across the nation to follow a similar path.
“Hotel guests are the backbone of our economy and we want to give them the best possible experience,” AHA President John C. Heimbach said in a statement.
“This is our right, and it is an opportunity to bring attention to a growing issue that we all have a stake in.”
The decision came after the AFLA, which represents hotels and other lodging companies, sent a letter to all American hotels saying the policy was “a direct assault on the sanctity of marriage”.
“It is a blatant violation of the law and should not be tolerated,” the letter said.
“The American Hotel and Lodging Assn.
has received overwhelming responses from our members and their communities who strongly oppose this discriminatory policy.””
We are committed to continuing to fight for the sanctification of marriage, and to ensure that all people of good will, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, are treated equally and respected.”
The AHA has been a strong supporter of marriage equality, and has called for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
The AFLA’s decision to oppose the policy came just weeks after a New York hotel chain said it was taking a similar stance.
The Hoteliers Association said it planned to “take legal action to force the company to abide by the AHA’s position and not allow the same-gender couple to share a room”.
“We have not yet had a chance to read the letter, but we have received multiple emails from many of our members, many of whom are gay, asking us to stop supporting the hotel chain,” said Steve D’Ambrosio, executive director of the association.
“I would encourage any other hotel chain to follow their lead and not discriminate against guests of the opposite sex in any way.”
Hoteliers association chairman and CEO Tom O’Leary said the association would not back down.
“We’ve heard the same messages from all of our member associations,” he said.
“This is a huge issue that is going to get more attention and attention than it’s ever going to receive.”AFLA spokesman Michael Gerson said the federation was “disappointed by the hotel’s decision” and said the hotel would review its position.
“In the meantime, our members continue to be supportive of our mission of promoting marriage equality across our country,” he added.
The American said its policy was similar to that of the other major hotel chains, which said it did not allow people of one gender to share their beds with people from the other gender.
A spokesman for Marriott Hotels said the company was taking the policy “very seriously” and would review it.
“Our guests deserve to feel safe in their rooms and will continue to work closely with the hotel and AHA to ensure our guests feel welcome and welcomed,” the statement said.’
We’re here for them’Hotelers have long fought for gay and lesbian guests to be allowed to share the same room, with many of them supporting the cause.
In the late 1970s, gay activist Pat Robertson famously said: “We’re the guests.
We’re here to give you a room, but if you don’t want a room you don’st want us.”
In recent years, the hospitality industry has grown to include a diverse range of guests.
In 2015, the number of same sex couples in America increased to 3.7 million.
“As Americans, we’ve got to accept the fact that we’re not perfect, and we don’t have to accept our own bigotry, but at the same time we’re here in our country to be with people who are different from us, and for those of us who are not perfect but who are good, we have to live with that,” said Joe Haldeman, CEO of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Hotels have also fought against bans on same-play venues in public places, which some critics say are often used to encourage same- sex activity.
Gay rights activists and civil rights organisations have urged hotels and businesses to move towards inclusion of gay and lesbians in their customer base.