Monday, August 18, 2008

Boycott snafu? - Updated.

Come early January, while everything up here is well frozen, the Reddess and I will be chill-axing in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools. While there is much to be learned and important contacts to be made at such meetings, it's also a bit of a boondoggle.

I've blogged before on a call by certain individuals and organizations in the legal academy to boycott one of the hotels at which AALS has booked rooms and may hold events, the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

The reason for the boycott is that the owner of the Hyatt, Doug Manchester (more accurately, Manchester Financial), has contributed to the campaign to amend the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. To hold a meeting at his hotel, according to proponents of the boycott, would violate the anti-discrimination policies of the AALS and the various other organizations involved in the meeting.

There is much that is wrong with this. The hotel itself doesn't discriminate against gays and lesbians so the boycott is solely concerned with the politics and speech of its owner. It is scandalous, I think, for an academic organization purportedly devoted to an open debate and the full exploration of ideas to boycott someone simply because some of its members don't care for his ideas. It is particularly ironic that one of the principal organizers of the boycott teaches at Villanova, a Catholic institution that I suspect does not provide domestic partner benefits and is part of a church that not only opposes same-sex marriage, but regards it as a sin. Apparently conscience does not require foregoing a paycheck.

But that's not what I am interested in here.

The AALS sent an e-mail around today announcing that it will hold no events at the Grand Hyatt, placing them all in the San Deigo Marriott - the other hotel at which rooms for the meeting are being held. Apparently, the AALS contracts with the Grand Hyatt and Marriott "provide that each hotel reserve a block of guest rooms, and leave to the AALS the choice of where to locate the AALS Registration, Exhibit Hall, Section Programs, Presidential Programs, and House of Representatives meetings." The e-mail announces that the organization "will honor our contracts with both hotels, and we have exercised our option to hold all AALS events at the Marriott to ensure the maximum participation by our members. " In other words, the AALS thinks that it is honoring, insofar as it contracts permit, the boycott.

That's shameful. While I understand the desire to "maximize participation," a scholarly organization ought not cater to those who cannot tolerate opposing points of view.

But here's the beauty part. Doug Manchester owns the San Diego Marriott as well. Neither the boycotters nor the AALS appear to have done their homework.

Thus, assuming that the conscience of the boycotters requires that they not the only patronize Manchester properties, the only way to "do justice" is to stay home in January.

UPDATE: But maybe the boycotters did get it right. Although Manchester's website lists the Marriott as one of the Group's properties, the San Diego Business Jourmal reports that he sold his interest in the hotel last spring for 93 million dollars that he could "cash out" at any time (does that mean that he still retains his interest with the ability to put it to the buyer), but part of the consideration was a stake in the buyer so he retains an interest, albeit a very small one (2.5%) in the Marriott. I guess that's not enough to "taint" the hotel.


Dad29 said... part of a church [Roman Catholic] that not only opposes same-sex marriage, but regards it as a sin

Umnnhhh...the Church views "same-sex" marriage as an impossibility, like reversing the first law of thermodynamics. Certainly, homosexual activity is sinful. But there is no such thing as homosex "marriage." Can't happen, no matter what the law says.

It's not a sin. It simply isn't.

apexcutter said...

"Doug Manchester owns the San Diego Marriott as well."

Bwaaaahahahahahaha! That is just pee-in-my-pants funny to see the boycotters painted into a corner with their own paint!

Terrence Berres said...

"the only way to 'do justice' is to stay home in January."

Perhaps they can convince their employers to show a commitment to justice by paying instead for a stay at the Coronado.

gus said...

Dad29 said "Umnnhhh...the Church views "same-sex" marriage as an impossibility, like reversing the first law of thermodynamics."

Correct you are Dad29.

Liberals like to pretend. They think it's more "fair" to pretend.
If gays want to "love" each other, they should knock themselves out!

Anonymous said...

Same sex marriage is the law in California; it is no longer a news atory here; it is only newsworthy for those who live in a state of intolerance such as Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

Well said, Anon 1:51. I couldn't agree more. It is amazing how many people are so intolerant of others, but I bet you these same people sit in a pew every Sunday morning.

If you want to throw religion into this, I can't imagine Jesus being so intolerant of others.

Anonymous said...

thank you....I notice this blog veers to gay issues...perhaps what is of interest is what we may have inside of us that we fear

gus said...

I agree, homosexuals are intolerant.
There is no such thing as gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

gus get over it SSM is the law in California

Anonymous said...

gus said...

California can make any law it likes.
Gays cannot marry. It isn't possible.
California can call the Pacific ocean the Atlantic for all I care.
I live in Wisconsin.
Thanks for your concern.

Anonymous said...

Jesus loved everyone; that did not stop him, however, from pointing out the error of one's ways.

Intolerance is a word that is thrown around far too often by the SSM advocates.