Hotel chain Marriott International, owned by the eponymous Mormon family, has signed up as an official sponsor of the 2014 Gay Games in Ohio, US – despite the fact the family’s religion considers homosexual relations a sin.
The Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland, part of the Marriott portfolio, will act as the host hotel throughout the event – due to take place next August.
The hotel chain has previously experienced a boycott from the LGBT community, due to its association with the Mormon religion.
In 2008 the church and its members contributed resources, reportedly worth $20 million, to a campaign to amend California legislation that would have ensured marriage could only take place between a man and woman, prompting many members of the LGBT community to take their custom elsewhere.
In light of the boycott second-gen chairman Bill Marriott blogged that the company was built on principles of “respect and inclusion” and had never directly donated money to the cause. “I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business,” he said via the Marriott website.
Blair Trippe, a family business adviser with Massachusetts-based Continuity Family Business Consulting, said Marriott’s support of the Gay Games could well be commercially motivated, but said this was not necessarily a bad thing.
She said, in her experience, the ability to separate family values from the family business depended on the individual family and the attitude of its next-gens.
In an interview last year Marriott said his church was also very opposed to alcohol but that the hotel chain was one of the biggest sales engines of liquor in the US.