Bill Marriott: "Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Prop 8."
by Chino Blanco, Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 02:55:14 AM EST
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. Marriott International is a public company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and is not controlled by any one individual or family. Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people. But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business.
I am personally motivated to speak now because Marriott was built on the basic principles of respect and inclusion. My father, who founded this company along with my mother, told everyone who would listen: "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your customers, who will come back again and again."
For more than 80 years, our company has grown and changed, but that basic principle still holds up. We embrace all people as our customers, associates, owners and franchisees regardless of race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
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. We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we've earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row. Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.
I am very proud of all of our associates at Marriott. And I want all our associates and guests, whom we welcome into our hotels, to know that we embrace your talents and thank you for your many contributions and your business.
I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.
Marriott is definitely "on the move" ... it's now moving quickly to put as much distance as it can between itself and the Mormon church's toxic Prop 8 victory.
Sandy Bertha, of Olivenhain, CA, daughter of Bill's brother, Richard Marriott (Chairman of the board for Host Hotels & Resorts), donated $25,000. Host Hotels is no longer one of Bill's companies, but when Bill speaks on this issue, he's also speaking as someone who counts family members as major donors to Prop 8.
He's also speaking as someone who has funded and promoted a church
that has pursued a decades-long strategy of thwarting marriage equality: