Former President Bill Clinton is
expected to cross a picket line set up by gay rights activists and
labor leaders to deliver a speech in San Diego on Sunday.
Clinton is scheduled to speak at the
annual convention of the International Franchise Association at the
Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel.
Gay rights group Californians Against
Hate is boycotting owner Doug Manchester's two San Diego hotels, the
Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand Del Mar, and his McCall, Idaho
resort, the Whitetail Club, due to the hotelier's $125,000 donation
in support of Proposition 8 – the ballot box initiative that yanked
back the right of gays and lesbians to marry in California on
So far the boycott has cost the hotel
more than $2 million in lost revenues, reports the San Diego
The boycott is also supported by
leaders of UNITE HERE, the recently merged union that represents
textile, hotel and restaurant employees, a strong supporter of gay
“It is such a slap in the face to the
labor movement and the LGBT community,” Cleve Jones, a veteran gay
rights activist who does organizing for UNITE HERE, told The
Associated Press. “His participation is helping to further
enrich a proven enemy of equality.”
A Clinton spokesman, Matt McKenna, says
Clinton remains a supporter of equality for gay and lesbian Americans
but will honor his commitment to speak.
“If you are a champion of equality,
you should not be a guest of Doug Manchester,” Geoff Kors,
president of Equality California, the group which led the fight
against Proposition 8, said in a statement.
According to the International
Franchise Association, as many as 3,000 people are expected to attend
their four-day annual convention that began Saturday.
Backers of gay marriage have arranged
to gather outside the hotel Sunday at 11AM. Clinton is scheduled to
speak at 12:30PM.