Gay group GOProud
will be the first LGBT organization to hold an event at the
Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, site of a two-year-old boycott
by a coalition of gay rights groups and union leaders.
The gay Republican group will hold its
Don't Tread On Us political fundraiser at the hotel on July
31. Fox News personality Tammy Bruce, who is openly lesbian, is scheduled to MC the event.
Fred Karger, whose group Californians
Against Hate first launched the boycott against Doug Manchester's
two San Diego hotels, the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand Del
Mar, in July 2008 after the hotelier donated $125,000 to the campaign
to ban gay marriage in California, Proposition 8, called the news
“We were very disappointed to hear
that this brand new LGBT Republican group decided to not honor the
2-year-old boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego,”
Karger said in an email to On Top Magazine.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of
GOProud, said he was accepting Doug Manchester's olive branch to the
“We understand that Mr. Manchester
has apologized for his support of Prop 8 and has made a substantial
monetary commitment to the LGBT community,” LaSalvia told On Top
Magazine. “We believe strongly that the gay community should
be in the business of winning new friends, not making enemies.”
But Karger, who
is considering a run for president as a Republican, said he sees
the issue as unresolved.
“For the last 2 years, [Doug
Manchester] has steadfastly refused to meet with the boycott
organizers to try to find common ground,” he said.
“Manchester has been trying to break
the boycott unsuccessfully for the last year when he attempted to
divide the LGBT community by offering $100,000 in hotel credits and
$25,000 in cash to anyone who would cross our picket line and hold an
event there. His offer was announced at the International Gay and
Lesbian Travel Association's annual convention in Toronto, Canada in
May of 2009. The offer was greeted by boos and hisses from the 400
“Every other LGBT organization has
turned down his money, even during these very difficult times,” he
added. “We are very sorry that GOProud has not.”
Earlier in the year, several large
professional associations announced they were moving all or part of
their convention business away from the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
The State Bar of California has decided
against holding its 2011 annual convention at the San Diego property
and the American Psychological Association (APA) announced in March
it would reduce its use of the hotel when it descends on San Diego to
hold its annual convention in August.
While the APA said the boycott
influenced its actions and is supportive of the effort, a
spokesperson for the State Bar said that moving its 2011 annual
meeting had nothing to do with the controversy.
By most accounts the boycott has been
successful. A conservative estimate, Karger said, would be $18
million in lost revenues for the Manchester Grand Hyatt alone.