“Embarrassed all the way to the bank,” as Liberace used to say…
This could be awkward. The AHA is on its way to adopting as official policy a plan to embarrass the owner of the hotel where next year’s 2010 convention will take place. The owner of the hotel, Doug Manchester, made a $125,000 contribution in support of California Proposition 8, the recently-passed measure that forbids gay marriage in the state.
At Sunday’s Business Meeting gay activists won support for a resolution to embarrass Manchester by hosting at his hotel “a series of panels and special events that will address issues of equity and place questions of marriage and family in historical perspective.”
The Business Meeting turned back a more extreme measure to boycott the hotel, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, after AHA officials pointed out that the cost of breaking the association’s hotel contract could exceed $700,000.
A co-founder of the Lavender Union, James Graham, said that he rose in defense of the compromise even though some of “my sisters and brothers in the gay and labor movement might not agree with me and feel that I am betraying some principles. But I learned over the years, first as a Quaker upraising I learned I had to boycott everything all the time [laughter] that boycotts are tactical questions, not questions of principle. And as I understand it, there is not an ongoing labor dispute or an organizing drive at this time. … So we are not talking about crossing a picket line.”
Blanche Wiesen Cook, the Eleanor Roosevelt scholar, noting that she had “been an activist in the LGBT movement since I was two … and I really cannot stand that we have one group left in this country to hate,”