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Will Bill Clinton Cross the Manchester Hyatt Picket Line?

gay-wedding-cakae1.thumbnail.jpgSince July 2008, when hotel owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 seed-money donation to Proposition 8 was revealed, a broad coalition of labor and the LGBT community has boycotted his Hyatt hotel in San Diego. On Sunday, Bill Clinton is scheduled to deliver a speech there. He’s being asked to honor the boycott. Will he?

Bill Clinton must make a choice. He must decide whether a speech for big bucks is more important than honoring a labor and activist boycott. On Feb. 15, the former President is scheduled to make a speech at the Manchester Hyatt.

As a refresher, Mr. Manchester gave some of the initial seed money to get Proposition 8 on the ballot, $125,000 to be exact. Since then, a coalition of labor, LGBT, and grassroots organizations has promoted a boycott against the hotel. And it has been quite successful, with groups such as the American Assoc. of Law Schools moving their events.

In their letter to Bill Clinton asking him to move his Sunday speech, labor and LGBT leaders explain the importance of the Manchester Hyatt boycott:

The boycott of the Manchester Hyatt is an ongoing labor dispute sanctioned by the California Labor Association, AFL-CIO and the San Diego Labor Council. It is also an issue of importance to the gay community and is supported by Equality California, San Diego Pride and others, Neither labor nor the gay community can tolerate a hotel whose profits are used to take away equal rights from gay couples and create poor working conditions for women and immigrants.

It would be a mistake for former President Clinton not to honor this boycott, one he will surely be aware of when he shows up in San Diego on Sunday:

Rest assured that if Clinton plans on busting the boycott, he’ll have to pretend he doesn’t notice the rally outside. Activists from around the region are planning on protesting the speech. Clinton should move the speech or just not give it. Together, we will bend the arc of history for justice. But we must be united.

There’s nothing new about the boycott, either:

Cleve Jones, a longtime gay-rights activist who founded the NAMES Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt, said he welcomed Clinton’s help fighting Proposition 8 but was skeptical of the president’s position.

“The boycott has been in effect and very well publicized since July,” said Jones, who also signed the letter. “He’s had ample foreknowledge of the situation.”

Supporters of same-sex marriage plan to gather outside the hotel Sunday at 11 a.m. and remain there throughout Clinton’s scheduled 12:30 p.m. speech.

Finally, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign (sign the letter at this link!) notes the irony of Bill Clinton not honoring a Proposition 8 boycott:

Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles organization that promotes progressive political issues, said it’s ironic Clinton would be involved in the debate over same-sex marriage, because Proposition 8 is being defended in court in part by Kenneth Starr, who 10 years ago built the case for impeachment against Clinton.

“Bill Clinton has done a lot of good,” said Jacobs, who also signed the open letter. But “there’s a really big irony in this.”

CommunityFDL Action

Will Bill Clinton Cross the Manchester Hyatt Picket Line?

gay-wedding-cakae1.thumbnail.jpgSince July 2008, when hotel owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 seed-money donation to Proposition 8 was revealed, a broad coalition of labor and the LGBT community has boycotted his Hyatt hotel in San Diego. On Sunday, Bill Clinton is scheduled to deliver a speech there. He’s being asked to honor the boycott. Will he?

Bill Clinton must make a choice. He must decide whether a speech for big bucks is more important than honoring a labor and activist boycott. On Feb. 15, the former President is scheduled to make a speech at the Manchester Hyatt.

As a refresher, Mr. Manchester gave some of the initial seed money to get Proposition 8 on the ballot, $125,000 to be exact. Since then, a coalition of labor, LGBT, and grassroots organizations has promoted a boycott against the hotel. And it has been quite successful, with groups such as the American Assoc. of Law Schools moving their events.

In their letter to Bill Clinton asking him to move his Sunday speech, labor and LGBT leaders explain the importance of the Manchester Hyatt boycott:

The boycott of the Manchester Hyatt is an ongoing labor dispute sanctioned by the California Labor Association, AFL-CIO and the San Diego Labor Council. It is also an issue of importance to the gay community and is supported by Equality California, San Diego Pride and others, Neither labor nor the gay community can tolerate a hotel whose profits are used to take away equal rights from gay couples and create poor working conditions for women and immigrants.

It would be a mistake for former President Clinton not to honor this boycott, one he will surely be aware of when he shows up in San Diego on Sunday:

Rest assured that if Clinton plans on busting the boycott, he’ll have to pretend he doesn’t notice the rally outside. Activists from around the region are planning on protesting the speech. Clinton should move the speech or just not give it. Together, we will bend the arc of history for justice. But we must be united.

There’s nothing new about the boycott, either:

Cleve Jones, a longtime gay-rights activist who founded the NAMES Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt, said he welcomed Clinton’s help fighting Proposition 8 but was skeptical of the president’s position.

“The boycott has been in effect and very well publicized since July,” said Jones, who also signed the letter. “He’s had ample foreknowledge of the situation.”

Supporters of same-sex marriage plan to gather outside the hotel Sunday at 11 a.m. and remain there throughout Clinton’s scheduled 12:30 p.m. speech.

Finally, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign (sign the letter at this link!) notes the irony of Bill Clinton not honoring a Proposition 8 boycott:

Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles organization that promotes progressive political issues, said it’s ironic Clinton would be involved in the debate over same-sex marriage, because Proposition 8 is being defended in court in part by Kenneth Starr, who 10 years ago built the case for impeachment against Clinton.

“Bill Clinton has done a lot of good,” said Jacobs, who also signed the open letter. But “there’s a really big irony in this.”

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