Gay Equal Rights and Justice in the USA

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions today on DOMA and California Prop 8 moves the country to better states of equality for gay couples. In California, probably the worst act by voters in the past decade, even worse than electing Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor in 2003, was banning gay marriage.

In 2008 I was shocked to learn voters in California narrowly approved Proposition 8 restricting marriage to a man and a woman.

What does gay rights have to do with hotels?

Most hotel chains spend time and money developing marketing campaigns to attract gay guests. Here is an Examiner.com article from Dec 30, 2010 on the Top Gay-Friendly US Hotel Chains of 2011.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this large tourism company booth at the IPW conference for selling travel to international visitors.


German-based travel company tomontour.com offers gay friendly USA travel packages.

In Berlin at the ITB conference, the annual global travel trade convention, booth space for Gay and Lesbian Travel was provided this year for the first time.


Here is an article I wrote in March about Gay and Lesbian friendly World Rainbow Hotels, an organization that markets gay-friendly hotels around the world.


World Rainbow Hotels

I am not gay, never have been, but I am certainly gay-friendly. My wife and I have participated in gay pride parades and events in Amsterdam, Long Beach and San Francisco over the past three decades.

We vacationed in St. Croix at a gay resort for part of our honeymoon. I did not intentionally plan for us to be in a gay beach resort, but in 1989 I did not have the internet to study my hotel options and I happened to book us for a week in a gay resort.

The most common question we were asked by other guests during our stay was “Why did you book this hotel?”

We had one wild week partying day and night with gay men and women staying at the hotel. It was all good. We were honorary gays for the week.

In 1992 Kelley and I moved to Northampton, Massachusetts. Our first night at a hotel in Northampton I went to fill the ice container and came back to the room all excited telling Kelley the hotel was loaded with attractive women. She said, “You know they are gay, don’t you?”

I didn’t know.

1992 was the same year Northampton was dubbed Lesbianville, U.S.A.’ by the National Enquirer.

In graduate school several of my close friends at UMass Amherst were lesbians and social activists. Many of our California friends were gay guys and social activists. We worked on political issues together. We traveled to many hotels together.

One thing I learned with time around my gay and lesbian friends was love is real, heartache happens and relationships come and go in similar ways heterosexual couples experience life.

San Francisco is going to be a party tonight. At the corner of Castro Street and Market Street, a large rainbow flag flies as a historical reminder of the struggle.

Love one another, get married and fly your flag. Make a statement.

This is a good day for California and the USA.


Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. It is always heartwarming to come across straight individuals who are so welcoming and loving of the gays :). Thank you.

  2. Thanks for taking a stance in favor of justice and equality. You might lose a blog reader or two, but it’s nice to see someone who is not afraid to stand up for the rights of others. Heading to the Castro at 4 PM!! Yippee!!

  3. Thanks so much for this post… I know Boardingarea is about travel/loyalty programs, but it’s nice to actually see SOME mention here of the historic decisions released this morning!

  4. This happily-married heterosexual from Massachusetts thanks you for today’s post today. The SCOTUS made the right decision. A wonderful, historic day.

  5. This happily married heterosexual woman wishes she could be in San Francisco today to join in the celebration! Kudos for your support for equality for all Americans.

  6. Thanks for your support. we are not asking for any special rights. We just want simple things that straight people take for granted.

    The right to marry if we fall in love, the right to visit a sick partner , not to be fired from our job because of our sexual preference.

    And I say it again and again, I was born this way, this was not a choice. Thanks for your support!

  7. re: “What does gay rights have to do with hotels?”

    Actually, Morgan Stanley (Chase) was one of the corporations that argued in favor of same sex marriage at the Supreme Court. You would think the rest of BoardingArea would seize this opportunity to promote their Chase affiliate links. 🙂

  8. Thank you Ric for the beautiful post – the world needs more of your open-mindedness and compassion.

  9. I received a congratulatory marketing email from Kimpton Hotels two hours after the ruling announcement today. They were the first, and so far only, travel company to recognize this historic occasion with a direct email to their LGBT loyalty members. Kimpton has been a remarkable ally for years.

  10. Disagree with the SC rulings, but not a major issue. What I really disagree with is turning a travel blog into a political blog. I totally respect your right to write whatever you choose, but time to exercise my right to delete this blog from those I follow.

  11. This post has very little to do with travel. I’m not impressed. Also the link you included showing the top hotel chains for gay and lesbian persons is basically a list of nearly every major hotel chain. They all cater to everyone they can so they can fill rooms and make money. In other words just because they say they cater to special classes of people it doesn’t really mean that they care it’s just marketing.
    Let’s stick to travel in the future. Thanks.

  12. Great post! It’s good to know which travel bloggers are friendly to our cause. Love is love, and haters are gonna hate in any case.

  13. Beautifully said. Thanks for articulating what so many of us feel today.

  14. Thanks for sharing. Our daughter is gay our son straight.
    Our son married a wonderful woman from Germany, 4 months after the marriage she had her green card and resident status.
    Our daughter married a wonderful woman from the Bahamas, 10 years after being in the U.S. she still waits for her green card, not to mention the thousands of dollars spent-
    Today’s decsion makes both my children equal with equal rights.

  15. Unlike others I do see this as a travel related post. Thank you for covering the topic.

  16. When you were an honorary gay on your honeymoon, did your wife mind and did it hurt?

  17. Another sad day for America. By judicial fiat, a group of unelected judges, and in the case of California the way it played out with the remand, a single unelected Federal judge has defied the will of the people of California in order to legalize marriage of a lifestyle choice.

  18. The SCOTUS majority position on gay marriage is a good outcome, but it is many miles short of getting the government entirely out of the marriage business.

    The government, federal and state, should get out of the marriage business and recognize marriage merely as a contract between the individuals who are party to the marriage relationship, a contract that in and of itself gives no additional third party benefits or costs than that available to others, married or not. Discrimination in marriage rights still needs addressing but so does discrimination because of (non-)marital status.

  19. i want to marry my goat now, and maybe a horse and 2 women next year…..what about those rights?? this has nothing to do with hotels

  20. Wow, funny to watch the bigots and knuckle draggers jump out to splash their intolerance around the web.

    “Another sad day for America. By judicial fiat, a group of unelected judges, and in the case of California the way it played out with the remand, a single unelected Federal judge has defied the will of the people of California in order to legalize marriage of a lifestyle choice.”

    Really? Last time I checked most of the money spent on the Prop 8 campaign came from outside of California. The culture wars are over. Move on with your life.

    And lifestyle choice? Really? You can’t honestly be that dumb. Did you choose to be straight Carl? I didn’t. I was born that way.

    “i want to marry my goat now, and maybe a horse and 2 women next year…..what about those rights?? this has nothing to do with hotels”

    Dave… really? Are you that thick that you can’t see the difference between marrying a human you love and an animal? Do you like to disparage and judge other humans who aren’t exactly like you? These are the same ridiculous appeal to the absurd arguments that the cave men Republicans in congress have been making, and guess what… the American people aren’t buying it. Have fun with the rest of the people who are stuck in the past. History will not treat you kindly.

  21. Majikow,

    Dave was illustrating the point that the government is picking and choosing specific arrangements to subsidize, so why not address them all? If a man and a woman get special privileges, and now two men or two women do, then why discriminate against other possible arrangements? What about two men and a woman? Two women and a man? Three men? The federal government has no business legislating, subsidizing, regulating *any* social choices.

  22. Of course! He made that so clear, not sure how I got confused.

    I’m pretty sure marrying animals isn’t a serious issue in this country, whereas gay people being discriminated against is. Plus, how could an animal sign a legally binding contract anyway? Oh, right, they can’t. So why would it be brought up except to denigrate non-hetero relationships, which has been the strategy of the right for years, painting non-straights as “the other”. So even if Dave wasn’t trying to make that point, he’s furthering their rhetoric.

  23. Majikow,

    Again, forget about the animals. What about two women and one man, three men, or other combinations? Shouldn’t they get special rights and subsidies too… or would the best thing be for the federal government to get out of the social choice business all together?

  24. Kudos on a great piece. A great man named Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that until all of us are free, none of us are free.

    Progress occurs not just because people within a stigmatized group get tired of (and rebel against) their second-class status. Change occurs because righteous allies outside of the disenfranchised group speak up in unison with their own voices of support.

    More than 25% of the states, representing an even larger percentage of this nation’s population, permit same gender marriages.

    I was at a dinner celebration where one of the long time religious leaders was being honored for her 25+ year commitment to same-sex marriage and other social justice issues. In reading the congratulatory letter from Pres. Obama, the celebrity MC noted: “Who would have thought, 25 years ago, that our Black President would be writing to congratulate our Lesbian Rabbi on her Silver Anniversary in the rabbinate?”

    As someone who has traveled internationally to work on and publish papers on same-sex marriage in other countries, I am most appreciative of your righteous support.

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