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.
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.
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.