Hyatt To Make Amends?


ACL At Odds With Hyatt’s Corporate Values

Canberra. Marriage equality advocate Troy Simpson today met with Hyatt spokesperson Kaarin Dynon about the ways in which the Hyatt brand might reaffirm its proud commitment to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The Hyatt has been at the centre of a storm of controversy following the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) odd decision to hold its annual conference on Friday and Saturday (24 and 25 October) at the Hyatt, one of the world’s staunchest defenders of LGBT rights.

The Hyatt’s international reputation as one of the best places for LGBT people to work and the Hyatt’s loud political agitation for marriage equality conflict with the ACL’s determined efforts to deny LGBT people dignity, equality, and marriage rights.

The ACL has famously compared homosexuality with cancer, has demanded a school’s right to expel students simply for being gay, and has included among its literature a graphic depiction of its opposition to same-sex relationships:

Simpson told 2CC radio yesterday: “What we have here is a fundamental clash of values… The Hyatt ought to be praised for their staunchly pro-LGBT stance… they have a Facebook Page dedicated to eliminating bullying of LGBT people in the workplace”.

Yet the ACL, who will fill the Hyatt’s conference rooms this weekend, attracts some of the biggest bullies of LGBT people. Just last night, a contributor to the Hyatt’s Facebook Page called for the death of homosexuals. Another contributor defended the ACL as just trying to make LGBT people “normal”.

Initially, the Hyatt faced a barrage of online messages calling for the Hyatt to cancel the ACL’s booking. But, today, the Hyatt has reached out to the LGBT community in three positive ways.

First, the LGBT community will be holding its own event at the Hyatt at 6.00pm this Friday: the Australian People’s Lobby Party. The Party will be an opportunity for the LGBT community to support and affirm one another, provide an opportunity for the Hyatt to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBT community, and provide public faces to the people whose rights and dignity the ACL wish to deny.

Second, the Hyatt will urgently contact Rodney Croome and Ivan Hinton of Australian Marriage Equality (AME) to see what the Hyatt can offer the AME cause, such as donating a getaway at a Hyatt venue as a prize for an AME fundraiser.

Third, and most significantly, tonight the Hyatt will speak with head office in Chicago about issuing a statement that unambiguously reaffirms the Hyatt’s commitment to the LGBT community and suggesting that, next year, the ACL might find a different venue that better matches the ACL’s own “values”.

Simpson, speaking for himself, says if these commitments are met, then the Hyatt will have gone a good way to restoring its reputation as a great friend of the LGBT community.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)