Famous Mormon Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of the Marriott International hotel company, defied LDS church leaders by refusing to donate money to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign against gay marriage in California. He has now posted a statement on the Marriott web site, in which he touts the company's long-standing diversity policy, which includes domestic partner benefits, and in which he speaks with pride about the many LGBT events that have been hosted at Marriott hotels over the years. While it does not take as much courage for a man of Marriott's stature to oppose church leaders on a political issue (certainly, he won't be threatened with church discipline the way Andrew Callahan, rank-and-file church member from Nebraska was), it nevertheless shows that there are some Mormons who are willing to "do what is right and let the consequence follow" as they act in accordance with what their conscience tells them instead of yielding to the pressure to sacrifice their will on the altar of absolute obedience to the prophet.
Marriott's complete statement after the jump:
From Bill Marriott:
The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people. But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business.
I am personally motivated to speak now because Marriott was built on the basic principles of respect and inclusion. My father, who founded this company along with my mother, told everyone who would listen: "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your customers, who will come back again and again."
For more than 80 years, our company has grown and changed, but that basic principle still holds up. We embrace all people as our customers, associates, owners and franchisees regardless of race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Our principle is backed up with a formal diversity program, which we established more than 20 years ago. Our Board of Directors has also focused on this priority and helped us be a leader and a better company. We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we've earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row. Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.
I am very proud of all of our associates at Marriott. And I want all our associates and guests, whom we welcome into our hotels, to know that we embrace your talents and thank you for your many contributions and your business.
I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.