Wednesday, August 5, 2009
LGLA Calls for Boycott of State Bar Meeting Venue
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles yesterday issued an e-mail urging its 700 members to boycott the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, which will be hosting the State Bar Annual Convention in September.
“To gay and lesbian attorneys (and to attorneys and bar associations firmly opposed to inequality) the Manchester Hotel does not feel anything like ‘neutral territory,’ ” said the e-mail authored by LGLA co-presidents Ronald Lachman and R.J. Molligan and provided to the MetNews.
The 1,625-room waterfront hotel is owned by the Manchester Financial Group LLC, whose chairman, Doug Manchester, was reported to have contributed $125,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign overturning the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Lachman and Molligan wrote that it was “unconscionable that we spend any money that profits Mr. Manchester, who used his great wealth to help write discrimination into the California Constitution.“
While they called for a boycott of any meeting events held at the Hyatt, they encouraged participation at State Bar events that have no affiliation with the hotel.
LGLA and the Beverly Hills Bar Association had previously requested that the State Bar consider moving its events from the hotel, while Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom—an organization representing gay lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area—and the Bar Association of San Francisco have threatened to boycott the events entirely.
Additionally, the Mexican American Bar Association, Alameda County Bar Association and Santa Clara County Bar Association are also boycotting the hotel, according to the LGLA missive.
In May, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously against hosting an exhibit at the hotel or participating in any activity held there.
The hotel has also been the target of a boycott organized by Californians Against Hate, a non-profit organization devoted to drawing attention to the major donors to the Yes on 8 campaign, and UNITE HERE, San Diego’s hotel workers’ union, since last July.
Several organizations, including the American Association of Law Schools and the American Association for Justice—formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America—have also relocated events that had been scheduled to be held at the Hyatt.
The State Bar has allowed the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations to convene at the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront in the face of strong opposition by some delegates instead of keeping the conference at the Hyatt as originally planned.
However, the State Bar, which contracted with Hyatt to reserve the space for its 2009 and 2011 annual meetings before the divisive Proposition 8 campaign began, has maintained its position that it could not breach its contractual commitments because the cost of doing so, if borne by the members, could violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits public entities from using mandatory dues money for political actions.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company