Prominent LGBT rights group GetEQUAL issued its own Travel Alert to Mississippi today, as the state's legislature considers a bill that would allow business owners to discriminate for religious reasons.
Sound familiar? Just last week Arizona's governor vetoed a similar bill after massive public outcry, including several high-profile travel companies.
A growing chorus of prominent travel companies, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, and Marriott International, are pressing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062, the recently passed legislation that would allow businesses to deny service for religious reasons. The bill is meant to protect religious freedom, but would effectively legalize discrimination of religious minorities and LGBT individuals.
Both American Airlines and Marriott International—joined by the Arizona and Greater Phoenix Chambers of Commerce—have written letters (see here and here) to Governor Brewer outlining their concerns over the bill. Delta issued a statement yesterday, available here.
Marriott's regional Vice President Steve Hart and Director of Government Affairs Thomas Maloney believe that if enacted, SB 1062 would “undermine—or worse, counteract” the brand's efforts to boost revenue, particularly from business travelers.
Choosing where to go for your next vacation can be a tricky—though rewarding—process. Beach or mountain? Luxe or affordable? But as last week’s Why We Travel post detailed, a slew of the world’s top destinations outlaw homosexuality, leaving LGBT travelers with a more basic question of where they can (and should) and cannot (and should not) venture.
How to choose? Here are a few pointers:
Safety first: Upwards of 70 countries worldwide criminalize homosexuality. And public perception of gay individuals can be abysmal even in places without draconian sodomy laws on the books. Russia, for example, has seen a spike in hate crimes recently despite its relatively mild anti-gay laws. The takeaway from the first Why We Travel post on Sochi’s Olympics applies anywhere physical violence is a real possibility: LGBT travelers, especially same-sex couples, should exercise discretion.
My recent Why We Travel post discussed the potential risks of traveling to the Sochi Olympics in the wake of Russia's new anti-gay law. But the Duma is far from the only legislative body on earth enacting prohibitive policies against LGBT individuals.
The list of countries with draconian laws includes many of the expected players: Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria call for the death penalty as punishment for homosexual activity. In Bangladesh and Guyana, life imprisonment awaits transgressors. Yet these countries are not exactly top destinations for most Americans. So however they may feel about the laws, US travelers are unlikely to base their vacation plans off of them. A travel boycott by Americans to the Solomon Islands, where homosexuals face up to fourteen years in jail, is unlikely to hold much sway.
Even as excitement grows for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, news over the games has been dominated by controversy. Just last week the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert to Russia. Much of the fuss over the past few months—and one of the six “risks” outlined by the travel alert—pertains to Article 6.21, a country-wide anti-gay law in place since June.
Today's Supreme Court rulings—striking down DOMA and essentially paving the way for same-sex marriage in California—have helped make this Pride month prouder than ever. A number of hotels are sharing in the celebrations by offering special promotions geared for LGBT guests, their allies, and their causes.
Here, T+L takes a quick look at a few of them:
Did you miss the Pride events this month in Boston, Providence, and D.C.? Those cities already had their big celebrations, but there’s still time to attend the festivals in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and elsewhere.
One Pride event you may not have considered is Minnesota’s Twin Cities Pride. This under-the-gaydar destination has a lot to celebrate since last year’s paradegoers marched down Hennepin Avenue. In November, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and the state legislature legalized equal marriage in May, with the law going into effect August 1. No wonder T+L readers voted the Twin Cities one of America’s top cities for Gay Travel.
This week’s elections mean that gay marriage will soon be legal to the states of Washington, Maryland, and Maine—and that means many more same-sex couples are preparing to taste sample cakes and prune over-ambitious guest lists. To help get the party started, check out a few of the very first special offers and promotions meant to entice same-sex brides and grooms in those states.
The (first possible) Big Day: December 6, 2012
Camden Harbour Inn’s “Maine Is For ALL! Lovers Wedding Package”gives you and your guests the run of this urbane and carefully designed B&B. The offer, which starts at $15,960, includes the reception, breakfast, and two nights’ stay for up to 40 guests, based on double occupancy.
It’s June and that means it’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month. Parades have been marching every weekend in cities and towns across the country. (For those who aren’t familiar: June was the chosen month as a nod to the Stonewall riots, regarded by most as the start of the Gay Rights movement.) This upcoming Sunday, the streets of NYC’s West Village will be lined with thousands of supporters, many from outside the city…and they’re going to need a place to crash. Lucky for them, lots of hotels are offering up great deals to show their support.
The effects from the recent legalizing of gay marriage in New York are already starting to take shape. In peparation for the day legal ceremonies will finally be able to be performed—July 24—Mayor Bloomberg is preparing to launch a new campaign called "NYC I Do," which will seek to bring in gay tourists looking to get hitched. What does that mean for the city? About $400 million in estimated revenue over the next three years, just from gay marriage–related spending!
To boot, many of the NYC’s businesses have quickly shown their support for the historic decision, and are celebrating by offering special discounts for the many couples that have been patiently waiting for their time to come. Here are just a few I was able to find. (Without a doubt, more will surface as July 24 nears.) Happy Pride!