Gay groups are upset with Bill Clinton for violating boycott of San Diego hotel

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While Bill Clinton was inside the San Diego Hyatt, gays were outside protesting the owner's support for California Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution.

The hotel is the location of the next annual meeting of the American Historical Association.

In January the AHA was pressed by labor and gay members to join the gay boycott of the hotel. Instead, the AHA decided to sponsor a series of teach-ins on gay history.

Clinton's appearance drew protests from the Huffington Post's Rick Jacobs, the Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign, a progressive political organization in California:

Bill Clinton happily took a six figure fee to undermine a boycott of Doug Manchester's San Diego Hyatt on Sunday. Mr. Manchester gave $125,000 to the Yes on 8 Campaign, so the LGBT and progressive communities, led by Cleve Jones and our friends at UNITE HERE, have been boycotting the hotel since July. But not Bill Clinton. He spoke yesterday even as we protested outside, trying to present him with the signatures of 30,000 Courage members who, in only forty hours, signed to ask Mr. Clinton not to speak at Mr. Manchester's hotel. Irony of ironies that Bill Clinton would actually support Ken Starr by helping to put money in the pocket of Mr. Starr's funders. But then again, Bill Clinton always had a different view of Fidelity than the rest of us.

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Tim Wright - 2/18/2009

I am surprised, given the AHA's policy of seeking inclusive annual meeting sites (see below) that it would not change the venue of next year's meeting.

It is is insulting to ask anyone who believes in marriage equity or equal rights for all (including the LGBT community) to have to attend sessions or job interviews in the Manchester Hyatt, let alone hand Doug Manchester some of their hard-earned cash and underwrite his anti-gay actions. Gay job candidates and panelists, for whom attendance is hardly optional, certainly have every right to be outraged by the AHA's meagre response (teach-ins? Is Doug Manchester going to come or will they simply be preaching to the choir?)

The AHA should think again and move its sessions elsewhere—even is it is inconvenient and costly.

Finally, it should be noted that the AHA's policy toward meeting sites reads:

"It is the policy of the American Historical Association not to hold its annual meetings in locations where its members reasonably believe they would be subject to discrimination on the basis of age, gender, marital status, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Reasonable belief of such discrimination may be based on discriminatory legislation, the absence of appropriate state or city laws, actions by public officials, or private actions, whether individual or corporate, for which there is inadequate public response."