The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director

EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors Urges Bar to Reconsider Hosting Annual Convention at Manchester Hyatt Hotel

Follows on Calls for President Bill Clinton to Boycott


Equality California (EQCA) Executive Director Geoff Kors today called on the State Bar of California to reconsider its decision to hold its annual convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel in San Diego. Doug Manchester, owner of the hotel, was a leading funder of Proposition 8, which resulted in a radical and unprecedented change to the California Constitution by mandating government discrimination against gay and lesbian Californians.

"One of the primary roles of the State Bar is to provide greater access to the justice system for all people," Kors said. "How can they in good faith patronize a company whose owner has worked so hard to take away the fundamental rights of one group of people as guaranteed by the California Constitution?"

This past week, a number of national organizations have called on former President Bill Clinton to cancel a scheduled appearance at the hotel. Kors seconded those calls, "If you are a champion of equality, you should not be a guest of Doug Manchester."

In a letter sent to Holly Fujie, current President of the State Bar of California, Kors explained that Doug Manchester contributed $125,000 to Prop 8, making him one of the single largest individual donors and one of the most vocal opponents of equal rights under the law. In his letter, Kors questions the Bar's ability to realize its pledge to foster diversity - including sexual orientation - while at the same time supporting Doug Manchester's hotel. In addition, The Manchester Hyatt has been accused of repeated labor violations. In 2006, housekeepers protested working conditions in the hotel, specifically workload demands that far exceed acceptable industry standards.

"The Manchester Hyatt is not reflective of the California Bar," Kors continued. "I hope that once the leaders of the Bar realize the ramifications of their decision, they will do the right thing and find a venue that will be welcoming to all its members."

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.