San Francisco Â– Today, Equality California (EQCA) joined the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), bar associations around the state as well as Unite Here Local 30 in protest of the California State Bar AssociationÂ’s decision to hold its annual meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego this weekend. EQCA sent a letter to the State Bar several months ago requesting that they move the conference and has also declined an offer of money from Manchester to call off the boycott.
Â“One of the primary roles of the State Bar is to provide greater access to the justice system for all people,Â” said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of EQCA. Â“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? If you are a champion of equality, you should not be a guest of Doug Manchester.Â”
Doug ManchesterÂ’s donation of $125,000 made him one of the single largest individual donors to the Proposition 8 campaign, which stripped same-sex couples of the fundamental freedom to marry and resulted in a radical, unprecedented change to the California Constitution.
The coalition protesting the annual meeting questions the State BarÂ’s ability to uphold its pledge to foster diversity while at the same time supporting ManchesterÂ’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.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment.