The Hamilton Princess, an iconic landmark in the British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, was to host two public talks by Ryan Anderson of the conservative Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation next week.
In his book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, Anderson argues that the legalization of same-sex marriage will not only harm marriage (between a man and a woman) itself but religious liberty.
The hotel’s general manager Allan Federer issued a statement explaining the cancellations saying the hotel would not be a ‘venue for anti-diversity discussions’, according to the Jamaica Observer.
He was quoted as saying that the hotel was not aware of the nature of the forums as the booking was made under a different name, and he had only come to know about the events after they were advertised locally.
‘Immediately upon learning of the nature of the meeting, we called the organisation to explain that our policy is one that celebrates diversity and that the hotel is not a venue for anti-diversity discussions.
‘It is a standard hotel practice that upon making a reservation, groups disclose the nature of meetings that will take place on our premises.
‘This meeting originally was reserved under a different guise and would never have been accepted if the group had disclosed its intentions at the time of the reservation. The Hamilton Princess does not accept any booking that promotes discrimination of any kind.’
Organizers of the talks Preserve Marriage and Concerned Citizens of Bermuda have slammed the hotel’s decision arguing that the hotel was ‘operating under the false idea that banning a presentation results in upholding diversity, when in reality it violates the definition and practice of diversity in every form.’
The Observer reported that the majority of local opposition to same-sex marriage, which were heard at public forums organized by the government last month, has centered on religious objections.
The talks will now be hosted by a local church.
Equal rights campaigner and pastor Sylvia Hayward praised the hotel for its stance and was quoted in the Royal Gazette as saying that its decision was not an affront to free speech or diverse views.
‘I just applaud their stance because I am a firm believer in equal rights. They are not saying “you can’t do it”. All they are saying is “you can’t do it here”.
‘They are saying we stand up for equality, we stand against discrimination and we are not going to be a part of it.’