Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on Marriott’s board of directors, but he wasn’t involved in the hotel chain’s decision to send Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) a letter Monday asking her to veto a bill that would allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian customers. Brewer reportedly decided to veto the bill Tuesday.
A source at Marriott confirmed the letter, which cited concerns about “negative impacts on the hospitality industry in Arizona and on the state’s overall economic climate” and potential “travel boycotts” was the work of the company’s government affairs office and was not vetted by the board of directors.
Romney’s family has a long relationship with the Marriott family. In 2012, Marriott head J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr. campaigned by Romney’s side. Romney left the company’s board during his presidential bid, but rejoined it in December 2012. Romney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
Marriott has long a history of gay-friendly policies and political activism. Though Bill Marriott and his family are devout Mormons, the company stood on the sidelines during the Mormon Church’s campaign against gay marriage in California instead choosing to reiterate their commitment to gay rights. In a 2012 interview, Bill Marriott, said that while he personally believes marriage should only be between a man and woman, the company needs “to appeal to the masses out there, no matter what their beliefs are.”
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