Back in 2007, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality was planning to hold one of its pitiful fundraising banquets at the Holiday Inn Select in LaBarbera's town of Naperville. He told staff there that there that he expected the homophobia-laden event would draw protestors. Six weeks before the event, the hotel canceled on him, citing "potential negative publicity."
So now The Peter is dropping a federal discrimination lawsuit on Holiday Inn -- based on bias against AFATH's religious beliefs against homosexuality. OK. Look at how weak this is:
LaBarbera did not have a written contract, and no money was exchanged, but he said organizers verbally worked out details of the 100-person event, including the menu, during two meetings.
..."It's always easy to come up with excuses," said LaBarbera, AFTAH's executive director, "but the real truth is they didn't like our message. If you allow this sort of hecklers' veto, you're sanctioning discrimination."
OMG, what flaming crap that is -- "heckler's veto." How many times has the right wing protested LGBT and progressive events? If bible beating attempts at a "heckler's veto" fail to garner the desired results (cancellation, bad publicity), perhaps it's because the message is so ridiculous and offensive that no one gives a flip. When you sue a hotel for religious discrimination that you didn't even sign a contract with, that smacks of either stupidity or raw headline hunting, not a noble effort to protect religious liberty.
And when The Peter opened his trap and announced there was a potential for demonstrations outside the venue, he basically handed Holiday Inn an out -- they aren't obligated to sign a contract with any organization if the hotelier doesn't want bad publicity, potential for violence or to need extra security (after all, who knows what kind of overblown expectations The Peter relayed).
More below the fold, including reaction to the article.
In this case, the Holiday Inn Select was also going to host a wedding event on the same night as Peter's shindig and didn't want blowback from that paying customer that surely already had a contract in place. When something like this happens, it may suck for your organization, but you can always speak with your feet and take your business elsewhere. And AFATH did.
I'm having difficulty seeing any religious discrimination angle that would get this past the first review of the case. Commenters at the Daily Herald were blunt:
Peter LaBarbera's all-consuming obsession with All Things Homosexual strikes me as both incredibly un-Christian and more than a little, um, perverse. Help him, Jesus.
Lunchbox :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:41 AM+29
Is it fair to all the other guests - including an entire wedding party - to allow a controversial group gather when protesters are expected? The Holiday Inn is not a public place. You do not have freedom of speech everywhere you go. Read the constitution, in detail. This was not a case of discrimination. Hotel management simply made a sound business decision, period.
hester1 :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:52 AM-5
Nothing in writing.....no contract.....what is Mr. LaBarbera talking about? Without proof of an agreement, this case should go right into the circular file. I am also completely heterosexual, and the only time that anyone who is homosexual would bother me, would be if they tried to push their beliefs onto me. Well, that is what Mr. LaBarbera's group sounds like they do, just the opposite. Its too bad that this man scheduled this conference without booking it properly through the hotel, as evident by lack of a contract. No contract.....no case!
pn :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:34 AM+6
We still have a long way to go in treating people equally, and civil rights for gays/lesbians is a big part of this. It's too bad that Mr. LaBarbera and people like him don't realize that. Bravo to the hotel management for considering their other guests when deciding how to handle this situation.
Haereticum pro Orthodoxy :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:38 AM+15
Sounds like someone was 'fishing for media attentions', free publicity, drumming up false outrage to me, and perhaps making a fat handful of cash from a settlement.
WilsonP :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:41 AM-6
For those who support the hotel in this, imagine that the tables were turned. Suppose it was a homosexual group that had been turned down by the hotel because of "negative publicity.
Would you still support the hotel's right to discriminate in this fashion?
Sauce for the goose...
zabes :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:12 AM+9
I hear that the Klan has a hard time booking places as well.
motorcyklmikl :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:36 AM+6
Unspecified damages and attorney's fees? Get over it and move on.
used to be jimbo1958 :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:47 AM+10
Disrupting someones wedding is more important to you, You are a shortsighted person, I know if I owned a hotel and a blissful thing like a weding reception was at my hotel and a hete filled banquet was scheduled the same night with no CONTRACTS signed you would be on the street, also I hope the judge tosses out your suit, because you didn't have a SIGNED contract. How many times have people told you, "Do you have it on paper?"
yahoos67 :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:55 AM+10
simple as this - no signed contract, no lawsuit. next.
Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:58 AM
Anyone who is that obsessed with the "gay agenda" is definitely hiding some issues of his own. As for having no written agreement, I have a bridge I'd LOVE to sell this guy. What an idiot! This has inspired me to rent a room in this hotel.
yahoos67 :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:15 AM-7
The Holiday Inn Select should have the absolute right to consider the impact an event will have on their property when deciding whether to book an event. If goofus tells them that the little soiree he has planned is going to bring down 300 protesters making the front of the hotel look the the pride parade, then he should expect to be told... "Umm, thanks for thinking of us, but we just don't think that event is in the best interests of our business." Period. There should be no guarantee that just because a group has enough money, they can go anywhere they want and do anything they want. Homo/straight, pro-life/pro-choice, pro-2nd amendment/pro-gun control - matters not the cause. Mr. LaBarbarella: it's called PRIVATE PROPERTY for a reason. Get over it dude, and go cry to someone else. I'm sure that there's a hotel somewhere in the chicago area that will gladly take your group in with open arms. Maybe even give you a big group hug while their at it...
Nancyspartan :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:50 AM+10
This group is not a Christian group - it is a hate group. Do some research. I believe that Holiday Inn has the right to say who does and does not use their site. As far as this group goes, there are forest preserves, open air park or maybe a garbage dump where they can promote their hate doctrine.
NoBS :: Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:52 AM+3
The Peter must be hard up for cash and attention; I guess the purses of the seasoned citizens he scams into thinking the Homosexual Agenda is going to destroy society have slammed shut. I wonder if his BFF Bam Bam is helping him out on this legal plea for attention.