Monday, April 27, 2015
Gay Republican hoteliers face backlash over fundraising dinner for homophobic GOP candidate
The hoteliers who own New York’s Out NYC hotel and a commercial strip on Fire Island, among other ventures, have faced widespread calls for a boycott after hosting an intimate evening function at their home with Ted Cruz.
Cruz is a Republican Senator who has been very vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage.
According to Human Rights Campaign, Cruz ‘has consistently opposed equality for LGBT Americans … attacking fellow Republicans for marching in pride parades, and using his opposition to marriage to win his first Senate campaign.’
The New York Times reported that Cruz and wife, Heidi, attended an evening event for a dozen guests last Monday at a Central Park South penthouse owned by Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner.
Weiderpass and Reisner are long-time business partners who were once a couple. They are regarded as two of New York’s most prominent gay businessmen.
People present at the event said that Cruz talked about same-sex marriage. He allegedly said ‘If one of my daughters was gay, I would love them just as much,’ but went on to re-iterate that he believed it should be left up to individual states to decide their stand on gay marriage.
The evening’s ‘fireside chat’ was allegedly more concerned with a discussion on gay rights in Israel as opposed to the rest of the Middle East, foreign policy issues, and opposition to President Obama.
Weiderpass later published a photo [pictured] on his Facebook page of him and Cruz at the event.
Given Cruz’s previous comments with regard to LGBT issues, The New York Times’ report was met with disbelief by many in the LGBT community – shocked that the businessmen should host such an intimate gathering for a politician with such notoriously anti-gay views.
This was compounded on Thursday when Cruz announced that he wanted to propose two bills: one would amend the US constitution to protect any state that seeks to define marriage as being between a man and woman only, while the second would prevent any federal court making rulings on same-sex marriage equality until his constitutional amendment was passed.
Reisner took to Facebook himself on Thursday to defend himself, saying: ‘For my entire adult life, I have been an ardent supporter and activist for gay rights and LGBT organizations worldwide.
‘I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on where he stood on issues including the state of Israel and national security, which are the only places where we share common ground.
‘Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn't changed and will not change.’
A Facebook group calling for a ‘Boycott Fire Island Pines & Out NYC Hotel’ was quickly launched, and – at the time of writing – had attracted over 9,000 likes.
The site is calling for a boycott of ‘Fire Island Pines Establishments (Pavilion, Low Tea, High Tea, Botel, Botel Barracks, Pool Deck, Harbor Club, Blue Whale, Cultured Elephant), Out NYC Hotel, and XL Nightclub’.
Subsequently, on Friday, the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced that it was cancelling a fundraising event that it had booked on 10 May at 42West, a club owned by Weiderpass and Reisner.
In a Facebook posting, the organization’s Executive Director, Tom Viola, spelled out the reasoning:
‘We do business with and accept fundraising support from a variety of people across a wide spectrum of political and religious affiliations. The rich diversity of our community makes what we do together so special.
‘It is a rare instance where the actions of a donor negatively impacts us as an organization and potentially jeopardizes our relationship with others whose support is integral to our success. But when it does occur, in a way that’s blatantly against all we stand and work for, we can’t pretend it doesn't come with consequences. Silence is not a neutral position. It is complicit.
‘We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community.’
On Saturday, the New York Gay Men’s Chorus cancelled a fundraising event that it was due to hold at Out NYC later that day.
Yesterday (Sunday), it was confirmed that a pep rally for AIDS Walk NYC, due to take place at XL on 5 May, had also been pulled. Host Bianca Del Rio took to Twitter to say that the event had been moved to Stage 48 instead.
Yesterday, Reisner took to Facebook to apologize, saying: 'I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days.
'I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights.
'I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.'
Shortly afterwards, Weiderpass took again to Facebook to post his own defense, saying: ‘I share in Ian's remorse.
‘I, too, lay humbled with what has happened in the last week. I made a terrible mistake.
‘Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. You taught me a painful but important lesson. The people that know me know that work that I have done over the last 20 years for the advancement of gay rights.
‘Today, I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week. On the eve of this momentous legal occasion at the Supreme Court, I dedicate myself to work even harder to advance our cause that I share with the LGBT community; our community. Again, to all that I have hurt, please accept my sincerest apologies.’
At the time of writing, a protest rally is scheduled to take place outside The Out NYC this evening.
What a load of BS, Reisner and Weiderpass didn't know Cruz was so anti-gay?
Then why did they both state the intended purpose of the dinner was to reach out to the opposition?
The fact is, both are log cabin Republicans and this isn't the first time they have backed anti-gay Republicans; their only concern is their wealth and procuring more.
Any and all gay charities they have allowed to use their facilities (and I'm betting they made money from these events) should cease any involvement with either of these back stabbing asshats.
They were sucking Cruz's dirty asshole and were PROUD of the fact they were allowed to donate and contribute to his campaign, they knew ever nuance of his anti-gay stances and like any other gay Republican, didn't care...
I have always equated this phenomenon with the Jews who sympathized with the Nazi party, even turning on their own and helping them march their fellow Jews into the death camps and ovens.
May they live long enough to know the true depth of their betrayal.
Posted by Ulf Raynor at 6:42 PM