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Same-sex marriage proponents urge boycott of 2 hotels

July 16, 2008|Jessica Garrison | Times Staff Writer

Proponents of same-sex marriage are calling for a boycott of two prominent San Diego hotels because their owner, Doug Manchester, contributed more than $100,000 to the campaign for Proposition 8, the ballot measure that would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Although they expressed outrage about the boycott and a rally planned for Friday, opponents of gay marriage also immediately began using it in their fundraising appeals.

On Tuesday, they sent a blast e-mail saying they had raised $100,000 in the 24 hours after the boycott was announced. "Gay marriage advocates and their union allies have just launched a campaign of intimidation against Doug Manchester and are trying to shut down his business," read the e-mail from Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage. "Would you give a generous gift of $50, $100 or even $500 right now?"

Manchester, San Diego's most prominent hotelier, who goes by the moniker "Papa," donated $125,000 to pay for signature gatherers to get the measure on the ballot. He could not be reached for comment.

Boycotts as part of political campaigns are relatively rare. It is a tactic more often employed by civil rights groups. The dust-up in San Diego -- which follows a march last month against another Proposition 8 supporter, Carlsbad car-dealership owner Robert Hoehn -- is another indication that same-sex marriage is a combustible political topic and is viewed by gay marriage advocates as a civil rights issue.

Fred Karger, who heads Californians Against Hate and is organizing the protest against the Grand Hyatt and one other San Diego Hyatt hotel owned by Manchester, said it was the first of what would probably be many business boycotts between now and the November election.

"We are going to be monitoring the contributions," he said.

Karger is not formally affiliated with Equality for All, the umbrella group coordinating the campaign against Proposition 8.

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jessica.garrison@latimes.com

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Times staff writers Tony Perry and Michael Finnegan contributed to this report.

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