CANBERRA’S Park Hyatt Hotel will play host to two different ideological groups tonight, with Australian Christian Lobby members set to meet partygoers from the capital’s LGBTI community.
Despite the their National Conference not officially starting until Saturday morning, tonight will see ACL members and supporters gather for an exclusive dinner at the hotel — but they are expected to be joined in the venue by a group that was not on the invite list.
“The party will be an opportunity for the LGBT community to support and affirm one another, provide an opportunity for the Hyatt to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBTI community, and provide public faces to the people whose rights and dignity the ACL wish to deny,” organisers said in a statement posted on the Equal Marriage Rights Facebook page.
Similar to Sydney’s Fagtag — where a predominantly straight venue is “turned gay” for a night — tonight’s event will also be joined by members of Canberra’s Gaycrash party.
Marriage equality advocate Troy Simpson, one of the vocal opponents urging Park Hyatt to cancel this weekend’s conference, said that the venue’s decision to go ahead as planned with the ACL clashed with the company’s pro LGBTI equality stance for guests and employees.
“What we have here is a fundamental clash of values… the Hyatt ought to be praised for their staunchly pro-LGBTI stance… they have a Facebook Page dedicated to eliminating bullying of LGBTI people in the workplace,” Simpson told Canberra radio 2CCC yesterday.
He also highlighted areas where Canberra Park Hyatt management have reached out to the LGBTI community to reaffirm their support, namely the possible prize of a getaway for an Australian Marriage Equality fundraiser.
The Star Observer understands that discussion is also underway within the organisation on whether other Hyatt venues would host future ACL functions again.
“[Hyatt possibly] suggesting that, next year, the ACL might find a different venue that better matches the ACL’s own ‘values’, organisers of tonight’s party said.
He has said his speech would give him the chance to speak of his strong support for marriage equality – a point that many ACL members, including managing director Lyle Shelton, are vocally against.
The Star Observer will be attending and live-tweeting the conference on Saturday.