Main Street hotel provides gay couples with venue for civil unions
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 16:10
Some Newark hotels are now marketing their wedding venues to the gay community. Howard Johnson Inn & Suites was featured on Gayapolis, a website dedicated to promoting gay-friendly businesses, on Sept. 24 as the only hotel in Newark that specifically identifies as open to gay unions.
The hotel began marketing in August on the website Purple Unions, an online gay and lesbian wedding directory.
Roxanne Gadaingan, director of sales at Howard Johnson Inn & Suites, said she believes the hotel is the only one in the area that is publicly gay-friendly.
“I don’t believe there are a lot of hotels that are as open as we are,” Gadaingan said.
She said her staff also lets customers know about gay-friendly venues and events in the area.
“It’s not something that a lot of places talk about,” Gadaingain said. “We are extremely open-minded and being right off I-95, we are a popular choice.”
According to the state’s website, Delaware has recognized civil unions as legal relationships since January, although the Civil Union and Equality Act was signed by Gov. Jack Markell in May of 2011.
If gay marriage is legalized in Delaware, Gadaingan said Howard Johnson Inn & Suites will continue to present a gay-friendly image.
“We don’t want them to feel pressure,” Gadaingan said. “They are the same, only their preference is different. Why should we discriminate?”
Junior Cedric Steenberghs, president of Haven, the university’s LGBT organization, said although he said he appreciated the effort made to make gay couples feel welcome, he was not convinced it was the hotel’s only motive.
“I think it’s a complicated issue. You get these companies that are being friendly, but it’s a little disingenuous,” Steenberghs said. “They’re marketing to us because they want our money. Now if they were also going out and donating money to fight LGBT homelessness, that would say something.”