International Resorts Capitalize on DOMA’s Defeat

by Christiana Lilly
Saturday Sep 14, 2013

In perhaps the greatest victory the gay community has experienced in quite some time, section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court on June 26.

Then, the celebrations at resorts and hotels began.

Shortly after the announcement, the W Hotel chain announced on Twitter that proceeds from drinks ordered at their Living Rooms bars that night would go to their partner, the Human Rights Campaign. Also, the chain launched its HRC Pride 365 package, including a stay at the hotel, triple the amount of points accrued, a one-year membership to the HRC, and a $10 donation for every package purchased.

But the DOMA celebratory travel bug wasn't limited to just the United States. At the Sandton Kura Hulanda Resorts ( in Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela, the resort is offering its "Magical Romance" package in honor of DOMA's defeat through December 2014. The five-night trip is the epitome of romance, with sparkling champagne upon arrival, breakfast in bed, al fresco dinner for two, a snorkel trip, and more. While the package is open for any couple wanting to rekindle their relationship, this one stands out in that guests have constant contact with the resort's LGBT lifestyle concierge to provide tips on where to go and what to see.

"We've always been supporters of the gay community and the defeat of DOMA is another step in the right direction towards equality for LGBT couples," Jody DeLeon, the director of sales and market in North America, wrote in an email. "We are offering the package as a special congratulations and also to further raise awareness of our island and property as a gay-friendly destination."

This is not Sandton Kura Hulanda Resorts' first time celebrating a legal win for the gay community. When New York City legalized gay marriage in 2011, the resort offered free honeymoon perks to LGBT couples with proof of a marriage license. Also, the resort is a proud member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, based in Fort Lauderdale.

On the island of Curacao, LGBT guests are a big part of tourism. Get Wet Weekend is an annual mecca and at the end of September, the country is hosting its first Pride Week.

Also, various Marriott resorts - note, the company was founded by Mormons - are offering special deals in light of DOMA's defeat, including the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa / CasaMagna Marriott, and the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

These companies are not only an ally to the gay community, but also recognize the smarts in LGBT travel and it's impact on tourism: In the United States alone, LGBT travelers contribute more than $70 billion annually, according to Community Marketing & Insights.

"When you aim to be the global leader in hospitality, you must earn that title every day," Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said in a press release. "So, at Marriott International, we try to see the world through the eyes of our associates and guests. In addition to building a workplace committed to removing barriers and promoting inclusion, Marriott wants everyone to feel welcome, including the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will make this easier."

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