Pro-Family Groups Lobby Marriott for Porn-Free Rooms

July 7, 2008 - 7:06 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Marriott International officials have agreed to meet with pro-family leaders to discuss the hotel's policy of selling in-room pornographic movies to consumers at some of its properties.

"We certainly think Mr. Marriott has a heart for children and families," Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association (AFA), told Cybercast News Service .

The AFA is one of 47 pro-family groups that signed an April 3 letter, addressed to Marriott Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott Jr., asking the corporation to stop pornographic entertainment in its rooms. The document was also signed by Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Citizens for Community Values.

Roger Conner, vice president of communications with Marriott International, told Cybercast News Service that officials from the corporation would meet in Washington, D.C. on May 14 with representatives from some of the groups that signed the letter.

"Marriott is a publicly traded company, so Mr. Marriott would not make a unilateral decision," Conner said.

Conner said he was not sure who made the original decision. "It goes way back in time to contract with Lodgenet Interactive Corp.," he added.

Like Marriott, many hotel chains leave in-room entertainment programming decisions to individual properties, making it difficult to determine how many hotel rooms have pornography for sale in rooms.

Conner said individual properties, not Marriott International, receive compensation from Lodgenet or other providers for movies, including adult movies, sold to consumers.

Pro-family groups have been lobbying major American hotel chains for years to end the practice of selling pornography to consumers, but this is the first time a major hospitality corporation has agreed to meet with these groups.

Conner said the meeting would be "a good discussion," but he added that making policy changes is a long process.

"The first part of that process will start with discussions with our owners," Conner said.

Some large chains, however, have taken the initiative to make all of their properties porn- free, including Omni Hotel & Resorts. The corporation implemented the new policy in 1999 after negotiating with Lodgenet for a porn-free in-room entertainment package.


Conner said Marriott International occasionally receives complaints from shareholders and guests about in-room pornography.

In 2002, Citizens for Community Values - a conservative group dedicated to promoting Judeo-Christian moral values - launched a Web site to encourage families to support only hotels that are porn-free.

Paul Cambria, general counsel for the Adult Freedom Foundation, said adults should have access to whatever entertainment they find enjoyable.

"I don't refer to it as pornography," Cambria told Cybercast News Service . "I refer to it as adult entertainment. Adult entertainment is completely protected by the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has said so time and time again."

"We are hoping [Marriott] takes a responsible corporate position on this and ceases offering that kind of material in their chains," said Daniel Weiss, senior analyst for media and sexuality at Focus on the Family.



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