News Coverage: Standoff: Manchester Boycott Leadership vs American Historical Association


Standoff: Manchester Boycott Leadership vs American Historical Association

Both Sides Pushing for Most Fruitful Solution

Morgan M. Hurley, CopyEditor Fri, 11/27/2009

Photo credit: Fred Karger Advertising the Manchester Hyatt Boycott at Stockholm Pride

Photo credit: Fred Karger Advertising the Manchester Hyatt Boycott at Stockholm Pride

Cleve Jones is furious.

This coming January, the American Historical Association (AHA) is holding their 124th Annual Meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt here in San Diego, despite their knowledge of the ongoing boycott against that property and repeated appeals for them to move venues.

The Grand Hyatt’s owner not only contributed $125,000 to Proposition 8, he helped get it on the ballot. Prop 8 ended marriage equality for millions of Californians when it was narrowly passed in November 2008.

The AHA, founded in 1884, is a Washington D.C. based organization made up of 15,000 scholars and educators across the country, a large number of which are also in the LGBT community. It is the oldest and largest professional organization in the United States.

“I am profoundly disappointed that gay historians will be the first LGBT people to violate this boycott,” said Jones. “It is a slap in the face of the hard work of the LGBT community in San Diego.

“San Diego’s gay community has come so far after decades of struggle in this conservative city, and to have these out-of-towners come in and thumb their nose up – it’s unconscionable.”

Jones, a long-time gay activist and co-founder of the NAMES Project and AIDS Memorial Quilt, is currently the International Director of LGBT Community Programs for the labor union, UNITE HERE (which includes Hotel and Restaurant Employees). spoke with Cleve at the union’s Local 30 offices in San Diego.

Although the Manchester property is not unionized, UNITE HERE has taken an official stance behind the boycott for several reasons. Most importantly, Jones pointed out, are the large numbers of gays and lesbians within the hospitality industry. Secondly, the LGBT community is also an important target market for the industry.

“UNITE HERE supports full equality for LGBT rights and fights for protections, ENDA inclusive language and health care benefits for employee partners in all contracts, which we just succeeded with in Hawaii,“ explained Jones. “We also look for any opportunity to further relationships with progressives by getting involved in things such as Proposition 8, local elections, and other contracts to support LGBT workers.”

Doug Manchester, a resident of La Jolla, says he contributed $125,000 to Prop 8 on behalf of because of his Roman Catholic beliefs, but also said that despite this, gays and lesbians are welcome at his hotel.

Said Jones, “He was the second largest individual contributor to get Proposition 8 on the ballot and he has a history of providing financial support to extreme right-wing, anti-gay, anti-worker organizations. He’s a bad guy.”

The boycott was launched in the spring of 2008 as a result of GLAAD pulling major events that corresponded with San Diego Pride out of the Hyatt. The action came after word got out of Manchester’s contribution. Since then, over $7 million dollars in contracts with the Manchester Grand Hyatt have been thwarted as a result of the boycott. Taking into account figures on individual cancellations and other potential lost revenue not tracked or included- it could be millions more.

Several different organizations are providing leadership for the boycott: Californians Against Hate, Courage Campaign, Equality California, and UNITE HERE. Leaders of the boycott have worked closely with dozens of organizations – many of which had been booked years in advance – encouraging their participation and helping them find loopholes in their contracts, if necessary. These same people have offered their services to the AHA but they have not been responsive.

Citing a contract that they finalized six years ago, the AHA states that if they could get out of their contract without facing bankruptcy or extreme hardship, they would. Their cancellation fee is $750,000.

“We looked at the contract very closely,” said Arnita Jones, Executive Director. “There is an anti-strike clause, and if the workers at the Hyatt were participating, we could have opted out, but there are no workers from the hotel on the picket line, and there is no official strike.”

Cleve feels their explanation for moving forward with the contract falls a dollar short.

“This is a labor sanctioned boycott. An official labor boycott,” he said. “I don’t want to lecture historians, but the AHA is being used by Manchester to violate the boycott.”

After the passing of Proposition 8, LGBT members of the AHA brought forth the issue at a smaller annual conference of the AHA last January. As a result, the AHA adopted a resolution, full of ways they could step into the conversation. Much to the chagrin of the boycott leadership, moving their annual meeting from the grounds of the Manchester Grand Hyatt was not one of them.

One of the first things the resolution did put forth was the creation of a LGBTQ Task Force “to take a careful look at all professional concerns of the community – at Grad school, in employment – what can be done to make it more welcoming, more equal, with less discrimination,” explained Arnita.

In addition, a Working Group was launched to advertise, request a call for papers and structure a series of special sessions on same-sex marriage to take place at the Hyatt during their Annual Meeting. In a press release announcing the resolution, the 2010 annual meeting was identified as “an opportunity to seize a significant teaching moment.”

“The AHA has a rich body of research on (the institution of) marriage throughout history, and it’s always been evolving,” she continued. “We think it is very important to take these sessions into the Hyatt and have a scholarly conference, with no specific point of view in mind.” On the AHA website, the Executive Committee refers to the sessions as “scholarly findings that should increase public understanding of the complexity and fluidity of marriage practices.”

The 15 special sessions, according to the AHA website, fall under a special event titled, “Events of the AHA Working Group for Historical Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage.” The sessions span each day of the four day conference, with Paper and Panel Topics on a wide range of related subjects, such as: Gay Marriage and Proposition 8, Reflections; Access Denied: Comparative Biopolitics of Marriage Restriction; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Marry; and, Male Couples and the Meanings of Same-Sex Love in Turn-of-the-Century Europe and America.

Arnita said the focus of these sessions will be on marriage over time and place, equality in other countries, and changes to marriage in the US. “Just in the last half century, things such as social security and health benefits have been added to marriage. In the early 19th century, women even didn’t have the same rights in a marriage. Marriage has never been static.”

Cleve Jones and others behind the boycott, including Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger, already upset that the AHA will continue with their conference at the Hyatt, are offended that the AHA would consider holding any session with a LGBT focus inside the hotel that is in the midst of a boycott for LGBT reasons.

“This adds insult to injury – it is outrageous,” said Jones. “It is arrogant of the AHA and not helpful in any way. I recognize it is inconvenient, but standing up for one’s principles is often inconvenient.”

Karger agrees. “If they really want to make a statement, they’d take those sessions outside of the hotel.”

Both men stated they’d be happy to help the AHA find alternative spaces to conduct the special sessions, so people involved do not have to cross the picket line or violate the boycott.

Although the location of the conference remains a touchy subject- the AHA isn’t backing down.
Said Arnita Jones, “It has never been our intention to offend any member of the LGBTQ community. On the contrary, this mini-conference on historical perspectives of same-sex marriage is designed to make a serious and lasting contribution to the conversation on marriage equality. The 15-session event is a major focus of our annual meeting.

“The mini-conference will address the diversity of approaches to marriage and family over time and place,” she continued. “It is a direct response to arguments used by proponents of Proposition 8, that marriage has been the same through the ages and is now changing for the first time. By voting to hold these sessions in the Hyatt, the AHA members wanted to take this information to where we felt it was needed most.”

The AHA also states they are not paying for the meeting spaces, meaning Doug Manchester will not make any money from the meetings specifically. In keeping with their desire to make the sessions as public and as accessible as possible, they’ve even extended an invitation to Manchester, himself.

In addition, alternative hotels in the area have been offered up to the 5,000-6,000 expected attendees, and many are taking advantage of those alternatives. The AHA leadership is also encouraging membership dialogue and debate regarding their decisions, and promises to keep attendees informed of developments.

None of these concessions matter one bit to Cleve Jones, who feels the boycott still needs to be honored.

“Boycotts are a very important weapon and an effective tool,” said Jones. “They give people of conscience who are not directly affected by an issue or struggle the opportunity to support that struggle.”

Now a union employee himself, Jones referenced Cesar Chavez’ 1965 nation-wide boycott of grapes in support of the farm workers union, which lasted five years and ended in agreements suitable to both parties. The whole nation participated in the boycott while the previously unsuitable conditions the boycott was bringing attention to, affected only a specific group of individuals.

“Manchester did real damage to our community. One would think that historians of all people…..” his voice trailed off. Jones has started which focuses on gay friendly hotel properties so travelers can plan accordingly. The website also highlights individual LGBT hospitality employees.

Karger, who has been directly involved in assisting organizations out of their contracts; is a little more sympathetic, he understands the predicament of rigid contracts, how binding they can be, and the difficult situation they can put organizations in.

“I appreciate their position, but I hope they will never go back to the Manchester Hyatt again.”

The leaders of the boycott repeatedly stated throughout each interview that the AHA is not considered the enemy to the LGBT community; they just don’t want the AHA supporting the enemy by following through with their conference at the property in question. The AHA, on the other hand, truly wants to educate the masses, including Manchester, with their focus on topics related to the challenges that have always surrounded marriage, as well as the LGBT community.

Both the boycott leadership and the AHA have such strong opinions, and both sides feel they are pushing for the right outcomes. In the end, it appears they will need to agree to disagree, but there may be bruised egos left behind on both sides.

Only one thing is for sure, Cleve Jones will be on the picket line come January, to personally welcome the gay and straight historians of the AHA upon their arrival to Doug Manchester’s Grand Hyatt hotel.

Source: For more information about the boycott click HERE »

News Release: Extremists’ Declaration

November 24, 2009
Contact: Fred Karger

Manhattan Declaration —
Who Are They Kidding?

MANHATTAN, New York — NOM head, Maggie Gallagher, as she puts it, “likes fairy tales.”  This sure sounds like a fairy tale to me, a very scary one.

Once upon a time there were 152 – how should I say it – extremists, all meeting in Manhattan (crazy place for this group to meet).  These 152 zealots drafted, approved and signed their Declaration of War on full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans last week.  They threw in some other societal beefs, just to try and mask the overriding issue, their fervent opposition to same-sex marriage.

One major leader of their movement is missing from the 152 names.

There are NO MORMONS on the list, and several of us read it very carefully.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) has been leading the anti-gay marriage movement in this country for the past 14 years.  They have spent tens of millions of dollars in practically every state ($30 million in California alone last year) to fight equality and to pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

So where are the Mormon representatives on this illustrious list?  Are they truly backing off their longstanding opposition to gay civil rights?

To their credit, Michael Otterson, a high ranking Mormon Church official recently testified in support of the Salt Lake City ordinance that would no longer allow discrimination in employment and housing against LGBT people in Utah’s largest city.  While a small step, it has been broadcast around the world.  That’s because the Church, through its Public Affairs Department, got the word out – big time.

Let’s hope the Mormon leadership is truly softening its position on this issue.  It has been a huge PR nightmare for the Church, and one that divides so many Mormon families.  Maybe they will redirect all that time, talent and money to other causes, real problems.

There are plenty of Catholics on this list, however, and some very prominent ones. Two Cardinals and lots of Bishops.  Catholics appear to be the new Mormons in the fight against same-sex marriage.

The Catholic Church has become much more visible as the Mormons have backed off.  Maine Bishop Richard J. Malone and his sidekick, Marc Mutty ran and heavily funded the recent campaign in Maine to take away same-sex marriage in that state. The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Portland (ME) even set up a Political Action Committee (PAC), and gave and raised $553,000 to pass Question #1.  That’s a lot of money, especially when they recently closed 5 churches in Maine.

Now, last week in Washington D.C., the Catholic Church there threatened to stop feeding the homeless if the City Council passes a same-sex marriage bill. Yes, the Catholic Church will stop feeding the hungry!

Here’s what the New York Times editorial said about that yesterday.

National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Chairman Robert P. George authored their new manifesto, along with former Watergate felon Chuck Colson.  They hired a PR firm to publicize the Manhattan Declaration, the Mark DeMoss PR Group in Atlanta.  Their web site identifies them as “the first and largest PR firm exclusively representing faith-based leaders, organizations and causes.” The DeMoss Group promotes itself on web site almost as much as its client. Take a look:

The DeMoss PR Group even has a bible covering an American Flag on their web site’s home page:


DeMoss PR Group website

And please read this great story on the Manhattan Declaration by Carlos Santoscoy, Editor of On Top Magazine: Click here

Religious Leaders Unite Against Gay Marriage, Rights

One-hundred and fifty-two evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they oppose laws that would compel them to recognize gay unions or marriages, among other social issues.

“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on Earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” says the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.

The manifesto was unveiled Friday at the National Press Club. The document outlines the group’s three most pressing issues, two of which deal with gay rights: abortion, marriage and religious liberties.

“We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” Chuck Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship and co-authored the document, told the New York Times. “A lot of younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues.”

Among the signatories are Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Wuerl and Jackson are the chief opponents of a gay marriage law expected to be approved by the D.C. City Council on December 1. Wuerl has threatened to pull the plug on D.C. social programs, including serving the homeless and providing health care for the poor, unless the law includes language that allows individuals and private business owners to refuse to provide goods and services related to the nuptials of gay couples.

Jackson founded the Christian-backed group after city leaders approved a gay marriage-recognition law in the spring. His group is currently fighting for the right to put a gay marriage question on the ballot.

The document says, “We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent.”

The document’s language also takes aim at other gay rights laws, including a recently approved law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally recognized hate crimes and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would ban workplace discrimination against gay men, lesbians and transgender people.

Social conservatives have argued that such measures would have a chilling effect on religious liberties.

Signers to the document include prominent opponents of gay rights, including Frank Schubert, who headed the campaign to reverse gay marriage in California, Alan Sears, president and general counsel of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, David Welch, the Houston-area pastor leading the charge against mayoral candidate Annise Parker because she is openly lesbian, James Dobson, founder of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a leading opponent of gay rights.

A surprising omission is the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical minister whose prayer at the inauguration of President Obama drew heated protest because of his support for Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban.

News Release: Maine’s Election Ethics Commission “Eager” to Continue Investigation into NOM’s Role

November 19, 2009
CONTACT: Fred Karger
(619) 592-2008

Maine’s Election Ethics Commission “Eager” to Continue Investigation into the National Organization for Marriage’s Role in Referendum Campaign against Marriage Equality

Augusta, Maine, November 19, 2009 — Californians Against Hate was pleased to learn this morning, at a hearing in Augusta, Maine, that Jonathan Wayne, Executive Director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, is “eager” to proceed with the commission’s investigation into the role played by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in the state’s election held November 3, 2009.

The investigation is the result of allegations of election irregularities leveled by Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger. The Washington D.C.-based NOM contributed $1.6 million to eliminate marriage equality in Maine — an amount well in excess of the allowable $5,000 “for the purpose of initiating [or] promoting” the people’s veto referendum on same-sex marriage in Maine.

The scope of the investigation, to be conducted by the commission’s staff and Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills, will include:

  • What fundraising methods did NOM employ to solicit the money that it has contributed to Stand for Mariage Maine PAC?
  • What was NOM’s purpose in soliciting or receiving these funds?
  • What did NOM communicate to the individuals and organizations it solicited?
  • Did NOM receive any contributions within the categories set forth in §1056-B(2-A)? If so, how much was received in these categories?
  • Of the fundraising methods that are presently known (e.g., e-mail solicitations, newsletter), how much did NOM receive in response to these solicitations?

The inquiry may also extend to investigating whether NOM made any expenditures to initiate or to promote the referendum other than by contribution to Stand for Marriage Maine PAC.

Reacting to the commission’s decision, Californians Against Hate Founder Fred Karger, who attended the hearing in Augusta today, said, “I am extremely pleased that the State of Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices has decided to pursue its investigation with such vigor into potential improprieties on the part of the National Organization for Marriage during the recent campaign in Maine.” In addition, Karger offered his help with the investigation as someone who has been tracking NOM for the past 17 months.


Californians Against Hate is the new political watchdog for the LGBT community, and closely monitors all who oppose our civil rights. Individuals and organizations who give millions of dollars to deny LGBT full equality will be held accountable.

News Release – NOM Fires Miss California

November 16, 2009
Contact: Fred Karger

November 16, 2009

Ms Maggie Gallagher
National Organization for Marriage
1100 H Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Maggie —

It looks like you fired former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, just like Donald Trump did back in June.

She is no longer on your web site: I called your Washington, DC – PR firm, Mary Beth Hutchins at 703-683-5004 ext. 105, but no one was there to tell me why.

What happened to *”the future of our movement, and the future of America,” as you referred to Carrie just two months ago? Was it because she lied again? This time she said in numerous interviews that she “made only one sex tape.” Now it appears to be more like 15 or 20. We just heard that from the guy she met on My Space.

He also said that Carrie asked him to lie and say that she was only 17 when she made the sex tapes. In an interview with TMZ’s Harvey Levin, her ex said that she made the tapes when she was from 19 to 21, so not that long ago like Carrie insists.

Listen for yourself, it’s really interesting how the two stories are so different. Here’s a link: TMZ

Wonder if her attorney, Charles LiMandri, knew that she was asking her ex to lie? That is not looked kindly upon by the California Bar Association.

In the past week, Carrie was uninvited from her speech at the Conservative Capitol Hill Club. Then she kept calling CNN’s Larry King “inappropriate,” and ripped her microphone off on live TV! It’s up on YouTube and has had over 1.5 million visitors so far – huge!

Here’s the link: Larry King


NOM website

Why did you take her off your web site?

Did you hear from a lot of your high powered Board of Directors on this? What about your likely creator and largest backer, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church)? They gotta be uncomfortable with the whole multiple sex tapes thing.
You sure changed your tune, Maggie.

Do you remember what you said when Donald Trump fired Carrie? This is from your press release of June 10, 2009:



(Princeton, NJ) – Today, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) issued the following statement in response to the firing Miss California USA Carrie Prejean:

“Hollywood hates Carrie. First they abuse her, then they try to get her to recant, then they threw mud, and now they are doing what they wanted to do from day one: Get rid of Carrie.

This cover story about a contract dispute doesn’t pass the smell test. Americans aren’t fooled that easily. God knows, and we know, the truth about Carrie: She’s a young woman of great beauty who chose truth over the glittering tiara that Hollywood offers,” said Brian Brown, Executive Director for NOM. “Of course they will try to punish her, but we know she will be fine in the end, because her values are in the right place.”

“Hollywood will dance its tribal war dance over her body–the hatred generated against her has been extraordinary–but Carrie will be free to define her own mission and message from now on. Congratulations,” stated Maggie Gallagher, President for NOM.

Guess she’s free again. Looks like Brian and you treated her worse than Hollywood did, and she’s on your side! They gave her a second and third chance. You threw her right under the bus.
I said it before, Maggie I feel sorry for Carrie. She is just a young woman trying to make something of her life.

You and all your friends are not very tolerant of your paid spokeswoman, the star of your commercials, and the future of your movement.

Carrie is not as she appeared, and was very dishonest, but she is only 22 years old. Brian Brown and you should learn from this, and soften your anger towards others, and treat everyone fairly.


Fred Karger
Californians Against Hate

* From Maggie Gallagher’s September 18, 2009 introduction of Carrie Prejean, at Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council sponsored Voters Value Summit in Washington, DC.

The Mormon’s Other Problem

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

BYU Football: Remembering the Black 14 Protest

By Jay Drew, The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated:11/06/2009 05:41:09 PM MST

It’s not like they ever got used to it.

Protests, taunts and charges of racism greeted Brigham Young University’s football, basketball and other athletic teams almost everywhere they went in the late 1960s and early 1970s, owing to doctrine in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – which then, as now, owns and operates BYU – that prohibited blacks from holding ecclesiastical positions in the faith.

But nothing could have prepared BYU’s football players and coaches for what they would encounter on Oct. 18, 1969 when they arrived at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo.

On the eve of the game, 14 Wyoming football players, all African-Americans, were kicked off the team by Cowboys coach Lloyd Eaton for threatening to wear black armbands to draw attention to the fact that the LDS Church did not allow black males to hold its priesthood.

The incident intensified the national spotlight on the LDS Church and BYU in what was already a period of racial strife in America. It also essentially decimated the Wyoming football program – which had played in the Sugar Bowl just two years earlier and was unbeaten going into the BYU game – for years to come.

Most of all, it forever changed the lives of a group of black players who hailed from large East Coast cities, small towns in the racially torn South and pretty much everywhere in between.

“We were young and a bit naive, and there were some things we all wish hadn’t happened,” said Tony McGee, perhaps the best known of the group that came to be known as the “Black 14” because he went on to an NFL career. “But I am glad it did happen. Perhaps that was our mission.”

Saturday, 40 years later, the Cougars will meet the Cowboys at high noon in Laramie under entirely different circumstances than in 1969. BYU is ranked in the top 25, and has the more successful and nationally recognized football program. However, Wyoming is improving under a new coach and seeking a return to glory – something, save a short stretch in late 1980s – that the Cowboys have never really reclaimed since that 1969 season.

A slow burn, then an explosion

Antipathy toward BYU had been building that fall.

The previous year, the Cougars had played a college football game in a near-empty San Jose stadium, except for a hundred or so heavily armed guards. That was just a few hours after a bomb threat was called into their hotel at 3 a.m., and a day after their flight was diverted to a different airport in California’s Bay Area for security reasons.

But in Laramie it got personal. Bottles were hurled at the BYU players, church services were picketed and interrupted and the team hotel was surrounded by demonstrators.

“It was just an ugly scene, one I will never forget,” said Dick Legas, a defensive back on that BYU team and now a track coach at the school. “I remember one sign that asked if the seagulls were going to save us, and a lot of anti-Mormon stuff like that. It was just a shame.”

Added Marc Lyons, who was BYU’s quarterback season and is now an analyst on Cougar football radio broadcasts: “It was pretty unnerving for all of us. Several wives and girlfriends made the trip to Laramie, and I still remember coach [Tommy] Hudspeth telling them, ‘I wish you hadn’t come.'”

A cauldron of unrest

The irony? The Black 14 incident is largely unknown to the current players on both teams, and to many younger BYU and Wyoming fans.

But America is also a different place today than it was then. The late 1960s were a time of societal unrest, ignited by both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. And some of that unrest played out on the athletics stage — just the year before, John Carlos and Tommie Smith had raised their black-gloved fists and bowed their heads in protest after their 200 meters race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

The campuses were alive with activists and protests of all stripes, and it was into that cauldron that the Wyoming and BYU football teams fell into in 1969.

“We were right in the middle of the social revolution,” said Mel Hamilton, who would become the most vocal of the Wyoming players. “When your time is called, your time is called.”

Even without their black teammates, the suddenly all-white Wyoming football team still routed the all-white Cougars 40-7 that day to improve their season record to 5-0.

“The Wyoming guys were playing for a cause, and they were intense and ferocious, and so was the crowd,” remembered Mel Olson, an all-conference lineman on that team who is now a professor of exercise science at BYU.

But victories on the gridiron in the future would become few and far between for the only major college football program in the “Equality State.” Black athletes shunned the Wyoming for nearly a decade after, according to school athletic department official Kevin McKinney, who was a student at the time of the protest.

Stirred into a frenzy

Members of the Black 14 say they don’t remember anything terribly controversial about the looming BYU game as the 1969 college football season unfolded.

Don Meadows of Seattle, McGee of Fayetteville, Ga., and Hamilton, who now lives in Casper, Wyo., recalled BYU as just another Western Athletic Conference rival, and really not much of a football threat.

However, that changed dramatically when they attended a meeting of the newly formed Black Student Alliance the Monday after they had walloped Texas-El Paso, 39-7, and five days before they were scheduled to play the Cougars.

During the gathering, Willie Black, a doctoral candidate in mathematics, “stirred us up, almost into a frenzy,” remembered Meadows, who returned to play for Wyoming the following year.

During the meeting, Hamilton said they were told about LDS Church policies regarding race and the priesthood, and the plan was hatched to have the players wear black armbands to draw attention to that perceived racism.

Black told the players about how seven black members of the UTEP track team, including Bob Beamon, who would go on to win a long jump gold medal in world-record fashion at the 1968 Olympics, had refused to compete against BYU earlier that year. He told the players about the incident at San Jose the previous year in which 21 black players refused to play and urged a fan boycott in a game the Spartans won, 25-21, in the empty stadium.

“It was our time to rise up,” Hamilton said.

Swift retribution

Wyoming coach Eaton, a strict disciplinarian, said at the time he kicked the players off the team for breaking rules regarding protests. The players say he used racial slurs and made derogatory comments about the players headed toward “Negro relief” when he told them they were no longer members of the team.

The coach was reassigned within the Wyoming athletic department after losing his last four games of 1969 and going 1-10 in 1970. He died in Kuna, Idaho, in 2007.

Although Eaton’s actions probably led to more national scrutiny and scorn for the LDS Church and BYU than if he had allowed the protests, former Cougars coach Hudspeth says he will never forget the gesture.

“Lloyd Eaton, out of respect for us, didn’t suit up his black football players that day,” said Hudspeth, now an athletic department official at Tulsa University. “Lloyd was a great gentleman, a great supporter of the conference.”

What Eaton’s actions – and the support he received in the aftermath from university and government officials in Wyoming – accomplished for certain was to alienate the Cowboys’ black players, students and faculty.

“When it was over, I had more hurt feelings from how the Wyoming people reacted and the way I was treated than the whole thing with BYU,” McGee said.

BYU changes

Wyoming and San Jose State weren’t the only places where BYU teams were met with protests and outrage during that era.

Most notably, when BYU’s basketball team played at Colorado State the following winter (1970), protestors threw raw eggs and a flaming molotov cocktail on the floor, and a piece of angle iron struck a newspaper photographer, drawing blood and knocking him unconscious. Approximately 50 blacks and whites charged onto the floor at halftime to disrupt a performance by BYU’s Cougarettes, and police were called in to quell the riot.

But many believe what happened on that snowy day on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming provided an impetus for the church to change its policy.

Hudspeth, predecessor to legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards, said that during those tumultuous times – he cannot remember the exact date or how – he was “made aware” that LDS Church leadership wanted him to add African-Americans to his team, and fast. The following year, BYU’s team included Ronnie Knight, a black defensive back on scholarship from Sand Springs, Okla., by way of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College.

In 1978, the LDS Church lifted the ban on blacks holding the priesthood and disavowed the practice many viewed as racist and discriminatory.

Changes also have come to some of the members of the Black 14. Hamilton’s son, Malik, became a member of the LDS Church and now works as a banquet chef for BYU, with his father’s acceptance.

But neither Hamilton, nor any other black members of the Wyoming football team regret the bold decision they made in 1969 – or the price they paid for it in the aftermath.

“That’s what this whole thing was all about – the fight for equal rights,” Hamilton said earlier this week at a symposium recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Black 14.

“I think we got our point across.”

The Black 14 and BYU

Saturday’s BYU-Wyoming football game in Laramie, Wyo., marks the 40th anniversary of what would come to be known as the “Black 14” protest. On the eve of a Cowboys-Cougars game in 1969, 14 African-American football players at the University of Wyoming were kicked off the team by coach Lloyd Eaton for threatening to wear black armbands during the game to protest the racial policies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which operates BYU.

Several BYU coaches and players who participated in that game, and three members of the Black 14 who angrily watched from the stands, recently gave The Salt Lake Tribune their recollections of the event that had an effect not only on both institutions and their future football teams, but race relations in the United States as a whole.

Key members of the 1969 BYU Football Team

Marc Lyons — Olympus High math teacher, KSL-Radio football analyst
Larry EchoHawk — Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
Dick Legas — BYU assistant track coach
Mel Olson — Former BYU assistant football coach, current BYU professor
Ken Serck — All-conference offensive lineman
Chris Farasopoulos — The “Galloping Greek” played in the NFL for Jets, Saints and Giants
Gordon Gravelle — All-conference lineman played in the NFL for the Steelers, Giants and Rams
Dennis Poppinga — Father of BYU stars Brady and Kelly Poppinga

The Black 14

Jerry Berry, Tony Gibson, John Griffin, Lionel Grimes, Mel Hamilton, Ron Hill, Willie Hysaw, Jim Isaac, Earl Lee, Tony McGee, Don Meadows, Ivie Moore, Joe Williams, Ted Williams

Postscript: 10 of the 14 Wyoming players eventually graduated from college; Isaac, the only player from Wyoming, is deceased; the whereabouts of Ted Williams and Moore are unknown to their former teammates; Ted Williams, Griffin and Meadows returned in 1970 to play for Wyoming; McGee and Joe Williams played in the NFL and Griffin played in the Canadian Football League

Source: Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football

News Release: Will NOM’s Maggie Gallagher Fire Miss California?

November 5, 2009
Fred Karger 619-592-2008

November 5, 2009

Ms Maggie Gallagher
National Organization for Marriage
1100 H Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Maggie —

Maggie, are you going to fire Carrie Prejean??? Donald Trump did.

Carrie Prejean ‘sex tape’ spurred pageant settlement
By Alan Duke, CNN

I was shocked and dismayed to hear yesterday that your lead spokeswoman, the “future of our movement, and the future of America*” according to you, has starred in a sex video as reported by TMZ.

Carrie dropped her $1 million law suit yesterday against the Miss California USA Pageant, as soon as news of her sex video was exposed. She filed her law suit back in August claiming, of all things, “religious discrimination.” Sound familiar?

Are you going to keep her as a paid consultant, Maggie? Are you going to keep her photo and that praise that you heap upon her all over your National Organization for Marriage (NOM) web site?


Does she still represent the true “family values” that you and your NOM Executive Director, Brian Brown espouse.

What does your high powered Board of Directors think? What does your largest backer, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) think of this scandal?

Carrie has been a big fund-raiser for NOM, a speaker, you’ve flown her all over the USA, you have even shared the stage with her, and now this news comes out.

I read that San Diego’s own Charles LiMandri, who was your General Counsel on the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, is also Carrie’s lawyer. Bet he was surprised to hear about that sex video, too. He usually has a lot to say, but yesterday only said that, “it’s a confidential settlement, and he can’t discuss it.”

I feel sorry for Carrie. She is just a young woman trying to make something of her life.

It will be interesting to see how you handle this one, Maggie. Will you be a voice of reason and compassion, or will you toss her to the sharks?

I would hope that you will reflect on this moment in history.

Will you embrace someone whose life is so different from your beliefs? Or will you demonize, bully, rip apart and treat Carrie like someone who has less rights than you have.

Time will tell.


Fred Karger
Californians Against Hate

* From Maggie Gallagher’s September 18, 2009 introduction of Carrie Prejean, at Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council sponsored Voters Value Summit in Washington, DC.

Doug Manchester: Crush Organized Labor to Crush Progressives

By Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign – Nov 3rd, 2009 at 5:40 pm PST

As I write this, we are beginning to hear results from Maine’s version of Prop. 8 and will soon enough hear about right wing attempts to quash freedom in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Washington state. How well we all remember election night here in California last year, that flash of impossible joy and elation at the election of Barack Obama juxtaposed with the horror of the loss of equal rights. How could both be true? How could we elect Barack Obama and simultaneously watch our fellow Californians vote away our rights?

A year later, regardless of the outcome of these elections tonight, the progressive movement is much broader, more determined and smarter. We know what must be done to change the way people think. We know that multiple tactics, ranging from court fights to ballot box battles to marches to push for federal legislation all must happen simultaneously. We also know that those who invest in repression, in damaging families and in singling out LGBT people (or other minorities) for discrimination must be called on their actions and their investments.

I am saddened, but not really surprised then, that Doug Manchester selected today of all days to launch a new website that hides his attacks on progressives and the LGBT community behind the Hyatt global brand.

Lest anyone forget, Mr. Manchester donated $125,000 in the summer of 2008, at the very moment the National Organization for Marriage and Frank Schubert (the fund bundlers and CEO of the anti-equality fights in California and Maine) desperately needed those final dollars to get Prop. 8 on the ballot. That’s right: Had Mr. Manchester not written his check right then, we may well not have had to fight Prop. 8 at all.

The website that Mr. Manchester and his minions launched today does not even address Mr. Manchester’s deep personal commitment to regressive causes. For example, Mr. Manchester “apologizes” for his donation.

“I respect all members of the GLBT community and have several gay and lesbian employees in various departments and professional levels at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. While I stand by my belief that as a private citizen I may make personal donations to causes and charitable organizations of my choosing, I have been reminded daily that not all such actions are correct or favorable to the company, its employees or the community.”

Does this sound like a man who would not again write a check to prevent lesbian and gay people from marrying? Not to me. More insulting, Mr. Manchester then offers “bribes” to 501-c-3 organizations, the type that may not legally engage in politics, as a way to absolve himself of his “actions [that are not] correct or favorable to [his] company.” If Mr. Manchester really wanted to apologize, he would start by saying, “I am sorry that I put up the money that got Prop. 8 on the ballot because I have learned that what I did caused harm to individuals all over this state and nation. As such, I will donate at least twice that amount now to a campaign to reverse Prop. 8.”

But there’s more. While Mr. Manchester’s website complains about the boycott organized so effectively by Fred Karger and our friends at UNITE HERE along with many, many others in San Diego and beyond (including the Courage Campaign and Equality California), he cynically attempts to divide the LGBT community from our allies in organized labor.

Mr. Manchester and his advisors seem to think that organized labor appeared out of the night, saw the boycott and latched onto it. That myopia is what separates progressives from reactionaries. The truth is that organized labor contributed in excess of $2.5 million to defeat the very Prop. 8 that Mr. Manchester helped place on the ballot. Every labor union in the state openly and officially opposed Prop. 8. They spent their members’ funds not trying to win a progressive victory, but trying to stave off the defeat of another reactionary initiative. So it’s only logical and appropriate that the LGBT community would work arm in arm with our brothers and sisters in organized labor—many of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender—to highlight unacceptable working conditions at Mr. Manchester’s hotel. Let us not doubt Mr. Manchester’s true goals. He seeks to defund organized labor in order to prevent it from participating in the political process. The so-called “paycheck protection” effort for 2010, that progressives and organized labor spent tens of millions of dollars defeating in November 2005, will be back on the ballot if Mr. Manchester has his way. This is an excerpt from a Lincoln Club letter of October 7, 2009, three weeks before Mr. Manchester launched his “I like gay people” website:

“If we are unsuccessful in passing the proposition in November 2010, we will have the organization in place to put it back on the 2012 ballot. The unions will be in a much weaker poosition and we will have a finance committee and coalition.

To kick off this campaign the Lincoln Club of Orange County and Doug Manchester have each committed $100,000 to this effort.”

Tomorrow night, there will be another protest outside of the Manchester Hyatt. Based on this insulting website and Mr. Manchester’s determination to undo the very coalition that we’ll need to restore our rights in California, a protest and recommitment to the boycott are the best possible replies. One day, maybe Mr. Manchester will issue a proper apology that will flow from a meeting with the coalition of California’s future.

We have to know our foes as we build our victory.