A popular Vancouver gay travel vlogger and Mr. Gay 2019 says he and his fiancé were shocked to receive an email from a major international hotel chain declining their wedding in Puerto Vallarta, reports CityNews.
Josh Rimer took to YouTube to share his story, explaining that he received an email from Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, turning him away because it doesn’t “specialize” in same-sex marriages even though Rimer requested no special accommodations except for an extra boutonniere for his fiancé, Heath.
When Rimer notified staff that he was planning a gay wedding, a Sheraton employee declined via email, stating: “I am infinitely grateful that you have thought of Sheraton for your big day, however, our hotel and our staff is not specialized to carry out an equal wedding and we would not like to take your wedding as a trial and error, and our service could be poor compared to what characterized Sheraton, because we know and we are aware that is your special day for you and your fiance, and do not want that by our non-specialed service some conflict can be generated on your big day, my apologies.”
“So you’re telling me that the Sheraton can’t have a gay wedding??” Rimer said in his video about the incident. “This doesn’t make sense on so many levels. One: This is in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, the gay city in the gay area and you’re a major brand and you’re telling me that you can’t accommodate same-sex weddings. Two: What do you mean ‘specialize’ in it. Why does anybody have to ‘specialize’ in a same-sex wedding? 95% of our guests are going to be straight. We’re basically the only gay ones and maybe one or two other people, so there’s not much to “specialize” in other than it’s going to be a groom and a groom instead of a bride and a groom.”
“I don’t know if she thinks we’re going to show up in speedos with gogo dancers and we expect the officiant to be wearing leather chaps,” Rimer joked. “This is just a normal wedding. It just happens to be with two guys.”
Two days after publishing his video, Hilton tagged Rimer in an Instagram post, stating, “We’ll gladly host your wedding ceremony and feast for FREE for you and your 45 guests at Hilton Puerto Vallarta!”
View this post on Instagram
Help us reach Josh! Hi @JoshRimer, we're looking for you! We've heard you want to get married at Puerto Vallarta and we want to offer you the #HiltonExperience! 🤗 We want to celebrate with you this special day, so we'll gladly host your wedding ceremony and feast for FREE for you and your 45 guests at Hilton Puerto Vallarta! 😍🌴 Please send us an inbox! *Restrictions may apply #loveislove #loveislove🌈
“Amazing, what a kind offer!” Rimer replied in the post.
“We’re thrilled to join Hilton Puerto Vallarta in celebrating the love between Josh and Heath because we believe that together we can shine a brighter light on the work we still have left to do to reach equality,” VACAYA wrote.
A spokesperson for Marriott International, parent company of Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, said they reached out to Rimer directly to apologize for his experience and added, “Marriott has long been committed to providing an environment where all are welcome including our LGBTQ guests and their loved ones.”