Media Matters for America points out that from July 14-17, the hotel will welcome a three-day national summit for "joyful warriors" organized by Melbourne-based nonprofit, Moms For Liberty.
Claiming to advocate for "parental rights" in schools, Moms for Liberty has campaigned against books and curriculum that include subjects like gender and sexuality, including literature about LGBTQ+ rights and history. The group has also rallied against COVID-19 restrictions, plus books about discrimination and "critical race theory."
But campaign finance data from 2018 to today shows that Marriott International Inc. has also donated at least $180,000 to Florida-based conservative-leaning political action committees (PAC) and candidates. Marriott International Inc. only donated $5,000 to left-leaning PACs in the same timeframe.
"It's just not reasonable for Marriott to pretend like it stands with the LGBTQ community during one month and then the next week take money from the people who are basically calling for our destruction."
It's no secret that Florida's conservative lawmakers have weaponized those funds to help pass legislation like the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's actually set to speak at the Moms For Liberty summit in Tampa.
Despite its political activity, Marriott earned a 100% score in 2022's annual Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy and lobbying in the country, for the ninth year in a row.
CL reached out to HRC to see if its welcoming of Moms For Liberty might affect that score—we'll update this post if we hear back.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the author of a manifesto that denies the existence of trans people is on the bill along with former Trump administration Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who in 2017 revoked Obama-era protections of transgender students.
Passes for the convention itself are $199, and that's not including rooms at the Tampa Marriott Water Street, which are already sold-out.
Since its beginning, the organization has often targeted trans youth. In a June 13 tweet, the organization called the increasing number of transgender youth a "transgender contagion" and encouraged parents to "fight" it.
In March, the group's Twitter page also quoted an article claiming The Trevor Project—the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth—is "actively grooming children into a trans identity."
Spokespeople for Strategic Property Partners (SPP), which owns the hotel, told CL that SPP "does not handle operations inside the hotels," and deferred to Marriott, which has yet respond to CL's request for comment. SPP partner Jeff Vinik also owns the Tampa Bay Lightning, which hosts Pride Nights of its own.