News (World)

Sheraton refused to host this gay man’s wedding, so Hilton is doing it for free

Josh Rimer is a gay travel blogger and the winner of Mr. Gay Canada 2019
Josh Rimer Photo: YouTube screen capture

The Hilton hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico will host the destination wedding and reception of Josh Rimer, the gay travel blogger and winner of Mr. Gay Canada 2019, for free after the rival Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center turned Rimer away because it doesn’t “specialize” in same-sex marriages. Rimer has accepted the Hilton’s offer to host his April 2020 wedding and has also accepted the offer of a free honeymoon cruise to Lisbon, Portugal from the travel company VACAYA.

Two days after Rimer published a video about the Sheraton resort’s initial refusal to host his same-sex wedding, the 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!”

Related: Protesters take to the streets in Mexico to demand marriage equality

In response, Rimer wrote, “Amazing, what a kind offer!”

Soon after, VACAYA confirmed that Rimer had accepted the Hilton’s offer and “decided to celebrate his honeymoon on [VACAYA’s] Lisbon Pride Cruise in June 2020,” adding, “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.”

When Rimer first asked the Sheraton resort to host his wedding, an employee declined via email, stating, “Our staff is not specialized to carry out an equal wedding,” even though Rimer requested no special accommodations except for an extra boutonniere for his fiancé, Heath.

“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 in his video about the incident. “This is just a normal wedding. It just happens to be with two guys.”

A spokesperson for Marriott later said they contacted 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.”

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