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Harrah's In The Eye of The Prop 8 Storm?

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 6th November 2008 4:00pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 9


For those who are unaware, California Proposition 8 (PDF) is a ballot measure which amends the California state constitution to "elimintate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

The amendment reads:

Sec. 7.5 Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

As of this writing, there is a massive protest going on outside of the Church of Latter Day Saints temple in Westwood (Los Angeles, right near UCLA). The LDS (aka Mormons) mobilized their congregations nationwide via church service readings to donate to a political action committee which brought Proposition 8 to the ballot and funded its misleading advertising campaigns.

So what does this have to do with Las Vegas/Harrah's?

Harrah's employs, and just extended the contract of, the worlds most famous members of the Church of Latter Day Saints - Donny & Marie Osmond - in their showroom at the Flamingo.

Harrah's has also engaged in an extensive marketing campaign targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community by advertising in gay publications, performing commitment ceremonies at four of its Las Vegas properties, offering marriage/honeymoon packages via Harrah's Rincon in San Diego and designating Paris Las Vegas as its 'gay friendly resort.'

Is the Donny & Marie Show gay friendly?

Prop 8 Donny and Marie Harrah's

Paris Las Vegas' LGBT info page lists Bette Midler, Jubilee and Elton John as gay friendly entertainment options. Donny & Marie are noticeably absent, but then again so is Cher.

By putting invisible borders around attractions that are "gay friendly" aren't Harrah's essentially saying that there are places in Las Vegas that aren't? Isn't this the same as putting signs on baccarat tables that say "Farsighted Friendly!" or signs on water fountains that say "Facial Hair Friendly" or signs outside of bars & nightclubs that say "Senior Citizen Friendly" or signs at the pool that say "Fat People Friendly" or signs outside of nightclubs that say "Small Bust Friendly"?

Shouldn't everything be friendly to everyone?



Comments & Discussion:

Considering that there's a few gay people who go ga-ga for the Osmonds, I'm not sure Harrah's is somehow trying to play both sides of the Prop 8 fence.

They're suggesting Elton and Bette because both have a large amount of respect and fans within to so-called LGBT community. Whether a more tolerant society has made "queer culture" an unnecessary relic of the past is up for discussion, although prop 8 may cause some individuals to question whether society is tolerant. I'd personally argue that there's a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance, but now we're veering way outside of Vegas discussion.

i'm curious how 'gay friendly' Harrah's actually is if they go and hire the Osmonds. Gay friendly means that you're not going to discriminate across the board - not just here, here and here.

"here, here and here" meaning where it helps their bottom line.

ps. i don't know if the osmonds personally are anti-LGBT. this isn't really about "them" as much as it is about Harrah's tiptoeing through the tulips.

What I'm suggesting is that it's not that the Osmonds aren't listed because they're anti gay, anymore than the omission of Rita Rudner or George Wallace. I'm not a fan, but I've never heard any strong anti-gay stance from them before. I'm sure working in entertainment they've worked with gay people in their time. It's that in in the Castro or other gay subculture areas, there's a lot of respect and admiration for Elton and Cher and Bette, significantly more than the rest of HET's roster.

I'm not sure if hiring D&M really means Harrah's hates gays? I expressed total disinterest in their arrival to town, while Steve F blogged extensively about them and was quite positive about their show. There's two different gay opinions, neither of which took offence to their playing here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, people are listed on that page for having a certain amount of cachet in certain circles, being unlisted does not necessarily denote negative name equity.

I think we agree here - the "then again so is Cher" meant to imply that the listing isn't definitive as what is gay friendly and what is not.

The premise is that Harrah's is in the middle - the eye between both sides of this disagreement - via the LGBT marketing/support and its associations with the LDS via Osmonds (as tenuous as it may/may not be).

The sidecar issue is by defining x,y & z as 'gay friendly' are they implying that a, b & c are 'not gay friendly' ? And by doing that (if they are) are they gay friendly or gay segregationists?

I didn't know the Osmonds were Mormon....so that's why they're so damn happy all the time.

Oh and Florida had that same amendment on our ballots. Except it was amendment 5. And it didn't get passed. Whoever thought it was OK to put that amendment on a state in the south was an idiot. I'd like to see it on Alabama's ballot or Georgia's.
People might think FL isn't considered the "south" but make one trip to northern Florida and you'd think you were in the back country of Kentucky.

I just don't see what D&M being Mormon, and Elton being gay, would be perceived as Harrah's offering some underlying political overtones. Nor do I think that George Wallace being African-American has anything to do with the fact that 70% of African-American voters supported Prop 8, or that Cher has anything to do with the majority of single women voting against it. I think Harrah's is misleading by portraying Vegas as a destination for gays. Las Vegas is the most un-gay town in the country.

Just because Donnie and Marie are Mormon doesn't mean they are anti-gay. I am Mormon and think that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry and all other rights everyone else in this country have. We are told how the breathren in SLC feel, but we are also encouraged to follow our own beliefs. Unfortunately many members follow the leadership blindly. Mormon's believe the only marriage that will be recognized in heaven is the eternal sealing. Thus any other marriage by civil or other means will not be. So to my fellow Mormon's I say if you believe in the teachings of the church you should not be threatened by allowing all to enjoy the rights which we also enjoy upon this earth. Christ truly loved everyone and so should we - it is not our place to judge, leave that to him. He knows the bigger picture, we don't

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