Denied a room because they’re not gay enough?

Swetlana Wall/Shutterstock
Swetlana Wall/Shutterstock
Hotels turn away guests for all kinds of reasons, but here’s one you don’t hear every day: You’re not gay enough.

That’s what Laura Bradmeyer says a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hotel did to her parents when they tried to check in recently. A receptionist told her father the hotel wouldn’t honor his reservation.

“He was told that no women were allowed,” she remembers. “My parents were not charged anything, but they were turned away.”

Eventually, her parents found a room in a different hotel. But Bradmeyer wonders: is the resort allowed to tell guests to leave because of their gender or sexual orientation?

“Although the hotel clearly noted on the website that it was a gay resort, I would think that discriminating against hotel guests based on gender was illegal,” she says. “I would also think that based on the clear misunderstanding and how late it was at their arrival, the hotel could have just let them stay the night on the condition that they didn’t visit any common areas.”

I made several attempts to contact the hotel, the Royal Palms Resort & Spa, to get its side of the story, but it did not respond. Bradmeyer is correct in at least one respect: No one visiting the Royal Palms’ site could be left with the impression that it’s not a gay resort.

Can they do that?

My decidedly non-lawyerly reading of Florida’s lodging statues suggests the hotel might be allowed to refuse a guest. Section 509.141 says hotel operators may turn away “undesirable” guests, including those whose “conduct which disturbs the peace and comfort of other guests or which injures the reputation, dignity, or standing of the establishment.”

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Banning women from gay establishments isn’t unique to the hotel industry. In Australia, a gay bar recently won the right to keep women out. Seems the “predatory” females were making the male patrons uncomfortable.

A better question is: Did the Royal Palms go about it in the right way?

Although the hotel’s site is clear that this is an establishment that caters to homosexual men, I could find no mention of it banning female guests — whether they were straight, gay or bisexual. At the very least, someone from the hotel could have phoned Bradmeyer’s parents after noticing they were a heterosexual couple, to let them know they might feel more comfortable elsewhere.

Turning away a guest at midnight isn’t what I’d call exemplary customer service.

Research before you buy

Bradmeyer says her parents knew they’d booked a gay hotel shortly after making the reservations through an online travel agency.

“Mother easily discovered that it was a gay resort,” she says. “As they are open-minded, they decided to keep the reservation, since the hotel did look very nice and it was only for one night.”

If nothing else, Bradmeyer’s story illustrates the importance of careful planning. You don’t look up your hotel after you’ve made a reservation, particularly in this age of nonrefundable reservations. You do the quality-control beforehand, which includes checking the online reviews and ratings.

Had Bradmeyer’s parents known they were not wanted at the Royal Palms, they might have looked elsewhere for accommodations.

In the end, the family thought the whole episode was funny and since they quickly found another hotel for the night, they weren’t offended.

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“We had a laugh about it,” says Bradmeyer.

But, for other guests, a “wrong vacation” problem might be no laughing matter. At this time of year, it happens to a fair number of newbie business travelers who check into a beach resort during spring break. Hard to get any work done when your neighbors are partying until 4 a.m.

From time to time, I also hear from cruise passengers who are shocked that their travel agent booked their family on a singles cruise. Also popular in this genre of complaint: religious fundamentalists stuck on a gay cruise, classical music lovers on a jazz cruise and foodies on a fitness cruise. A little research would have eliminated that misunderstanding.

The Royal Palms may have been well within its rights to turn away Bradmeyer’s parents. It might have helped the couple find alternate accommodations. But better yet, the guests should have avoided the misunderstanding in the first place by investigating their accommodations before they booked the room.

Should the Royal Palms Resort and Spa have denied Bradmeyer's parents a room?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • Dutchess

    As a gay man, I don’t think anyone should ever be denied a room based on their sexual orientation, and reverse discrimination is still discrimination.

    I can see the hotel perspective of not wanting to offend other guests or make them feel uncomfortable but these are the same lame excuses heterosexual’s have used for years to exclude the LGBT community from everything from gyms, public pools and other establishments. I think the hotel missed an opportunity here to be the inclusive and understanding place we want the rest of the world to be.

  • technomage1

    Not for one night, not without trying to find them alternative accommodations. If the hotel had walked them that would have been the first choice. Could a hotel run by, say fundamentalists, have turned away a gay couple? Imagine the outrage there. I’m not saying specially hotels can’t exist but there will be honest mistakes made.

    I can see the hotels point that this may make some of their guests uncomfortable. If you’re gay I imagine it would be nice to be able to go somewhere just to be yourself and not worry about other since they’re all the same as you. But it could have been handled better when the guests arrived.

  • ThingsthatmakeyougoHmm

    I strongly suspect this is illegal in Florida. If you go to the Florida Commission on Human Relations website, it states that “It is unlawful for an individual to be denied access or to receive poor service
    or lesser quality accommodations because of his or her race, color, national
    origin, sex, disability, familial status or
    religion”. Since the hotel discriminated on the basis of gender (sex), they were likely in violation of Florida law. and possibly subject to sanctions or civil lawsuit (but this is not legal advice).

  • Randy Culpepper

    So what does mean for all of the female-only health clubs in Florida?

  • Randy Culpepper

    The hotel’s web page describes it as a “luxury gay male hotel” in the second sentence. Where’s the confusion?

  • y_p_w

    I think it wouldn’t apply to certain “private clubs”. Single-gender private clubs have been something that’s generally different under the law, provided they don’t discriminate on other grounds.

    I know under federal housing laws, preference for gender in shared housing (roommate situations) is allowed, but not for apartments or homes.

  • TonyA_says

    There’s no confusion. It’s simple laziness to read and to do basic research in the DIY travel market. How can anyone not understand this:

    Gay Ft. Lauderdale hotels and accommodations at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, a gay guesthouse and boutique hotel in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
    The Royal Palms has been the global leader in the gay accommodations industry since opening in 1991. As Fort Lauderdale has evolved into a hip trendy destination, The Royal Palms continues to be an integral part of that wave.With its 2011 expansion, the Royal Palms is now one of the largest full service luxury gay male resort, not only in Fort Lauderdale, but in the US, which means there are accommodations to suit every personality. 

    And to write a consumer advocate about this? Hmm, what’s their agenda?

  • TonyA_says

    If you click RESERVATIONS on their website, you first get this notice before you can proceed:
    Availability & Reservations

    Thank you for visiting our Website! We hope that you will come see for yourself why gays from around the world have made The Royal Palms Resort their preferred choice to stay in Fort Lauderdale. You will discover a level of luxury, hospitality and attention to detail unmatched in the gay market in North America. 
    Yes, in America we have the right to be “stupid” and complain about everything.
    There’s nothing here. Move on.

  • Robert Karpel

    I’m not an attorney but it sounds like the hotel kept them from staying because it was a male-only homosexual hotel. Can a hotel prohibit women from staying?

  • TonyA_says

    Is there anything wrong if a privately owned resort hotel wants to cater EXCLUSIVELY to gay men? They do not care to be inclusive. IMO, that is their right. For as long as they are upfront about it (which they are), and they are not subsidized by tax payers, who are we to tell them what they have to do? I did not think this site emphasizes political correctness. All this equality talk falls flat in the face of reality. Anyone who travels around the world knows you cannot just go in any establishment and expect to be welcomed 100% of the time. A lot of bars in Sapporo’s Susukino area would not let you in because you are not Japanese. So go look for an Irish bar. They serve the same great beers :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Didn’t some prestigious PGA golf clubs do this? Prohibit women.
    List here

  • Grant


    But this isn’t Sapporo… or anywhere else in the world. This is America. Take the first sentence of your comment “Is there anything wrong if a privately owned resort hotel wants to cater exclusively to gay men.” Now, substitute the word “white” for “gay.” Still feel the same way about it?

    I can remember Lester Maddox and a lot of other segregationists making that same argument to keep blacks out of their businesses 50 years ago… “We’re not subsidized by taxpayers. Who is the government to tell us what we have to do?” It didn’t fly then, and it shouldn’t fly now.

  • TonyA_says

    To be real honest with you, I really do not care if PRIVATE clubs discriminate all they want. I live in Stamford, Connecticut. This place is supposed to be in America. Yet I hear we still have exclusive clubs in (next town) Greenwich CT. I cannot see anything wrong if like-minded, same sex, same skin color, same ethnicity, or same whatever want to exclusively be together. They are not denying me education, loans, housing, medical treatment, transportation, etc.
    A lot of people have this idea of what America is, but in reality that is not what I experience. For as long as we or I have the money and means to live, there is a lot of freedom here. I do not have to insert myself in any place I am not welcomed.
    BTW, the point about drinking in a bar in Susukino district, was there were other bars where we Americans of any color could drink, but not just any Japanese bar. I realized that some bars there are actually quite private. I still enjoyed my Sapporo beer, regardless.

  • TonyA_says

    Don’t gay men have the right to be left alone and have their own PRIVATE hotel?
    Would a woman lose anything (like shelter) if she is excluded from this hotel. Aren’t there tons of other hotels in Ft. Lauderdale?

  • Hmmm. This is an interesting one. I’m not sure the hotel should be tasked with looking at every booking to see if any names were female. What if the Bradmeyers were “Pat and Chris”? Especially since the OP realized what type of hotel this was early on, I think it’s on them to call up to ask whether they welcomed “straight” guests. Glad it worked out for them, though. In the end, the hotel lost revenue. Wonder if this happens enough for them to put some kind of clearer message / warning on their website.

  • Grant

    Yup, tons… separate, but equal.

  • technomage1

    It’s very clear on the hotel website it’s for gay men. Also on the booking screen for every online travel agency I looked at, at least the 2 that I could find that showed the property at all.

    I agree once the OP realized they’d booked at a gay hotel they should’ve asked if they’d be welcome or not. But I still think once they showed it it would’ve been nice for the hotel to help them find alternative accommodations.

  • kim6160

    Unfortunately, acceptance of discrimination doesn’t end at exclusive clubs but expands into other aspects of life. You can’t avoid inserting yourself somewhere you are not wanted when discrimination exists on the public sidewalk, the pharmacy, and the town hall. I say this as someone who grew up in Connecticut and now doesn’t return in part because of the way my husband and I are treated as a bi-racial couple.

  • TonyA_says

    Currently a lot of (mainland) Chinese seem to buying most of the town, and I guess most of America :-) Lots of Chinese kids are enrolled in our schools.
    I don’t think they aspire to be members of WASP only country clubs. Pretty soon they might have their own private clubs. Honestly, I cannot see any difference living here in Southwest CT and California (except for the weather). There are tons of bi-racial couples here. Come visit, I am sure they will accept your money here :-)
    Added: About town hall, don’t worry. Westport just published a list of the biggest tax deadbeats. Their names don’t sound foreign to me.

  • Cherity

    I am certain that if the hotel prided itself on being an exclusive “heterosexual” hotel and the couple were a gay couple, we’d hear about ungodly associations like the ACLU filing a lawsuit against the hotel for discrimination against the LGBT community. As a Black woman born and raised in Connecticut, I can assure you of the MANY times I went into an establishment and was the only Black person there. It never crossed my mind to go find another establishment with only Black people there so that I felt “comfortable.” It sounds to me like the same group of people who fought so hard to be “included” with the rest of society is now fighting so hard to be in some “exclusive” club of their own with special privileges. And those of us who don’t agree are considered homophobic and every other word they can think of when we express an opinion different from theirs. Why isn’t “heterophobic” a word which is so clearly demonstrated at this hotel? DISGUSTED!

  • TonyA_says

    Did they ask to be walked or be given another hotel? How difficult would it be to find another hotel in FLL area?

  • TonyA_says

    I believe gays fought for the right to get married, pass on property just like anyone else, get medical and retirement benefits, job security, etc.
    However, every group still should have the right to congregate and party privately.
    Is there a problem if they want to establish a gay only male hotel?
    Can’t society find some way to let them be?

  • Cherity

    Can you, TonyA, find a way to let US be on this forum? Regardless of what you think, you are NOT always right, so I don’t quite understand why you HAVE to reply to everyone’s post who don’t share your opinion. You can’t change my mind so don’t try! Let them be? Puh-leeze! These are the same people who go out of their way to harass businesses who don’t give them their way, but we should let them do as they wish? NOT ME! I stand firm on my beliefs; therefore, my earlier comment stands. I am 100% sure that had the hotel refused them because they were gay, it would make national news and lawsuits would be underway!

  • EdB

    “PRIVATE clubs” – That is the key though. CLUBS are not businesses open to the public. You have groups like the Boy Scouts of America that are allowed to discriminate because they are a private club. However, if a business such as Mom & Pop Grocery down the street said they only allowed white men to shop there, you can bet they would be slapped with a Federal discrimination suit. Perhaps one of the lawyers here could fill in the details. I believe it falls under the Federal Civil Rights Acts.

  • TonyA_says

    You have a reply button just like I do. It’s a forum, not a podium. I never claimed I was right. It’s just my opinion.

  • TonyA_says

    EdB, I didn’t comment on its legality. I am not a Civil Rights Attorney. It’s my OPINION that most private organizations (change the word clubs) should be able to cater exclusively to carved out groups of the population even if they exclude protected classes. To me this is the essence of FREEDOM even if it is not politically correct.
    Not sure if they violated Florida law.
    I would not include common carriers in that category, though.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Tossing out an alternate theory on this one:
    Perhaps the hotel was full and rather than be responsible for “walking” this very late arriving couple, they pulled this nonsense.

  • Raven_Altosk

    This is precisely the “rationale” my cousin’s high school (in South Carolina in the 90s) had for having a white prom and a black prom. The “black prom” was the one sponsored by the school. The “white prom” was at a private club run by parents. Both were on the same night and only white students were invited to the private party.

    Pretty gross, huh?

  • ChBot

    I tend to agree with you, and recognize their right to choose their customers (many other businesses / organisation do this, starting with private schools, so the segregation, whatever it is based upon, starts early !).
    However, once you choose to take bookings through “non intelligent” processes such as OTA, then I think you have to accept whatever (more precisely whoever) comes !
    No private club would ever switch to a pure internet based member application, exactly for this reason !!!

  • Raven_Altosk

    So the question is…if someone doesn’t identify as male or female but “other” would they be welcome? Meaning, someone who presents as female but identifies as male? Hmmm…I wonder how the Royal Palms would handle a transperson…

    (Hopefully better than the TSA incident I witnessed)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    “Bradmeyer says her parents knew they’d booked a gay hotel shortly after making the reservations through an online travel agency.”

    There’s the confusion. Had they booked directly with the hotel, they might have gotten a clue.

  • ChBot

    Chris :
    While I tend to like your provocative titles (they make for a more enjoyable reading), this one is misleading: the reason was not that they were not gay enough, but that one of them was a woman !

    I bet two ladies trying to check in would also have been turned out !…

  • TonyA_says

    Someone mentioned here that the OTA sites did have notes about this being a gay-man resort hotel. I did not check the OTA sites, though.
    From you comment, I would surmise the OTA should have informed their guests. The hotel’s own website does it right, IMO.

  • john4868

    Sorry … I think the hotel is in the wrong here. It’s a public business not a private club. I was raised that discrimination in any form is wrong. I think someone else pointed it out the best… If the Bradmeyers had been denied a room because they were black instead of because they were straight, are we even debating if this is legal?

  • TonyA_says

    I would think they will welcome a former she who is now a male.
    However a male turned female won’t. My opinion only :-)

  • Michelle

    I don’t have any problem with the resort turning them away. I imagine that this isn’t the first time this has happened, and I would assume that this property would have recommendations for other nearby properties at the ready. I do think that this property could have gone a little further with helping them find acceptable accomodations. I also think that the couple, when they discovered that this hotel catered to a certain clientele, should have called to confirm that their reservation would be honored, instead of assuming that it would be.

  • BillCCC

    I’m not touching this one with a 30 foot pole.

  • Ah, that pesky “freedom of association” noted in the First Amendment is a doubled edged sword. Just ask the Boy Scouts of America or the country club where the Masters is held each year. In this instance, that freedom of association, makes the gay community (represented here by the Royal Palms) appear as being petty and non-inclusive.

    But, appearances can be deceiving and it didn’t help that the Royal Palms didn’t talk with Chris about the incident.

    Also, by looking at the website, there is an image of a naked male couple in the swimming pool as I believe the Royal Palms to be “clothing optional”. Can you imagine how disconcerting it would be taking your morning swim, naked, and a female old enough to be your mom walks by? She may have been comfortable staying at a gay male resort, but what about the comfort of the other guests? Would they feel as if they weren’t getting the full value of the hotel if they weren’t comfortable swimming naked because of a female also staying there?

    Though it doesn’t look good that the Royal Palms turned the straight couple away from the inn, I can fully understand why it might have done so. It doesn’t mean that the Royal Palms is not-inclusive, but instead looking out for the comfort of all their guests.

  • TonyA_says

    Federal Law –
    Title 42 › Chapter 21 › Subchapter II › § 2000a
    42 USC § 2000a – Prohibition against discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation

    (a)Equal access
    All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.
    It did NOT say on the ground of gender or sexual orientation.

    However there is a Florida Statute 509.092

    Public lodging establishments and public food service establishments; rights as private enterprises.—Public lodging establishments and public food service establishments are private enterprises, and the operator has the right to refuse accommodations or service to any person who is objectionable or undesirable to the operator, but such refusal may not be based upon race, creed, color, sex, physical disability, or national origin. A person aggrieved by a violation of this section or a violation of a rule adopted under this section has a right of action pursuant to s. 760.11.

    Therefore her remedy (under 760.11) is to file a discrimination complaint with the state within 365 days from the date of occurrence.

    I am not a lawyer, but google is pretty good at this things :-)

  • pietrocrazy

    If they want their hotel to be exclusive for gay men, that’s fine, but they need to make it explicit. Explicit as in “sorry, men only”. It’s really not enough to say just that it’s a hotel that caters to gay men – plenty of places specifically cater to a gay clientele, but few of them outright ban straight people. Not every straight person goes running for the hills at the sight of gay men!

  • Randy Busch

    How much do you want to bet that if it had been a gay couple denied a room that there’d be a lawsuit.

  • Asiansm Dan

    I vote No for the principle, but believe me, I don’t think Laura’s parents will be comfortable at this place where not only clothing is optional, walls is optional too. It’s not a 5-star Hotels, but you have thousand stars above you when having fun and nobody cares.

  • Cherity

    TonyA, you thrive on being right, hence the many cut and pastes and unsightly GDS screenshots you post on here time and time again in support of your opinion. Yes, you can reply as you wish, but don’t ask people to let others be when you, yourself, have an issue with “letting others be” who don’t share your views.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Or googled the place PRIOR to making the reservation. I always find it amusing when people book first, then research the place later.

    And even after they’d figured out they’d booked into a gay resort they don’t call or email to see if there’d be any issues with that? I just don’t get that part at all. If it had turned out to be a male-only or female-only place would they have still just showed up? Poor assumptions and bad manners on their part.

  • Charles

    I don’t buy it. I looked and the only OTA I could find this hotel on at all was (and it’s siblings, of course) and the first line of the description is “This gay resort for men…”. The idea that they did not know this was a gay hotel is ludicrous. I think they deliberately booked this hotel because they thought it would be a fun show. “Let’s go watch the gays, dear.” They were surprised that the hotel doesn’t really want their guests to be the show.

    There are several resorts that cater to nudists. Most of them don’t allow single men for exactly this same reason. Some only allow couples, but some allow single women as well. They know it’s only single men who are likely to be coming just to gawk.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Agree 100%. Either they made a naive assumption that everything would be fine, or they decided to be voyeuristic and go through with the reservation. Hate to be judgmental, but it sure seems like bad manners from my viewpoint.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Putting the legal issues aside, this was very self-centered behavior by the OP’s parents, imo. They discovered shortly after booking they’d goofed–as a heterosexual couple they’d booked at a place clearly noting itself as being gay-only. Do they call or even send an email to the hotel to see if their goof will cause any problems? No, they decide that since they themselves are okay with it, everybody else will automatically be fine with it, as well. Essentially, they decided that as the guests who couldn’t adequately research the place before booking, their comfort would trump every guest there that actually knew ahead of time where he’d be staying.

  • Michael__K

    If this were legal, then the time and place to make this kind of policy crystal clear is through the booking channel. (“Check this box to acknowledge that this resort is exclusively for gay men. Heterosexual couples will not be permitted with or without a reservation.”)

    Assuming this was illegal, then shame on the hotel.

  • emanon256

    That makes me so sick!

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Great post. They should have helped them find another hotel. At least in theory, these people might have had no clue prior to the front desk person telling them that they’d made a big-time goof in their booking.

    But that brings me to the part that bugs me about the whole situation: They did know ahead of time where they were going to be staying, yet didn’t bother to tell the hotel about their goof until they showed up. They figured since THEY were okay with the results of their mix-up, the hotel and all the other guests there going to be okay with it, as well. I think that was very self-centered and, frankly, impolite on their part. The best way to avoid potential problems is to communicate about them early on and they made no effort to do that.

  • billj

    Folks, I’ve stayed at the Royal Palms and its a lovely hotel, not as some commenters say who have never been there, a place where men have sex out in the open under the stars. That said, I would feel uncomfortable if they let women and children in because then it would not be a gay mens’ resort. Try, if you will, to imagine getting stares and comments if you have your arm around your partner, hold hands or share a kiss. That is what you will get in almost all hotels in America and the rest of the world as a same-sex couple. Gays have been discriminated against for centuries, so for a handful of hotels to carve out a special place for their clients is something we treasure. Your armchair legal analysis is wrong, too. Plenty of places keep folks behind the red rope for many and no reasons. So suck it up and move on, and enjoy the 99.9% of the world that is made just for you straights..

  • y_p_w

    But it could still very well be illegal.

    There’s a local movie theater that has a “baby night”. They turn down the lights less and turn the sound down a notch. Babies are encouraged to be there. The one big rule is that everyone knows it’s babies night and nobody is supposed to complain about crying babies because it’s disclosed in advance. I remember an older couple without a child (I suppose grandparents could take a grandchild) at the ticket window being told of the policy, but given the chance to watch anyways.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and occasionally visit the Castro. I can’t imagine any business that would turn me away because I’m not gay. That would be illegal and it should be illegal. About as illegal as that lesbian couple that was turned away from a B&B in Oahu.

  • Andrew F

    1. Can you imagine the stink if that were a homo couple turned away from a normal hotel?
    2. Same question if the hotel were to advertise on it Web site that it was serving exclusively hetero couples.

  • Cherity

    “a place where men have sex out in the open under the stars”

    If this is right and there is nothing wrong with it, why would anyone other than gays feel uncomfortable seeing it? I mean, it’s perfectly fine, right? Can straight people have sex out in the open under the stars at other hotels in the U.S? It’s amazing the nonsense we engage in and support. But hey, I’m pretty sure this sexual activity is legal at this “lovely hotel.” Give me a break!!

  • Randy Culpepper

    So why is the outrage only expressed here? What about seniors-only communities or female-only health clubs? How are those not discrimination but this is?

  • Daddydo

    Using the logic of “privately owned establishments”, why can I not light up in any bar located in New York City? There are rules within every city. Hotels have rules, and here we have another OP crying that he is entitled to break the rules. If you feel that laws have been broken, then sue them. But quit crying for public support.

  • Dutchess

    I completely agree!

  • Timothy Woody

    What would have happened if it were a gay couple trying to check in at a heterosexuals only hotel?

  • Randy Culpepper

    “And those of us who don’t agree are considered homophobic and every other word they can think of…”

    Careful Cherity, your (lack of) character is showing. The only person who’s called you homophobic so far, is you.

  • It’s so important to not discriminate. If a paying guest has a reservation, I don’t understand why the Royal Palm hotel didn’t honor it. As a gay person, I won’t ever stay at the Royal Palm when I visit the city and I will be discouraging all my friends from staying there too. Discrimination is discrimination. Period.

  • Karl Katz

    Anyone’s who been to an all-male, gay resort (particularly, this property), will appreciate the receptionist’s trepidation: there are naked men everywhere at this place! @Dutchess: your points are well received, but this isn’t a matter of discrimination, being PC, or “let’s all get along”. Believe me, that couple would have most likely left the property within hours, and then demanded a refund.

    Exclusively female establishments (hotels, etc.) in this country, have been around for more than a century. Where’s the protest and “equality” discussion about that? How about my local gym that excludes men? It’s a public establishment, not a club, and men are absolutely not allowed: Victory Fitness Centers, 50 Graceland Blvd., Columbus, OH; Victory Fitness Centers, 3981 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH. These are only two such “public” establishments that will telephone the local police, should a man demand entrance.

    The major mistake, on the resort’s side: if they want to discriminate, then they should become a “private, member’s only club”. That’s a little gimmick that’s been used by all-gay establishments since the 40s. Membership fee: $5, men only. The resort should be more specific in their advertising, and specify that this establishment is a gay-male property, and one should expect public nudity (and, believe me, the “boys” do just get naked there!)

  • S E Tammela

    Not sure what they hoped to achieve either. Do they expect to be welcomed back? For the resort to suddenly become straight? Or… what, exactly?

    Is the law really the issue anyway? Surely you can just allow nature to take its course… they might lose some business (and they won’t care). If the potatoes are always rotten at Supermarket X then people stop going. There’s always Supermarket Y, after all, with fresh ones.

  • EdB

    Karl, in one paragraph you state it’s fine for a “public” establishment to discriminate and give the fitness club as an example. However, in the next paragraph you say that a place that wants to discriminate should become a “private” club. Am I missing something thing here because it sounds like these two items conflict with each other.

    And in regards to the fitness center, they are a private club. From their website:

    Welcome to Victory Fitness Center
    We enable our members to achieve their own personal Victory by offering:
    Affordable Membership
    All Classes Included with Membership

    The reference to membership indicates they are a private organization.

  • Chris Johnson

    Since sexual preference is not a suspect or quasi-suspect classification under the Constitution, this place had every right to deny admission to these people. I can’t imagine they’d enjoy staying there anyway, unless they were just in and out for a quick overnight. If I’m going to a resort for any kind of extended vacation though, I’d want to research the property thoroughly beforehand.

    On another note, it’s always amusing that various private clubs and/or “niche” properties like these become more accomodating to the masses once the economy tanks. There used to be a ton of men-only athletic and posh social/eating clubs (and I’m talking about places that didn’t specify anything about being straight or gay) but once these places started having cash-flow problems, they decided that becoming co-ed wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Money talks and you know what walks!

  • Charles

    Why would any heterosexual couple knowingly (and I think they knew exactly what they were doing) check into a hotel specifically for gay men? Think about it? They were going to gawk! They thought it would be fun to go there and see what “those people” are like. The regular patrons at the hotel become their entertainment. I’m sure the Royal Palm has to deal with this problem on a regular basis.

    Some people have mentioned that patrons might feel uncomfortable swimming nude if an older woman is there. It is far worse than that. I’m not gay, but once, while swimming at a resort that has a nude beach, three young adults stood on the shore and watched me. I was their entertainment for the day. “Look, a naked guy”. I am not bashful about nudity, but having those lurkers stare was very uncomfortable. Security finally came and made them leave. It’s why lots of nudist resorts will not accept single men.

    The patrons at the Royal Palm deserve to be able to stay somewhere where they are not the show for lurkers.

  • bodega3

    Maybe Clark can fill us in. In our area, we have the first gay senior housing complex opening and of course we have many senior houses complexes and communities. I don’t know how this works with our fair housing laws…nor have I taken the time to research it.
    Also in our area, same sex health clubs are illegal. This was tested in the past couple of years when a male wanted to join an all female club. The basis for his wanting to job was to push the envelope and he won…except the club closed as it refused to accept males.

  • and what if it were the other way around? What if a gay couple were turned away from a hotel because they are gay?

  • EdB

    In regards to the fair housing laws, the Federal Law has a clause to allow senior only housing if certain amenities are offered for senior care. I don’t remember what those were but I recall there being something like an on site nurse had to be present.

  • andrelot

    Why do you assume we are okay with that?

  • andrelot

    Just because one group is discriminated in some instances doesn’t make it ok to practice reverse discrimination.

    What if 99,9% of hotels didn’t accept same sex couples at all? Would you be okay with having your options limited to that 0,1%?

  • bodega3

    My parents live in a senior community…not a housing complex. There is no medical facility within the community. So your example doesn’t work for that. The soon to be opened gay only senior housing that is opening in our area has raised many questions petaining to discrimination and segregation. It appears to be legal and is close to opening.

  • andrelot

    No, society can’t and shouldn’t. What about some whites-only hotel? Or some “no Asians allowed” hotel? That is a slippery slope.

  • y_p_w

    It’s state law that would be the issue here.

  • KaraJones

    I think a health club should be allowed to fall under different rules because of the naked or partially undressed status of the patrons in many of the situations…versus a hotel where your nakedness goes on behind your locked door.
    If, on the other hand, (hypothetically) this hotel advertised that there were actually naked activities going on in various public sections of the hotel, then they should be able limit who their guests would be (no kids, no women, etc.)… But in that case, the hotel should have to call ALL guests before confirming their reservation, to make sure that they were all on the same page about what would be going on and who would be allowed.
    Given that this is a gay hotel – not a naked hotel- I think that since the hotel didn’t take the responsibility to call the couple and confirm that they understood that it was a gay property, they should have either allowed them to stay the night or walked them to another hotel.

  • KaraJones

    That’s a great idea. Simple and gets it done right.

  • Randy Culpepper

    I’ve never heard of a health club where there’s more nudity than one might see at a hotel pool.

  • KaraJones

    I agree. A lot of commenters here seem to be missing the point that this is a business open to the public. It is not a private club. I don’t care if it’s a corporation or privately owned – it is offering services to the public. Therefore, it is inappropriate for them to discriminate. But I do feel that it is very important that they do everything they can to make sure that all guests are aware of the environment before confirming their reservation. If they want it to be 100% gay-only, then they should make it more of a private club where reservations are open to members only. That way, they can screen new members before they make a reservation.

    I live in NYC. I’m a white female. I have been in lots of gay bars (male and female and mixed) as well as bars where everyone else was black. I had a great time in all of the above. They reminded me at the door that I was in the minority – and so long as they knew I was fine with it, they were, too. I have a lot of friends who are gay as well as friends who are of many other races than mine. It would be really sad and inappropriate if I couldn’t hang out with them because I was excluded from the establishment that they they want to go to.

  • KaraJones

    That’s a good point.

  • KaraJones

    Why do you assume they wouldn’t enjoy staying there? Personally, I don’t give a crap if someone is straight or gay or otherwise, unless I’m interested in dating them. How does their “gayness” affect my time in the hotel? Who cares?
    From their perspective, at least they know anyone else staying in the hotel who is not gay is, at least, gay-friendly. And therefore, they can know that they can be themselves and not be concerned that I will bash them.

  • EdB

    Like I said, I didn’t remember all the requirements for senior housing. Only that there is a clause in the federal housing law that does allow for it.

  • KaraJones

    Yeah, I agree that it should be a “private club” if they want to discriminate. Also, if we’re talking about NAKEDNESS, that’s an entirely different subject than GAYNESS. I don’t want to go to ANY hotel and see ANYONE’s naked bits (except my honey’s). So if NAKEDNESS is the issue here, then it absolutely should be a private club. And whether it’s a gay place or a straight place, it should be AGE restricted.
    (A gay peepee doesn’t look any different than a straight peepee – but neither should be viewed unwittingly!)

  • KaraJones

    What is it that you do in public spaces of a hotel that you think people would gawk at? If this is, indeed, a nude place, OK, point made. But just because it’s a hotel for gay men doesn’t mean that those gay men will be having sex in the hallways. It means that it’s a respite for them to be comfortable that everyone around them is either gay or gay friendly. (As I stated earlier, a NAKED issue is entirely different, whether it’s gay or straight. If someone goes to a NAKED straight hotel, the issues would be the same – gawkers.)

  • Karl Katz

    oops! You are so correct! I should have used another example: YWCA… a publicly-funded, yet discriminatory organization

  • karl katz

    It’s not just the “exposure”, but the blatant sexual activity that goes on everywhere at this place

  • KaraJones

    But it was late. They should have at least been assisted in finding another place, if not walked.

  • KaraJones

    The issue with those golf clubs was that they wanted to call themselves “private clubs”. But they were willing to have the golf tournaments sponsored by national public corporations as well as broadcasting them on national television. They lost their right to behave like private clubs who can discriminate at that point. They had to stop prohibiting women. Let’s not forget that it was only a short time before that when, for similar reasons, they had to stop prohibiting Jews. (Lots of that went on in Connecticut, Tony!), And it really was until not that long ago (1970’s at last official check – but I’m sure some dragged on till even more recently) that Jews and Italians were banned from private golf clubs.

  • KaraJones

    That’s because, like me, perhaps you live on the East Coast. I was in California and was very surprised when I got into the hot tub and all the other women were looking at me funny. It’s because I was wearing a bathing suit but they were all naked.
    I was told later that everyone out there does that.

  • karl katz

    It’s not just the nudity… sexual activity is rampant here, and not done discretely.

  • Bill___A

    The hotel should have been prepared for this and if they wanted to have them stay elsewhere, should have had some sort of arrangement available. They are likely to encounter this more than once. Lodging establishments should be prepared to deal with various situations.

  • markincleveland

    I think their issue is with the online online travel agency. If it was a blind one, they should have a lot of issues. If they had used a credit card to guarantee or prepaid their room, I think the hotel should have had to fulfill the bump policy, free first night and transportation to the next hotel.

  • pauletteb

    I too live in Connecticut; the fact that you live in Stamford helps explain your attitude.

  • pauletteb

    Fortunately I haven’t seen much of that type of discrimination in my end of the state; bi-racial couples are very common, and no one looks twice.

  • TonyA_says

    I think they wanted gay men. Women not welcomed. Men who are NOT gay, not welcomed. The OP’s father was not gay so he was not welcomed. That’s the way I understood the hotel’s message.

  • emanon256

    It says they realized what they booked after they booked and decided to try anyway, got a full refund, easily found alternate accommodations, and had a good laugh. I don’t understand why they contacted an advocate either.

  • TonyA_says

    What does living in Stamford have to do about it? You don’t like the cost of homes here? I live here because of its easy access to NYC where my business is located.
    We have all colors of people living here. We have a number of Jewish synagogues (including an Orthodox one) and a Jewish Community Center. We also have an Italian center. We have a big Hispanic and Haitian community.
    Yes there are very rich hedge fund folks who are here, but most of us have lived here before the bankers moved in.

    Here’s the way I see the problem. Many are hypocrites. They pretend that they are against discrimination (of any kind), but in real life they practice it. I also don’t like discrimination because it hurts. But, I agree that discrimination is normal and part of life. That’s why I accept and tolerate it. Our bodies are primed to discriminate. That’s how biology works. Our bodies have defense mechanisms against what it considers foreign. We make a lot of choices in life – what we eat, where we go, who we have a relationship with, etc. Choice means discrimination. Yes I discriminate everyday. I am human.

  • emanon256

    Tony, have you seen Avenue Q? You reminded me of one of the songs :)

  • KaraJones

    You may be right about that. But I’ll say this…I just looked at their website pretty thoroughly and no where on that site does it state or even remotely imply that either:
    1. Non gays are not allowed or
    2. Sexual activity goes on outside of private rooms

    So it is the responsibility of the hotel to make that really clear and also for them to screen all reservations before confirming them. But they really should become a “private club”.

  • TonyA_says

    Raven, I lived in Memphis, TN in the 80’s. I heard the same story there. Some old folks there still used the “N” word like it was normal vocabulary. I thought white and black people liked separate proms and it didn’t upset me. My wife’s best friend is a very nice black lady. They still call and chat (for an hour) almost everyday even if we now live in Connecticut. My wife grew up in Arkansas. Her older brothers were in all-white Central High School in Little Rock, when federal troops escorted nine black to attend school there. I’m sure they had an all white prom at that time but it did not mean they (or their parents) were racists.

    One of my son’s best friend is black. He calls me Dad when he is here in our house. Personally, I could not care less if people with the same skin color want to party separately. I think people should be free to choose who they want to associate with. I believe we are too sensitive to anything remotely racial. It’s funny because I just came back from Asia and they are pretty “racist” over there. I don’t hear us getting upset about them. Racism there is normal and there is no way we can change that for billions of people.

    With regards to this hotel, did they discriminate against BLACK gay guys? Probably not.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? :)

    LOVE that play!

    (For those not familiar with the play, the song is “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”.)

  • emanon256

    I often listen to the soundtrack. One of my absolute favorites!!!

  • TonyA_says

    When we took our first born (son) to Di$ney World many years ago, we did not realize it was gay day. I was wearing a red shirt and I was approached by a Di$ney employee who handed me a grey Di$ney t-shirt. I asked why and she said the gays were all wearing red and I might be mistaken to be a gay person. I laughed, got the free T and kept in my son’s stroller. The park was so full that day that we didn’t get to ride or do much. Did I complain to Di$ney and try to get another pass? No, we just left early and charged it to experience.

    Considering what I saw there, I would think it would be more X-rated in the Royal Palms. Now that said, would the OP’s parents have enjoyed their stay? How would they react to the pool party? Me thinks the hotel did them a favor (just my opinion). Maybe if they stayed, they would be writing Chris to help them get their money back.

  • Randy Culpepper

    Because they are FAR more prevalent than this hotel, yet we haven’t seen the issue raise.

  • Charles

    I’m not gay, so I can go with my wife to any hotel and we can hold hands or have a light kiss and nobody will notice or care. It’s not unusual. I think you will find that is different for gay men and women. This couple probably was not going to see men naked or having sex. The web site does not really give the impression that those activities are rampant. But, can you imagine if just kissing your partner is someone’s idea of a show. “Look ma, those guys are kissing!” It would be like being in a zoo just doing normal couple activities, much less anything more explicit. “Wow, this is just like Cam and Mitchell”. If I kiss my wife, nobody is going to consider that a unique or exotic thing to see. But, for lots of people, seeing two men kiss is very exotic (notice how rarely you actually see Cam and Mitchell kiss on Modern Family!). I grew up in the south. I saw people react to gay people in a variety of unwholesome ways.

  • TonyA_says

    Reiterating billj’s point. The reason why it is an [exclusive] gay men resort is because gay men would most probably be harassed if they openly practiced their beliefs in straight hotels. The Royal Palm is their protected nest. They should be exempted from Florida’s Innkeeper Statute 509.092

  • Randy Culpepper

    That’s a false analogy. In the complainant’s letter, it’s the class that has been historically and systematically discriminated against that’s wanting privacy and security. In your analogy, it’s the privileged class wanting to exclude the others. There’s a difference.

  • KaraJones

    No they didn’t discriminate against black gay guys – there’s a really good looking one in a Speedo in the pool on their web site! : D

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Unfortunately, I’m coming late to the party and my first thoughts have already been said.

    To reiterate them here, since I’ve already gotten the ball rolling…

    1. As Grant said, substitute “white only” for “gay only” and now we have a problem.

    2. Were a resort to say “Heterosexuals only” I can’t help but feel the gay community would be picketing the place within 24 hours. Why is it okay for one group to discriminate against another simply because they’ve been downtrodden in the past? Are they really keeping heterosexual couples (and women) out because it makes their patrons uncomfortable or because they want revenge?

    3. If the resort, hotel or motel is “Gay males only”, why isn’t that evident on the website or booking engine? Sorry, but if dem’s da rulez, then dem rulez needs to be posted, clearly, everywhere.

    4. As a heterosexual female, were I to have gone to that resort being unaware of their “Gay men only” policy, I’d be more than a little upset at being told I was being turned away because I am a woman and because I am straight. Were the tables turned, I know I’d be on the receiving end of some pretty hostile people.

    While I can certainly empathize with gay men wishing for a safe environment where they feel free to have a relationship in public w/o fear of offending others who are less enlightened, I can’t empathize with their wanting a “He-man Woman Hater’s Club”.

  • Grant

    They didn’t write. Their daughter did.

  • Grant

    They didn’t. Their daughter did.

  • KaraJones

    Tony, their daughter wrote to Chris – the parents didn’t. The daughter was obviously perturbed about her parents having been turned away and wanted to know what Chris thought about the ethics/legality of it. She wasn’t asking for anything.

  • KaraJones

    They didn’t hope to achieve anything. The daughter wrote to get an opinion from Chris.

  • TonyA_says

    KaraJ, same thing happened to us in Japan. Those Onsen public baths are naked tubs. Just a towel to dry not hide :-)

  • KaraJones

    Haha! Was I down-voted for being a white female? What could I possibly have said there that someone could take issue to? Oh, right, I have inter-racial and gay friends. Silly me.

  • Daisiemae

    Oh My! We’re talking about genitalia here? I thought the moderators had banished such talk from this blog?

    On the TSA thread of this blog, talking about genitalia gets a blogger banned. Is talking about genitalia only banned when TSA is molesting said genitalia?

    Or is the ban against discussing genitalia extended evenly to all threads of this blog?

    I am very interested to learn what position the moderators will be taking on discussion of genitalia in the non-TSA threads of this blog.

  • KaraJones

    Charles, I agree with you. Once, I was walking down the street with MY MOTHER and holding her hand and some idiots drove by and made comments about us being lesbians. I also have friends and family members who are gay and have dealt with bashing. So I’m all for them having their own place and running it however they want to. But I just feel that they should make it a private membership situation so they don’t have to discriminate and deal with exactly the situation described in this article – which is, ultimately, discrimination.

  • john4868

    Really @Daisiemae:disqus … You had to go there? Unlike some of the posts on Wednesdays… This one isn’t graphic. This one isn’t argumentative. Its a civil discussion where some people agree to disagree… Unlike what’s seen on Wednesday.

    There are actually scientific studies out there (someone shared one from the LA times today with me) that show that how commentors discuss issues on a blog effects the blog.

    If you can’t respect what Chris is trying to do, why not just stay on Lisa’s blog?

  • TonyA_says

    Then why is the daughter writing for her parents? I don’t think she (or her parents) want a free stay :-)
    She could just as easily google Florida Innkeeper Statutes.
    Did she contact a syndicated columnist because she knew he would write about their side of the story and possibly shame the hotel? Is that the agenda? Are we now gonna force this resort hotel to accept non-gays? Why? How will that benefit society?

  • KaraJones

    Seriously? You just took my nice gently worded post and did that with it? Don’t involve me in your politics. If you have a gripe with Chris’ blog, say it outright in your own post. Don’t drag my post into it. >: (

  • KaraJones

    No, I don’t think that was her intention. I think she was simply p.o.’d that they turned her parents away without walking them.

  • y_p_w

    Of course it’s right here for those who want to see an official link:

    “….but such refusal may not be based upon race, creed, color, sex, physical disability, or national origin.”

    The law seems to be clear what it’s supposed to cover. If a place has a dress code and someone comes in wearing torn jeans and an old T-shirt, that would be justified refusal. If someone comes in not having bathed in 2 weeks, that would also be something. Heck – it could be that the owner is a University of Florida grad and the customer walks in wearing a Florida State sweatshirt. However, if someone is refused due to some immutable characteristic (religion is somewhat of a separate category since it can be changed, but that’s another matter) then the law wouldn’t seem to protect a business’s right to refuse service.

    I would even think that if a woman checked into a hotel like this and then started to make a fuss about all the gay men holding hands, then they would have a right to kick out someone, but not preemptively on the assumption that she’s going to cause a fuss.

  • KaraJones

    Excellent post. But regarding the caveat you included, I would un-separate that concept because bigots would consider someone’s religion to be something innate even if the person converted to the bigot’s religion (i.e., “once a ?? always a ??” mentality).

  • TonyA_says

    Not yet. I think I’m gonna like it (based on Jeanne’s comment). Thanks.

  • sunshipballoons

    I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for a public accommodation such as a hotel to discriminate based on gender. In many states (but, I suspect, not Florida), it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Overall, this policy seems problematic.

  • sunshipballoons

    On senior-only communities: There is no law banning age discrimination based on being too young.

    On female-only health clubs: it depends on whether or not it’s a truly private club. As long as it’s truly a private club, you can discriminate (for example, Boy Scouts of America or the Augusta Golf Club’s former male-only policies). If it’s really a public accommodation, there are probably likely problems with discrimination.

  • KaraJones

    Why are you attacking Tony? He expressed a reasonable opinion. There are clearly two quite reasonable ways to look at this issue without being homophobic. Tony feels they should be allowed to do this because they’ve suffered from discrimination. Some of us feel that to do this is, in turn, discrimination.

    Cherity, you remind me of a great blurb I read the other day which I will share here:

    Question: If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?

    Answer: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man.
    I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.

  • technomage1

    I agree, once the couple realized their mistake they should have contacted the hotel and not just assumed it was OK to stay there.

  • Randy Culpepper

    My question wasn’t about legality, but why we as a society are ok with these but this hotel is being discriminatory with its policy.

  • TonyA_says

    I have been thinking about this for hours. I think I have found the answer. The Royal Palms if probably part of a “group” of gay friendly hotels and all they knew were other hotels for gays. See the list here:
    Getting walked to another gay hotel would make no sense.

  • technomage1

    We don’t know if they asked or not. But if a hotel chooses not to honor a reservation for reasons beyond the guest’s control, no matter if its a gay resort or the hotel had a water pipe burst, then its good customer service to assist them in finding alternative accommodations.

    I have no idea how hard it is or isn’t to find a hotel in FLL. But if its as easy as you imply, then it wouldn’t have killed the hotel spending a few minutes to help them out.

    Is is a requirement? No. But would it have left the couple with a much more positive outlook of the experience, yes. And who knows, they might mention that to a gay friend who would book a stay there, or write a positive review on tripadvisor. Good service gets noticed just as much as poor service does.

  • KaraJones

    Oh, come on now. The concierge or front desk manager doesn’t know of any other hotels except for gay ones? Like you said, there are lots of hotels in FLL. I’m quite sure they know of some.

  • TonyA_says

    I suggest you read this rather new article:

    Back when gays weren’t so welcome at mainstream hotels, gay resorts like the Marlin Beach in Fort Lauderdale gave us a place where we could let it all hang out, figuratively, and sometimes literally. Today Fort Lauderdale is home to 19 gay resorts, all with varying degrees of “sexual temperature.” None of them is actually a convent (although you can sleep in a convent here or here), but some of them might as well be bathhouses, with sling-equipped rooms and signs like “no butt play in the hot tub.”

    I wonder which sexual temperature hotel (or ‘convent’) they would have been walked to :-)

  • sunshipballoons

    I understand. But one major factor in whether we are okay with something is, I think, whether or not it violates the law.

  • TonyA_says

    Not tying to make excuses, but if this is one of the ‘wild’ gay hotels in FLL, then maybe the staff is used to dealing only with gay clients and do not interface with other straight hotels. (see the link to the huffington post article I posted above)

  • technomage1

    You beat me to it, I was going to say the same thing.

  • Oh, you mean like any Sandals’ resort?

  • Joshua

    There is a Federal law against housing discrimination based on “familial status” — having people under 18 years old in your household. However, the law does provide an exemption for “housing for older persons” which is not required to admit families with children under 18.

  • flutiefan

    she states that they get a good laugh out of the story, so i doubt “shaming” them is her intention.

  • Daisiemae

    I apologize if I have offended you. That was not my intention.

    Actually, I don’t have any problem with you or anything you said. I don’t see anything offensive at all in your comments.

    Your comments are no more offensive than the comments that were posted in the TSA thread. However, any rules that are being applied by the moderators should be applied evenly to all. They should not reserved for certain individuals or certain threads.

    The purpose of my previous comment is to point out that the arbitrary and unspecified rules being applied on this blog are being used as tools to punish and drive away those who disagree with a certain position.

    Of course, it would be ridiculous to reprimand or blacklist you for the above post. Just as it is ridiculous to reprimand or blacklist a blogger on the other thread for similar comments.

    The fact that such a ridiculous rule forbidding the mention of genitalia is being used against some bloggers on one thread but is not being applied against other bloggers on other threads highlights the very arbitrary and punitive nature of the reprimands. It highlights the fact that the reprimands are being used to push an agenda.

    Once again, I apologize for any offense to you. I simply want to see fairness and open discourse on this blog.

  • Grant

    Moot point, PJ. Royal Palms is an American business. Sandals resorts are not.

  • Have you tried staying at any of the Sandals’ resorts?

  • TonyA_says

    I’m trying to imagine myself in Ft. Lauderdale surrounded by gay-friendly resorts. If I worked in one of those hotels, and I was gay, I would probably only know the gay hotels. I could care less about the straight hotels. Is that too hard to understand?

    You know even here in NYC where we have many gays, the first gay hotel was opened only last year.

    To be politically correct, here is how they described their establishment:

    THE OUT NYC is New York City’s
    first “straight-friendly” urban resort, serving as a travel and entertainment destination for locals and visitors alike.

    Ft. Lauderdale gay resort scene seems to be a lot more developed (or wilder) than NYC’s. Maybe they don’t care to be politically correct at all. Just don’t go there if you’re straight because they won’t bother to walk you to a straight hotel.

    Earlier I gave the example about Susukino (Sapporo Red Light District) bars not allowing us to enter because they were for Japanese only. They never told us where to go. Just stay out. Same thing happened here except this hotel is in Ft. Lauderdale. Am I surprised? NO. Some establishments have their exclusive target markets and if you do not fit, sorry. That’s life.

  • Grant

    Royal Palms is an American business. Sandals resorts are not.

  • TonyA_says

    What’s the penalty for violating FL’s Innkeeper Statutes? $500.
    That’s the room rate for 2 nights.
    Go ahead and complain. The resorts are full with guests who will donate money to pay the fine.

  • technomage1

    I live in a tourist area with a lot of bars. I only go to one which suits my taste for a sedate atmosphere and imported beer, but I know where the gay, biker, party, tourist or cop ones are. And if anyone came into my favorite establishment and asked around for a bar that fit any of those categories, pretty much anyone could help them.

    Just because someone has a particular interest or trait doesn’t blind them to the world around them. I find it hard to believe the hotel staff wouldn’t know about other properties, if only to tell their client market which ones aren’t gay friendly (and I’m willing to bet there are some, sadly enough).

  • TonyA_says

    I would not be surprised if their gay employees are in their own little world. You and I might not like their service but they could not care less.
    Here’s another article I found:

    Disgusting? Sure. Illegal? Sure. Can you stop it from happening again? Probably not. Lesson learned – make sure you pick a straight hotel if you are straight.

  • y_p_w


    My reading of the law is that remedies could still be sought under Florida Statutes 760.11, which allow for civil remedies in the form of compensatory damages of up to $100,000 in addition to attorney’s fees.

    I’m thinking 760.08 is the relevant law:


    760.07 Remedies for unlawful discrimination.—Any
    violation of any Florida statute making unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in the areas of education, employment, housing, or public accommodations gives rise to a cause of action for all relief and damages described in s. 760.11(5), unless greater damages are expressly provided for. If the statute prohibiting unlawful discrimination provides an administrative remedy, the action for equitable relief and damages provided for in this section may be initiated only after the plaintiff has exhausted his or her administrative remedy. The term “public accommodations” does not include lodge halls or other similar facilities of private organizations which are made available for public use occasionally or periodically. The right to trial by jury is preserved in any case in which the plaintiff is seeking actual or
    punitive damages.

    760.08 Discrimination in places of public accommodation.—All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this chapter, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion.

    760.11 Administrative and civil remedies; construction.—

    (5) In any civil action brought under this section, the court may issue an order prohibiting the discriminatory practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including back pay. The court may also award compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries, and punitive damages. The provisions of ss. 768.72 and 768.73
    do not apply to this section. The judgment for the total amount of
    punitive damages awarded under this section to an aggrieved person shall not exceed $100,000. In any action or proceeding under this subsection, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision for attorney’s fees be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal case law involving a Title VII action. The right to trial by jury is preserved in any such private right of action in which the aggrieved person is seeking compensatory or punitive damages, and any party may demand a trial by jury. The commission’s determination of reasonable cause is not admissible into evidence in any civil proceeding, including any hearing or trial, except to establish for the court the right to maintain the private right of action. A civil action brought under this section shall be commenced no later than 1 year after the date of determination of reasonable cause by the commission. The commencement of such action shall divest the commission of jurisdiction of the complaint, except that the commission may intervene in the civil action as a matter of right. Notwithstanding the above, the state and its agencies and subdivisions shall not be liable for punitive damages. The total amount of recovery against the state and its agencies and subdivisions shall not exceed the limitation as set forth in s. 768.28(5).”

  • y_p_w

    Apparently their policy goes beyond that. The policy is apparently only “gay men only”. For the most part I know lesbians to be extremely understanding of their gay male brethren, but this policy would seem to exclude all women.

  • TonyA_says

    You will need to prove first that their civil rights were violated.
    I bet that will be hard considering the defendants will be gays or a gay hotel (a protected class).
    Furthermore, all the gay hotels in Florida simply have to convert to clubs (by charging a small membership fee prior to renting a room). This was suggested above. Reason is this “loophole”:

    Nothing in ss. 760.20-760.37 prohibits a private club not in fact open to the public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provides lodgings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, from limiting the rental or occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members.

  • y_p_w

    Simply being in a “protected class” wouldn’t be enough. If it were, there could be establishments that classified themselves as “blacks only” or “Asians only”. I’d love to see what would happen if a soul food restaurant decided that it would institute a policy that it wouldn’t serve white customers.

    Becoming a “club” would also be a difficult standard to meet. It’s obvious the law is meant to apply to places such as country clubs or city clubs that have a small amount of rooms set aside as lodging. I couldn’t imagine a place would really want to try it unless it insisted on becoming a non-profit. The IRS might also have an issue with it if it appears to be operating primarily as a hotel. The other issue is that this hotel is getting bookings through an online travel agency. That would suggest to most that they’re operating as a business open to the public. Now if they only allowed booking through a secured website requiring a preexisiting membership, then they might have an out. I suspect they don’t want to go that route because the OTAs are a big source of their bookings.

    Even then, Florida law has certain protections for people in their dealings with “private clubs”.

  • KaraJones

    C’mon Tony. Hotel hospitality staff know what’s going on locally. Just because someone is gay and works in a gay hotel doesn’t mean he doesn’t have straight friends or family. If they’re running a good business (and it looks like a beautiful place), they have business sense and that includes being able to tell their guests where the rest of their family might want to stay. Their entire lives don’t revolve around being gay. Fort Lauderdale is not Key West or Provincetown where everything around them is gay run and frequented. Most everything else in Ft. Lauderdale is straight.

  • Alex

    Although it’s not easy, it might be helpful to try to view this situation from another person’s shoes. Our society is fiercely heteronormative. That’s a $10 word that simply means that being heterosexual is normal and anything else is not.

    For work, I’m an independent contractor. Every day, I find myself working closely with people I literally have just met. I’m also gay. That means that every day I try to guess how people will react if I answer honestly when small talk ensues. Straight folks wouldn’t think twice about answering this question: “Are you married?” For the lesbian and gay community, answering that question becomes a political act.

    While things are getting better for people like me, the fight is far from over. In 29 states, it’s 100% legal to fire someone solely because she or he is gay. Since I live in one of those states, I usually avoid telling anyone with which I work that I am gay.

    Constantly denying who you are out of fear of discrimination is how many gay and lesbian people live.

    So, places like gay bars and gay guest houses/hotels are safe places where being gay is normal. Situations like the one described here make most gay and lesbian people uncomfortable. It’s walking the fine line between creating places where small talk isn’t political and doing the very thing (discrimination) that we are trying to escape by going to that place.

  • TonyA_says

    Hail to the cruel majority!
    The reason why gays need to segregate themselves is because they were/are persecuted by heterosexuals. Many heterosexuals don’t like what gays do. If gays did their pool parties in a straight hotel, someone might call the police and have them arrested. So in order for them to enjoy the same liberties as heterosexuals, they needed their own resort hotels.

    Now we heterosexuals want to go to their hotels? For what? There are so many other straight hotels. We are not being deprived of anything by not being allowed to stay in gay hotels. Oh, do we want more and more heterosexuals to stay in gay hotels so we can drive them out of their own hotels.
    Some discrimination is good. If discrimination protects the rights of minorities to enjoy life like the majority does, then it’s good. I suppose many laws were made by heterosexuals who didn’t care much for gays. Don’t expect gays to like those laws. They can always be changed.

  • y_p_w

    I live in an area where is generally accepted that there are gay people everywhere. I don’t know of any business (even self-described gay bars) that would deny service to someone based on being straight or being female. They’d probably be in line for a pretty nice lawsuit were they to even try.

    However, the subject of this piece is a place that simply wouldn’t allow a guest simply on the basis that she was a woman.

  • y_p_w

    Anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual preference were meant to help those who are gay. However, it also works both ways. In California this would be a clear violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

    The authorities in the field do permit a proprietor to deny service to a person guilty of conduct unduly offensive to other patrons. But, as pointed out inMarina Point, Ltd. v. Wolfson, supra, 30 Cal. 3d 721, 725: “As our prior decisions teach, the Unruh Act preserves the traditional broad authority of owners and proprietors of business establishments to adopt reasonable rules regulating the conduct of patrons or tenants; it imposes no inhibitions on an owner’s right to exclude any individual who violates such rules. Under the act, however, an individual who has committed no such misconduct cannot be excluded solely because he falls within a class of persons whom the owner believes is more likely to engage in misconduct than some other group. Whether the exclusionary policy rests on the alleged undesirable propensities of those of a particular race, nationality, occupation, political affiliation, or age, in this context the Unruh Act protects individuals from such arbitrary discrimination.”

    So what does this mean? It means that someone walking through the door hasn’t done anything simply on the basis of being female in (let’s say) an establishment that openly caters to gay men. They wouldn’t be able to assume that a woman is there to cause trouble. My reading of the Florida laws is actually pretty similar. They say that specific behaviors or attributes unrelated to being in a specific protected class can be used to deny service, but imply that being in the protected class can’t be used as an assumption that such behavior will be likely.

  • TonyA_says

    If it was so easy to walk them to a non-gay hotel, then why didn’t the hotel do it? If it was SOP, why didn’t they do it? So there is something else here. This story does not fit the mold of a typical travel problem. If the hotel wanted the OP’s folks money, they could have walked them to a cheap hotel. That’s what most hotels do. But they did not charge money and said bye. The resort does not want to deal with non-gay men or women. That’s why. That’s not their clientele. They don’t care. If it was another gay man who needed a room, they probably would have walked him to another gay hotel. Note that these are all boutique resorts that are not franchised with a chain or national brand. I don’t even expect them to behave and act like a “typical” hotel. Just one look at their website (especially the image gallery) tells me there is nothing typical.

  • TonyA_says

    Let’s stick to FL law. CA has nothing to do with it.
    Now bear in mind, they kicked out both a man and woman.
    So you could not say they discriminated against BOTH genders, can you? What the hotel did was discriminate based on sexual orientation or “gayness”. That’s not in violation of the FL Civil Rights Act you posted above.

  • KaraJones

    Well, it’s late and I keep thinking about that “sex out under the stars” comment…but I live in the city and we can only see about 3 stars – so it would be more like sex out under 27 high-rise apartment buildings. It just lost all its appeal.

  • Guest

    “Let’s stick to FL law. CA has nothing to do with it.”
    That’s so funny coming from the guy who likes to bring in examples for other countries.

  • y_p_w

    How do they know? Suppose two straight men decide to share a room together and they show up at registration together. Would they be grilled about how gay they are?

    Heck – what if the husband in this case registered by himself with his wife waiting in the car. Heck – I’ve done that before at many hotels.

    Even then, they way the law is written would seem to be broad enough to make this kind of discrimination illegal. Suppose it was two lesbian women who showed up and were denied accommodations? Is that the wrong kind of gayness?

  • y_p_w

    Apparently Sandals changed their policy on same-sex couples almost a decade ago.


    Sandals, which operates 12 couples-only resorts on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua and the Bahamas, has ended a policy, in effect since 1981, that excluded same-sex couples. In August, the company, which had recently been under attack by gay-rights advocates because of that policy, quietly lifted the restriction.”

  • MarkieA

    I think it might be that the gay community has long fought against discrimination based on sexual preference, and here this place is doing exactly that.

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