Gay Hotel Owners Who Hosted Ted Cruz Event Face Backlash From Activists

Two gay hoteliers, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, who invited Ted Cruz to their Manhattan duplex, are facing a political backlash from LGBT activists for hosting the controversial Texas Senator at their home.

Although Cruz was invited primarily to speak about his support for the Israeli government, he also briefly touched on LGBT issues, taking a softer tone than he usually puts out during his stump speeches in Middle America. While he maintained his opposition to gay marriage, Cruz also stated that he wouldn’t love his daughters any less if it turned out they were gay.

Activists are promoting a boycott of Out NYC, a hotel that Reisner and Weiderpass set up that caters to gay patrons. Activists are also calling for a boycott of a property that Reisner owns in the Fire Island Pines resort community off of Long Island.

A rally and protest are scheduled for Monday April 27th at 6:00 PM Eastern Time. Marchers plan to demonstrate in support of same-sex marriage, with the rally concluding at the Out NYC hotel. Resiner and Weiderpass have been working feverishly to stem the political fallout from hosting the event with Ted Cruz on April 20th.

The two men attempted to defend their decision to host Cruz, in the Friday edition of The New York Times. Both men drew attention to their efforts to support the gay community on key issues, and they tried to rationalize their meeting with Cruz as a way of opening dialogue to people they disagree with.

Reisner stated:

I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on where he stood on all issues, foreign and domestic. It was just three months ago that I hosted a ‘Ready for Hillary’ event for a record turnout of 900 people at the Out Hotel.

Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn’t changed and will not change.

Weiderpass struck a similar tone, stating:

People on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree. I worked tirelessly for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as a member of the board of directors for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and needed to reach across the aisle to make that happen. The fact that Senator Cruz accepted the invitation to my home was a step in the right direction toward him having a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in.

While the two men have every legal right to invite Ted Cruz into their home and to tacitly promote his presidential candidacy, consumers also have the right to boycott businesses run by the two men. Americans who support LGBT equality have every reason to spend their dollars in places run by people who do not condone Ted Cruz’s anti-gay bigotry.

While there is no doubt that Reisner and Weiderpass have done things to support LGBT equality, inviting Ted Cruz into their homes to publicly give credence to his presidential campaign sends the wrong message. Supporters of equality cannot merely shrug their shoulders at politicians who stand for bigotry, they must actively oppose them.

Ted Cruz’s anti-gay positions are indefensible, and his candidacy should be thoroughly rejected by any American who believes in equality. Allowing Senator Cruz the opportunity to publicly use gay Americans as a convenient photo opportunity to soften his appearance of bigotry, isn’t the same thing as having a private conversation with someone who you disagree with in order to build a foundation of dialogue and empathy. Reisner and Weiderpass gave Ted Cruz a nice photo-op. Now let them deal with the political fallout created by that foolish decision.

View Comments

  • Come on people. It's open dialogue for goodness sakes.
    How are issues ever to be settled if one side's view is
    not heard? And yes, I realize we're dealing with Ted Cruz,
    but give the fool enough rope to hang himself. He's a joke and doesn't even know it.

    • An open dialogue with campaign contributions required to talk. If anyone thinks for one second that Cruz would have appeared at any event that wasn't a fundraiser, they are fools of epic proportion. Perhaps I can interest them in some oceanfront property I have in Topeka Kansas. Reisner was not a host for the Hillary event. It as simply held at his hotel and he charged them for the privilege. He wasn't listed as one of the hosts on the programs. And Weiderpass recently arranged a fundraiser for Senator Ron Johnson -- an anti-gay senator from Wisconsin. No, this wasn't a fireside chat. This is showing that they support people who actively work to hurt our community.

    • This way when the war finally breaks out, we can say" Martin Luther Met With George Wallace, Reisner Met with Cruz, we are done with meetings!
      They won't be able to whine that we are being unreasonable!

    • We've heard Ted's views on Gay Marriage and Gays in general. He is homophobic. He is a crackpot. He's in this "race" to make money. He will get donations and then drop out after it's apparent he has no chance at the nomination, then he will "donate" the remaining funds to a "Foundation" he creates. Ted Cruz is a fringe candidate and a snake oil salesman. We've heard his views, there is nothing else we need to hear from him.

    • Ted Cruz is a deeply closeted gay man, isn't he? I may be wrong but that extreme level of anti-gay seems to come from self loathing. If he wasn't so hatefully smug and creepy I would feel sorry for him.

  • "His daughters?" Didn't he run a creepy ad during the Super bowl featuring himself, his wife, and a blond boy and girl praying at the dinner table?

  • You cannot have an open meaningful dialog with a zealot. Cruz will, as will all politicians, appear to listen, grunt a few words that sound like empathy, then walk out the door laughing.

    Don't kid yourself. Cruz is a Dominionist. If his daughter even showed the least tendency of being a lesbian, he would have her in front of his church's priests, undergoing an exorcism faster than a NY second.

    If these guys hadn't studied Cruz and his platform before inviting him into their home for a big photo op, they deserve all the backlash they get.

  • For goodness sake, if we are ever going to move forward in this country then we've got to be able to TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES WITH EVERYONE.

    You should be able to sit down with Cruz and talk to him about his positions; you should be able to sit down with Clinton and talk about her positions; same with all the candidates.

    Why can't we do that without facing some sort of backlash? It's TALKING. It's a DIALOGUE.

    Without speaking TO one another, then we're just going to be spinning our wheels from now until kingdom come. We'll just stay divided and that division will get worse and nothing will change.

  • We hardly have to be "activists" to be pissed about this. Cruz is one of the most rabidly anti-gay politicians around. The fact that money we have spent at a gay-friendly establishment is being funneled to this douchebag is enough reason for any LGBT person to be calling for these jerks to be held accountable.

  • Why is everybody failing to read between the lines? You are missing the point. This meeting was never about the gay millionaires trying to dialogue with Cruz about gay rights. It was about gay Jewish sellouts providing Cruz Jewish money to dialogue about what Cruz will do for Israel. Both sides sold out big time.

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