Southern Baptist Conv. to boycott HoJo hotels

ST. LOUIS -- The Southern Baptist Convention is urging its members to boycott Howard Johnson hotels during its annual meeting in St. Louis June 11 and 12 because one of the brand's hotels plans to host a three-day "Beat Me in St. Louis" seminar April 26 to 28 sponsored by the St. Louis Leather & Lace.

The group, which endorses "free expression of alternative lifestyles and forms of loving," has scheduled its get-together at the Howard Johnson St. Louis Airport.

It was unclear how many Howard Johnson hotels might be affected by a boycott, but the Baptist Convention was expected to reserve 4,000 hotel rooms citywide during its two-day meeting.

A spokesman for Cendant Corp., which franchises Howard Johnson, said: "We [Cendant] do not dictate to our hotels who they do business with as long as they are in compliance with local, state and federal laws, as well as our franchise agreements."

"We would no more take action against this franchisee as we would take action against a franchisee who decided to host a religious organization whose views may not be popular," the spokesman added.


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