Prominent NYC Hotel Owners Ignited a Dialogue with Senator Ted Cruz about Gay Rights and Reiterated Their Support of Marriage Equality

Apr 24, 2015, 15:48 ET from Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass

NEW YORK, April 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Two prominent gay NYC hoteliers Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass have come out with a strong statement following their meeting with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas this week and in the wake of his latest legislation to try and stop gay marriage today.  Reisner and Weiderpass who own The OUT Hotel in NYC have reiterated their unwavering support of gay rights, gay marriage and equality for all.  The two Manhattan business leaders support public debate and have been active in the gay equal rights movement and gay social issues for the last two decades. No topic was left off the table during their meeting with Senator Cruz, including his opinions on gay marriage, protection for the state of Israel and national security. Although the Senator said that he and his wife would "love their daughter unconditionally even if she admitted being gay" he did not alter what they feel is an unconstitutional opinion on gay marriage, which was where they vehemently disagreed on this important social issue.

Ian Reisner released the following statement after the meeting, "For my entire adult life, I have been an ardent supporter and activist for gay rights and LGBT organizations worldwide. I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on why he should rethink his view on gay marriage. We also spoke about where he stood on issues including the state of Israel and national security, which are the only places where we share common ground. My support for Hillary Clinton remains steadfast and my meeting with Senator Cruz was a chance to engage head-on with Hillary's opposition. It was just 3 months ago that I hosted a "Ready for Hillary" event for 900 people at my hotel The OUT NYC.  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 the political system that this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide has not and will not change; on the contrary I reaffirm my commitment to gay rights by not shying away from engaging with anyone opposed to us."

"Mati and I have donated $200,000 to The Stonewall Foundation, which supports many important gay charities. It is well known that we've sponsored and hosted dozens of events at The OUT Hotel and at our home for LGBT charities and gay politicians. We have been passionate gay advocates for almost three decades. We have supported OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for years, LifeBall Vienna, Victory Fund, ESPA, The LGBT Center, The Trevor Project, GLAAD, GLSEN, Hetrick Martin and more.  We have contributed financially to the DNC and the campaigns of many gay politicians including most recently Congressman Sean Maloney. We've held fundraisers for gay politicians at our home for Christine Quinn and Brian Elner, who became a gay marriage champion.

Mati Weiderpass continued, "Our records make it clear that we support gay marriage 100%. I have been a major supporter of gay causes and gay charities for two decades. People on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree. As a Captain in the Army, I worked tirelessly for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  While serving on the Board of Directors for the Service members Legal Defense Network, I needed to reach across the aisle to make that happen. The fact that Senator Cruz came to a gay household was a surprise and a step in the right direction towards him having a better understanding of why he should rethink his stance on the gay marriage.  We spent most of the time talking about national security issues and in particular the challenges regarding the defense of Israel to ISIS and Iran -- these are the only issues where we found common ground. However, I did not shy away from engaging the Senator about social issues, in particular gay marriage."

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SOURCE Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass