Thursday, July 10, 2014

Much like their facilities, Inne of the Abingtons’ views could use an update

Recently, a soon-to-be-bride inquired about having her wedding at the Inne of the Abingtons. Since it was a same-sex couple, the venue declined. Here's what happened next.

If you live in or around the Scranton area you may have noticed this image making its way around social media yesterday afternoon:



Since the image doesn’t show any signature or show the name of the business, it was only hearsay that this was sent by the establishment Inne of the Abingtons. At first I was skeptical to share on my Facebook wall for that very reason, but as the day went on and I checked the Facebook page of that business (now suspiciously deleted) I realized that more and more people were writing posts with no rebuttal from the business.

Because I work as a Public Relations professional and moderate a national company’s Facebook page, I understand the importance of communication upfront when the image of your company is being threatened. So, for this to be floating around the internet with no statement released from the actual company, I have to believe that this is their actual stance on gay marriage at their facility.
If it is not, they should be working overtime to respond to each and every post to insure people that this is a mistake. I noticed early this morning that they actually deleted their Facebook page, which is probably the worst thing they could have done. Now when you search their business, you’ll come to the reviews on Facebook, which are filled with people angry with the moral stance this company has. For example:




Please note, there have been zero responses from any person working for this company to address these matters. I also emailed them myself to see if this was true and received no response.
Now, aside from the clear public relation nightmare this is, there is also the business aspect. I understand that every business is entitled to their views and reserves the right to refuse service to anyone – but to openly throw away business in this economy is just brainless. Being that gay rights are on the top of the political agenda, they had to know that this would anger the general public.

Maybe they thought that since they wrote this in a private email they would be safe, but if that is the case they should probably step out of the 1950s – not only in their beliefs, but also because technology now allows us to share bigotry at rapid speeds. Inne at the Abingtons, please note: screen shots are a thing.
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the only in state in the NortheasternU.S. that lacks a statewide anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. So as unfortunate as it is that this facility feels the need to discriminate against the LGBT community in a way that is comparable to discrimination against the African American community in the past, there are no laws that make this illegal.

On the bright side of this unfortunate situation, it seems the rapid speed at which this image is being shared and angry reviews are being written shows that our generation has made leaps and bounds in embracing the equality of the LGBT community. I have always felt, personally, that this should not even be something we need to “embrace” – it should have just been a part of our culture from the very beginning. However, since it has not, it’s nice to see positive change is happening.

I don’t always love social media, but I do love it when it brings a community together to combat hate:

Please join me in showing the Inne of the Abingtons that this type of hate will not be tolerated in Northeastern, Pa. Write a letter, share this post, share the original picture, etc. I would show a little sympathy if they tried to issue a statement or talk with their target audience about the matter, but since they’ve stayed silent, it makes me think that their hate is more important to them than their customers.