Singapore hotel says staff made ‘wrong assumption of the law’ in rejecting same-sex couple’s wedding ceremony

A view of the Parkroyal Collection Pickering hotel, which is a short walk from Chinatown. — Image courtesy of Parkroyal Collection/Facebook via TODAY

Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:37 AM MYT

SINGAPORE, June 23 – A member of staff at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering hotel had made an “erroneous assumption of the law” and it led to the hotel initially refusing to host the wedding ceremony of a lesbian couple, a hotel representative said, giving more details about the incident.

Details of the incident first emerged Monday (June 20) on the Instagram account @proutapp, which shared an email apparently sent by the hotel to the couple informing them that they would not be able to hold their wedding there. ‘hotel.

The email read, “I’m sorry to inform you that the hotel does not allow same-sex couples to hold a wedding ceremony and celebration due to regulations.”

The post had attracted more than 2,000 likes and hundreds of comments, most of them expressing anger at the hotel for discriminating against the couple.

Answer questions from TODAYParkroyal Collection Pickering general manager Phil Smith said the hotel “would again like to sincerely apologize for causing this disappointment to both the couple and the community at large”.

“When we were informed by our teams of this email, we immediately investigated the matter as it was not in line with the position of the hotel, which has shown itself to be open to welcoming all LGBTQ community events,” he said.

The hotel is located next to Hong Lim Park, the site of the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Homosexual (LGBTQ) gathering. pink dot. TODAY understands that the hotel received the request on June 19, a day after the rally was held.

“We found that the responding associate made a truly regrettable mistake, with the wrong presumption of the law, and responded without checking that with the head of the department,” Smith said.

The hotel management had spoken to the associate about the error.

“The associate is very remorseful for this mistake and understands the upheaval it has caused the couple, whose special day has been impacted.”

Smith also said the hotel “could have done better to ensure our team’s understanding of the regulations and our continued commitment to inclusivity.”

The hotel contacted the couple on Tuesday “to apologize to them and see if we could help them with their request,” he added.

“We note that they have accepted our apology… however, (they) have refused to hold the event with us now, which is very understandable.”

In an Instagram post Tuesday from the same @proutapp account, a message that appears to be from the couple confirmed that the ceremony will not take place at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering, but that the couple had accepted the hotel’s apology.

“We hope that other hotels will take inspiration from Parkroyal Pickering and reconsider their own policies and communications to allow same-sex couples to hold their celebrations there,” the message reads.

Where are the laws

Lawyers approached by TODAY confirmed that the hotel would not have broken any law if it had refused to allow the couple to hold their wedding ceremony there, and that this decision falls within the policy of the hotel.

Suang Wijaya of law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, who is a criminal and commercial litigation lawyer, said: “To my knowledge, there is currently no law in Singapore that prohibits a private establishment – such as a hotel – to engage in discriminatory acts against the LGBTQ community.

Nor is it possible for a couple in Singapore to “legally compel a private establishment to serve them”, he added.

This is not the case in other countries like the UK, where there is a law that requires private institutions not to discriminate in their provision of services.

Civil litigation lawyer Trent Ng said it is legal for a same-sex couple to hold a private celebration such as a wedding ceremony in Singapore.

“However, these unions would not be registrable marriages by the Marriage Registry under the Women’s Charter,” Ng added.

Most hotels, the association silent on the issue

TODAY contacted hotels across Singapore, asking about their policies regarding holding same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Among the hotels and hotel companies that did not respond to questions were Furama Hotels International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Singapore and Accor Hotels.

TODAY also attempted to contact the Singapore Hotel Association about this and also received no response.

A hotel group that responded to TODAYQueries from Millennium Hotels and Resorts, which said its hotels have “hosted a myriad of wedding receptions.”

“Our wedding planners are happy to accommodate married couples as long as they stay within legal limits.”

The hotel group, however, did not directly address the question of whether it was possible to organize a wedding ceremony of a same-sex couple in its hotels. – TODAY

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