A five-star hotel in Singapore has apologized after telling a lesbian couple that they couldn’t hold their wedding ceremony on the premises.
The couple inquired about hosting their wedding celebration at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering, but had their request summarily rejected by an employee.
“I am sorry to inform you that the hotel does not allow same-sex couples to have wedding ceremony and celebration due to the regulation,” the email said, referring to the country’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages.
The couple shared a screenshot of the exchange on Prout, a popular LGBTQ app in Singapore. The screenshot was then shared on Prout’s Instagram account last week, and went viral.
“We received a screenshot of an exchange between a lesbian couple and a 5-star hotel that neighbours (sic) Hong Lim Park that would disappoint many of us in the LGBTQ+ community. The email showed a response from the hotel that claims that they will not host a same-sex wedding* because of regulations,” Prout wrote in its post.
Prout acknowledged, in an aside: “While we understand that same-sex marriage is not recognised (sic) in Singapore, it is not illegal to have a same-sex wedding in Singapore.”
The post continued: “This is particularly disappointing as many within our LGBTQ community regularly book out the hotel rooms at this particular hotel with vertical greenery, and the hotel clearly has no issue CAPITALISING (sic) on the annual pride event held at Hong Lim Park, with Pink Dot goers booking out their rooms or their pink dollar,” the post read, referring to an annual LGBTQ Pride rally that is held next door to the hotel.
“This serves as a PAINFUL reminder that there are many businesses that may claim to be inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community but may not actually do so in their everyday practice. On Google, the hotel is listed as a LGBTQ+ friendly destination,” the post concluded.
The post gained more than 2,000 likes and hundreds of comments, most of which expressed anger at the hotel for discriminating against the couple.
That said, there are no anti-discrimination laws in Singapore that prevent establishments from discriminating based on sexual orientation, or compel private establishments to serve same-sex couples, meaning it’s up to individual establishments to set their own policies.
Soon after the Prout post went viral, the hotel issued an apology to the couple in an Instagram post, with a big image bearing the words: “We are sorry.”
“Thank you for your patience as we seek to understand this unfortunate mistake and misinformation from one of our team members at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering,” the post reads. “We are an inclusive hotel, and we are truly sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this may have caused. We have since reached out to the couple and will do our best to assist them with their special occasion at our hotel.”
Phil Smith, the general manager for the Parkroyal Collection Pickering, told Singapore-based newspaper TODAY Online that the hotel would “like to extend its sincere apology again for causing this disappointment to both the couple and community as a whole.”
“When we were informed by our teams of this email, we immediately investigated the matter as it was not in keeping with the hotel’s position, which has been open to hosting all events from the LGBTQ community,” he said. “The associate who had replied [to the couple] had made a truly regrettable mistake, with a wrongful assumption of the law, and replied without checking on this with the department leader.”
Smith indicated that hotel management had spoken to the associate, who “feels very remorseful for this error and understands the upset it has caused for the couple, whose special day was impacted.” Smith also acknowledged the the hotel “could have done better to ensure our team’s understanding of the regulations and our ongoing commitment to inclusivity.”
Smith told TODAY Online that the hotel had reached out to the couple personally, but noted that the couple has decided to seek out another venue for their wedding.
The couple in question later acknowledged the hotel’s mea culpa in a statement, which was posted to Prout’s Instagram.
“We thank the Parkroyal Pickering for publicly and privately apologising to us,” the couple wrote. “We hope that other hotels will be inspired by the Parkroyal Pickering and reconsider their own policies and communications towards allowing same-sex couples to hold their celebrations there.”
The statement was signed “thelesbiancouplewhojustwanted2gethitched.”