Just last week, two gay businessmen hosted Ted Cruz for dinner and a “fireside chat.” Now, they’re seriously regretting extending the invitation. The two New York businessmen and gay rights advocates, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, received a torrent of backlash from the gay community for hosting Cruz, who is notoriously against same-sex marriage, prompting the duo to offer an official apology on Sunday night. Reisner and Weiderpass have both issued apologetic statements expressing remorse for the dinner. Bustle has reached out to the duo and to Cruz for additional comment.
In a statement sent to Bustle and posted on his Facebook, Reisner wrote a long apology for what he called “poor judgment” and deemed his decision to host Cruz a “terrible mistake.” According to Reisner, when he hosted Cruz he was not fully aware of his stances, as he had not taken “the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights.” Weiderpass, Reisner's business partner, also issued an apology that was both sent to Bustle and posted on Facebook, stating:
Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. You taught me a painful but important lesson. The people that know me know the work that I have done over the last 20 years for the advancement of gay rights. Today, I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week.
After the duo hosted Cruz last weekend, a Facebook page that garnered the support of more than 8,700 called for the boycott of their properties. Reisner and Weiderpass own OUT NYC hotel and Fire Island Pines property, both of which are marketed as very gay-friendly.
AIDS fundraising nonprofit Broadway Cares announced that it was canceling an event slated to be held next month at one of the businessmen's nightclubs, 42West. According to The Daily Beast, the organization’s executive director, Tom Voila, wrote on his Facebook page about the cancellation:
I have never considered that all of our many supporters would ever vote monolithically. But when any politician publicly holds so many of us in contempt … we cannot be misunderstood as standing with him/her.
The fact that Reisner and Weiderpass say they were not fully aware of Cruz’s stances on same-sex marriage is surprising, because Cruz has been extremely vocal about his position. According to The New York Times, a representative for Cruz claims the presidential hopeful made his religious opposition to same-sex marriage clear during the dinner itself. And after all, Cruz wrote and introduced the 2014 “State Marriage Defense Act.” He makes the Human Rights Campaign's "Hall of Shame" list for his stances. In fact, Cruz’s stances on same-sex marriage are a far cry from something he tries to sweep under the rug. He recently wrote a letter to thousands of Christians inciting them to pray and to vote for him to preserve traditional marriage, according to The Daily Beast.
Regardless of what happened, Reisner and Weiderpass definitely seem to regret the dinner. But, as Reisner wrote in his statement, maybe we should pay more attention to the bigger issue. He wrote:
It’s time we unite as one community especially on the eve of tomorrow's Supreme Court decision. We don't want to do anything more that distracts all of us from the goal we all share ... Marriage Equality.
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