A brief look at one of Capital Pride’s top sponsors casts further doubt on their priorities and ability to represent and serve Washington, DC’s LGBTQ community.

2017 marks the third year in a row that Maryland Live! Casino has served as a top-tier “presidential sponsor” of Capital Pride. Live! Casino provides such a significant amount of funding to Capital Pride that this year’s Pride festival’s official name is the “Pride Festival Presented by Live! Casino.”

 

What you might not know about Live! Casino — but is publicly available information — is that the casino is a critical moneymaker for The Cordish Companies whose CEO and president, David Cordish, is a key ally of President Trump.

In a recent article in Financial Times, the relationship between David Cordish and Donald Trump is described as being “one of the key alliances in the president’s inner circle.”

It takes only a simple google search to uncover the close relationship between the Cordish and Trump families. Back in June of 2015 — early in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign — David Cordish introduced Donald Trump at an appearance at the Maryland GOP Dinner.

And in January of this year, David Cordish’s son Reed Cordish — who serves a Principal for the Cordish Companies — was appointed as an assistant to the president. According to the same Financial Times article published in April of this year, Reed Cordish has particularly close ties to the Trump family:

When David Cordish was looking to marry off his son, a Princeton-educated former professional tennis player, he turned to the president’s daughter Ivanka for help and she introduced Reed to a friend who became his wife. The family company of Ms Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, also took small stakes in two Cordish developments in Kansas City, Missouri.

 
Reed Cordish, right, with Ivanka Trump during a meeting at the White House in February © AFP

Not only is Reed Cordish a member of Trump’s cabinet, he’s also one of the richest members of the administration, with his assets valued at between $197.2 million and $424 million. According to a financial disclosure made in March of this year, “Mr Cordish reported annual income of between $48m and $55m — the biggest chunk of it, $25m, from his interest in the Cordish family’s Maryland Live! Casino, about an hour’s drive from the White House.”

In his role as assistant to the president, Reed Cordish will also serve in the Office For American Innovation, which the administration says will overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector — a mission many fear could result in cutting or eliminating critical government programs.

What, exactly, makes Live! Casino a suitable sponsor for Capital Pride?

As a sponsor of Capital Pride, Live! Casino gets unfettered access to our community. Their name and logo is everywhere. By giving them the chance to slap their name on our events, we allow them to paint themselves as an ally of the LGBT community.

 

All the while, Live! Casino’s owners, the Cordish family, continues to play a role in an Administration that attacks the most vulnerable members of our community.

Even if we set aside the Trump connection, do we really want to give a corporation run by billionaire real-estate developers the chance to be celebrated alongside our community’s actual heroes? What does this say about our priorities? What does it say about Capital Pride’s willingness to stand up against those who harm us?

It’s worth wondering whether Capital Pride’s ties to entities like the Cordish Companies play a role in maintaining Pride as an apolitical, whitewashed event. Does Capital Pride’s reliance on conservative sponsors keep it from embracing the more progressive demands of DC’s LGBTQ community?

From the Cordish Family, to weapon manufacturers, to Wells Fargo, the Metro Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and many more, Capital Pride regularly demonstrates that it has virtually no standards of any kind when it comes to accepting money and partnerships.

We’re all for events that are open and accessible to all, but giving members of the Trump administration and their businesses good publicity — and giving the same publicity to entities that harm LGBTQ individuals — is not a good look. Capital Pride must do better.


No Justice No Pride is a collective initially formed out of ResistThis, which has expanded to include organizers and activists from across the District of Columbia. We exist to end the LGBT movement’s collusion with systems of oppression that further marginalize queer and trans individuals.

Join the resistance at: www.nojusticenopride.com

www.resistthis.org