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No room at the inn for too-young Bakersfield honeymooners

Young_couple It was to be the perfect end to a perfect day. Hillary and Jason Martin had just gotten married. They arrived at Bakersfield's swank Padre Hotel -- the bride in her wedding dress, the groom in Marine Corps dress blues.

Martin2(2) They were 18 and in love.

They were 18 and out of luck.

The high school sweethearts and parents of twin 9-month-old boys were old enough to marry. Jason Martin, on leave after completing boot camp, was old enough to join the Marines. The Padre Hotel's age policy, however, required them to be at least 21 to rent a room.

"I was so upset," Hillary Martin said. "I planned the wedding, so I felt this was my fault. It was all just falling apart. In the car, I just broke down. I thought, 'Here I am looking for a place to stay on my honeymoon.'"

The Nov. 12 case of cubiculum interruptus found its way to the local media thanks to an angry cousin of Hillary's. The hotel's manager explained to a television reporter that employees were simply following a longstanding policy for which no exceptions are made.

And just like that, the hotel -- a newly renovated Bakersfield landmark where the "Oil Baron Suite" will set you back $649 tonight -- found itself with a sticky public relations problem.

"This is an outrage!" a reader posted on the Bakersfield Californian's website. "If a person can sign up to fight and possibly die for his country then he should be able to stay at any hotel he wants to."

On Thursday, Brett Miller, a co-owner of the Padre Hotel, apologized to Hillary Martin.

"He was very sincere," she said.

Miller explained the hotel's policy is intended to prevent underage drinking and partying. He offered the Martins a room and dinner -- on him.

"An exception should have been made. If you show up in a military uniform and a wedding gown -- sure, we'll give you a room," Miller said in an interview. "When I found out all the facts, I was sick to my stomach. This should have never happened."

While the Martins will never get their perfect wedding night back, they will at least have a story to tell their grandchildren.

After leaving the Padre Hotel, they drove around Bakersfield for a bit, looking for a room before settling in at a Doubletree hotel.

"They had a military discount," Hillary said. "They were very sweet. We even got a free breakfast."

-- Mike Anton

Photo: Hillary Martin holds her twin 9-month-old boys, Kaine, left, and Beau in front of the Padre Hotel in donwtown Bakersfield. Martin and her newlywed husband, Jason, who was wearing his U.S. Marine Corps dress blues, were unable to rent a room on their wedding night because the 18-year-olds are younger than the Padre's age policy. Credit: Michael Fagans / The Californian / Family handout

Comments () | Archives (91)

This is a perfect example of grown-ups not utilizing good judgment. How could they turn away this beautiful couple. Far too many times, there are many people in change that can't handle leadership position, the use the moment to just tell people no, instead of thinking and rising to the occasion. I'm glad things worked out for the Martin family and God Bless them.

Then we should let them do anything now that they are 18. Laws are laws and rules are rules. Life is tough kids. You went the marriage route for the pregnancy, so here you go. I hope he makes it back and has a skill and not just infantry. I am behind the Hotel 100% since the couple hastily put this wedding together. I have been doing weddings for 26 years and know that if there is any question you handle it before you walk in. A little thought ahead of time and nothing goes wrong. That's how life works. The employees did what they were told, so good for them. That's called following orders and he will figure that out in the Corps. That garbage about "old enough to die for your country" is worn out and you know it. Imagine all 18 year olds drunk and high LEGALLY. Scary.

ok. so...
planned a wedding. knew the date. planned ahead (marine boot camp = 13 weeks).

hotel has clearly stated policy.

they show up and are turned away. she admits she didnt check the policy.

im sorry but i see no problem here. this would happen to anyone ... uniform, wedding dress or not. i see no reason why the uniform or wedding dress should grant special privileges. what if they had not gone straight from the wedding? what if they had instead gone to the airport, flew to hawaii and walk up to the front desk of a hotel with the same policy but in their plan clothes? they would still be a serviceman and blushing new bride. they still could be turned away because it is the policy of the hotel.

now sure. having said all of that, i would make an exception. but ive been in similiar situations with similiar employers who would, if i made an exception against a rule, terminate my employment immediately. working in a retail store which observes esrb ratings restrictions. this is completely voluntary and a business reselling esrb rated material does not need to adhere to the rating restriction. there is no legal ramfication. however, due maintain appearances and company policy, if i were to not check an id for someone who is obviously over 18.... i could be fired.

the employees were doing their jobs, certainly they mustve felt sympathy but i hope they would feel sympathy for anyone they must turn down due to this rule.

boohoo, apparently not their 1st unplanned mistake.

Looks to me like they celebrated the honeymoon at least nine months BEFORE the wedding....

It would have looked better if you was celebrating your second anniversary with those 9 month old twins.

I thought that was why you checked IDs at the door of a bar, to keep underage out.
I wouldNotify everyone of the discrimination by the hotel and recommend that they stay elsewhere. Old zero tolerance rules the day, not common sense.

I approve my prior comment. No profainity was used, no racial slurs, and no PC content.

Nice attempt at damage-control by the co-owner.

Too bad it smells. It could have had as much to do with anti-military sentiment amongst the employees on duty as anything else. A person with a smidgen of common sense would have made an exception -- unless they hate the military, in which case the "policy" would have been mercilessly enforced.

Here's to a very short life-expectancy (and brutal bankruptcy) for The Padre. I'm sure this article has been forwarded to US Military and veterans worldwide for their perusal.



Too young to be married, eh? Enjoy trying to impose your bitter views on other people's lives?

Some people are quite capable of marrying young and having full, happy and productive lives. Just because it seems that you were incapable of that doesn't mean that other people should follow in your footsteps.

As to the one who commented on the age/drinking thing: I for one find it sad that one can sign up to die for one's country, but can't legally consume alcoholic beverages. What an asinine dichotomy. At least when I was in the Marines many years ago, 18-20 year olds could drink beer on-base in the E-club. Not anymore, though.

As for the recently retired, "highly decorated" Marine: where in the world would anyone, when making a hotel reservation, get the idea that it would be incumbent upon them to "inform" the hotel of their age? Do you suppose they are mind-readers, or what? Sounds to me like you were a career desk-jockey who was only obsessed with "the rules." Grunts like me absolutely hated people like you, because folks like you made it nearly impossible to complete missions without running afoul of asinine rules.

They are legally adults. End of story.

I think this is much ado about nothing. If the hotel has a policy that you must be 21, then don't hold it against them. It's their policy not discrimination. Discrimination would be permitting another 18 year old a room, but denying them this room because he's in the military, or white, etc. There is a reason for age limits on certain things, and just because someone can serve in the military, does not mean that they should be able to do anything else.

They're really stretching and trying to incite something with this news story (IMHO). He is a Marine (not a soldier) and most of us respect his willingness to serve. But a willingness to serve the country, does not mean that you should get special privileges over others - that could be viewed, by some, as discrimination. I'm sure many other 18 year old's have been denied rooms at hotels, in the past.

I know this will probably irk some people, but sometimes we need to apply the "logic filter" before we start getting all bent out of shape. And before the anger darts start flying, yes I am in the military and have served, proudly, now for 25 years. It's not about pride, just common sense.

The "the Martins will never get their perfect wedding night back"? Sorry, but that ship sailed a long time ago...they've got 9 mont old twins, for goodness sake! It's not as if their wedding night was an act intimacy with which they were unfamiliar prior to then. Call me horridly old-fashioned, but when a man and woman wait almost a year after having a child (or children, in this case), why do they go all out with the virgin-bride wedding gown and the whole anticipation-of-consummation thing? It's not like any of that applies to them anymore. I'm glad they got married, but such fanfare after the fact of having children is unseemly; a quiet legitimization of their union would have been more appropriate.

Why isn't it age discrimination to deny service in a public facility to people who are legally old enough to sign a contract? If there is a human rights commission for the city, is it going to investigate this?

Okay in all honesty, when did it become okay to openly denounce two young people for trying to do the right thing? She got pregnant, and whether or not they are in love or mentally stable or anything having to do with such regards, they decided to get married and attempt a normal, stable, loving environment for their children to grow up in. What gives some of you the right to decide for them that they aren't old enough to raise a family? Granted there are quite a few people out there who are not stable enough to adequately handle children at such an age; however, that still does not give someone who has no personal interaction with the two the right to decide that they aren't fit to be parents yet. Such a blanket statement is unwarranted, and quite frankly, rude beyond all belief.

I find it incredible how people turn a simple discussion board meant to be about the facts of the article into a personal forum where they feel it is their right to decide what is right and wrong in this world. The article is about an unfortunate experience OF a young couple, not about their situation AS a young couple with children. It's unbelievable to me how some people think themselves so much better than everyone else, but stoop so low as to take their opinions out on an honest, well-intentioned young couple who is trying to make a life for their family.

Do not misinterpret my post; I share no opinion on whether or not the hotel or the couple was in the wrong. I think that the greater wrong in this article are the pretentious people involved in this discussion board.

So why do they pretend to need a honeymoon? They already gave away their virginity and they even have kids! Your virginity is a GIFT to give to your spouse on your wedding night---let's do it right people----God knew what he was talking about.

For the detractors of these two being married at 18, and even calling it "2 lives down the drain," I beg to differ. My late husband and I were married at 18 after he was drafted during the Vietnam warwhere he was going so we were married before we had planned to be. We shared 43 wonderful years together, had three great sons and nine grandchildren when he passed away earlier this year.

BTW, he had a Master's in chemistry and worked for a large chem plant for 33 years; I have Master's in Education and taught school for 33 years.

Here's a tip for you--if you can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, you can be married, have children and go to college alllllll at the same time. All three of our children also have graduate degrees in their chosen professions; my middle son was married when he and his wife were 19 and both graduated college, had three children and have been married for 23 years; their oldest son is in college. Only in California are lives wasted when they have loving, stable relationships.

Bravo to this young couple and their cute little boys.

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