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More Prop 8 Supporters, Political Churches, & Notes on the Equality Boycott

Same Sex Couple with Child

The Human Rights Campaign has a list of many California businesses that gave money to support to Proposition 8 campaign. Outraged, betrayed, offended, and legally diminished GLBT citizens and their allies across the country are fighting back against the absence of equality in the US for all by refusing to spend their dollars with companies that helped bankroll an anti-American move to take rights away from people. Firms on this list are part of the target pool, which includes other companies and numerous bigoted churches.

Speaking of which, I checked out the Californians Against Hate site, which features its Dishonor Roll of Prop 8 backers. The biggest evil-doers on the CAH list are those among its top 12 — the biggest donors to the anti-equality campaign:

  • Knights of Columbus, New Haven, CT: $1,425,000
  • Howard Ahmanson, Jr., Irvine, CA - Fieldstead & Co.: $1,395,000
  • John Templeton, Bryn Mawr, PA - John Templeton Fdn., Chair/Pres.: $1,100,000
  • National Organization for Marriage, Princeton, NJ: $1,041,134.80
  • Terry Caster & Family, San Diego, CA - A-1 Self Storage: $693,000
  • Robert Hurtt, Orange, CA: $550,000
  • Focus On the Family, Colorado Springs, CO: $539,643.66
  • American Family Association, Tupelo, MS: $500,000
  • Claire Reiss, La Jolla, CA - Reisung Enterprises: $500,000
  • Elsa Prince, Holland, MI: $450,000
  • Concerned Women for America, Washington DC: $409,000
  • Hartford Holdings, LLC., Provo, UT: $300,000

CAH is also pushing boycott efforts against Manchester Hotels, Hoehn Motors, Cinemark Theaters, and A-1 Self Storage. And here is an interesting aside: Many of the people on its Dishonor Roll are former students of Mormon college Brigham Young University. With that in mind, CAH is turning its sights to include the Mormon Church:

Fred Karger, Founder of Californians Against Hate today filed a Sworn Complaint with the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). In the complaint he accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) of not reporting numerous non monetary contributions to – Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal I.D. # 1302592.

Karger contends that The Mormon Church organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho, sent direct mail to voters, transported people to California over several weekends, used the LDS Press Office to send out News Releases to promote their activities, walked precincts, ran a speakers bureau, distributed thousands of lawn signs and other campaign material, organized a "surge to election day," had Church leaders travel to California, set up very elaborate web sites, produced at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts and conducted at least 2 satellite simulcasts over 5 Western states. All of these actions were geared toward nonmembers.

In addition to the formal FPPC complaint, a letter was also sent today to FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff expanding on the complaint.

In the letter, Karger stated that 2 other organizations that were also involved in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, reported substantial non monetary contributions to The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) of Princeton, New Jersey reported $210,634,75 and James Dobson's Focus on the Family of Colorado Springs, Colorado reported $83,790.00.

If ever there were an institution that needed to be boycotted…

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The question of whether to boycott can be a tricky one. Is it immoral to choose not to buy from particular businesses or faith groups? I think not. You get the option of spending your hard-earned money where you will. You have that right, and remember, the right-wing boycotts all the time.

Personally, I don't wish to give my cash to an entity that will use a portion of it, however small, to fund my own legal dehumanization or that of others. That would make me complicit in subsidizing my own second-class citizenship (and so would paying taxes, but that's another story). In fact, shopping an anti-equality firm would show the height of self-loathing, and that's immoral for sure.

Another concern exists regarding boycotts: Does one refuse to patronize a company if an employee donated to support Prop 8? That depends on you. In most cases, I would say no. The exceptions would be when the employee is a major decision maker within the business or when an overwhelming majority of the employees support legalized bigotry; in those cases, I'd say boycott away.

Also, some businesses have the means to cloak their donations without leaving a findable paper trail. In those instances, I suggest going with one's gut — you have no ethical duty to patronize any business — and making use of available evidence. For example, if you find no paper trail linking a big business to Prop 8, but do discover a long trail of right-wing political donations by that firm, whether it voted for Prop 8 or not, you shouldn't give that company your cash. Be sure to do your homework — ethical boycotting requires it.

As always, let fairness and truth be your guide, especially because it isn't our opponents'. And remember: the choice of whether to boycott and whom to target is an individual one. Numerous groups and activists have many helpful suggestions you are free to use, but don't let me or HRC or any group tell you how to spend your money.


Natalie Davis

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