Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

A One Man Boycott

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2009

One of our readers, Ben in Oakland, was solicited to do business with a company located in Utah. Still smarting from the interference of Utah Mormons in a California proposition in which members of the church contributed at least $20 million and 80-90% of all volunteers, Ben declined to do work with them, explaining as follows:

In the wake of Prop. 8, funded by the Mormon Church to enforce its theological beliefs upon my civil marriage, I have determined not to do business with any firm in Utah, if at all possible, and not to step inside of the state of Utah, which is entirely possible. You may not be a Mormon, or agree with what this church has to say about gay people. If so, I thank you for standing on the side of progress and religious freedom. And I apologize if this offends you.

As a gay man, my life has been severely impacted by the Mormon Church’s assertion that its set of religious beliefs trumps my civil rights as an American citizen, and that it has a valid reason for interfering in California’s civil law. I have urged my friends and correspondents not to do business with or in Utah if they can avoid it. Unfortunately, since the Church does not understand the concepts of religious freedom, tolerance, civil law, and minding your own business, perhaps it will understand economic pressure and social disapproval.

This may have an effect, it may not. I truly hope it does, but frankly, even if it doesn’t, it at least is serving to create consciousness that discrimination of the basis of religious belief has no place in America. Nor does prejudice, whether disguised as sincere religious belief, or admitted for what it is. People are understanding more and more that this is not about marriage, morality, faith, freedom of religion, the family, children, God’s word, or any other lying rationalization du jour. It is simply about what it has always been about: how much the very existence of gay people offends, entices, obsesses, and frightens some straight people, as well as those-who-wanna-be-straight-but-ain’t. This is why only a small shift in the vote– 2%– and Proposition 8 would have been history.

We’re here. We’re queer. Please get over yourself, LDS. It isn’t about you.

When this church stays the hell out of my civil marriage and my equality before the law, when it learns to stop telling lies about gay people and our families to advance its religious, political, and social agendas– in short, when it finally understands that to be respected, one must act respectably, that it cannot be purchased with the easy coin of other people’s lives–

At that point, if I still need your services, I’ll do business with you. Until then, I cannot.

This was their response:

I first want you to know and understand that I do not have a problem with the lifestyle you have chosen. It’s your life and right to live how you want, barring walking on another’s same given rights. Having made it clear to you that I have no problems with the way you have chosen to live your life, I would point out the hypocrisy in your decision not to do business with my company simply based off of our physical location. You feel that the Mormon church judges you, does not feel that you have a right to live how you have chosen, and has set you aside for things that are not necessarily changeable. You are now turning the same judgment to us. You will not do business with us because we live in the same state as the headquarters for the Mormon church. Forget that there are Mormons across the globe, forget that we are not connected to them as a business, forget that prop 8 is not completely funded by the Mormons, forget all of the logical points that could be used to refute your statement (which I have no intention of doing), and what are you left with? A gay man that actively stands up for his rights, that is willing to be heard, but cannot practice what he petitions for. How can you feel comfortable in the stand of anti-prejudice views and free rights when you hold for us (and every business like us in Utah) the same prejudice and judgment you feel are so wrongfully bestowed upon you?

Ben, if you want others to take you seriously in your beliefs and in what you stand for, start with showing others that you believe in the basic principals for which you fight, and not how they only apply to you as a gay man.

Ben has invited readers to share their thoughts on how he should react.

Personally, I’d advise dropping it.

You’ve made your point, Ben. They’ve lost a customer. This business, at least, has learned that there is a price to be paid for thrusting your religious views on others and actively harming their life.

And I’d not worry too much about their “but I don’t have a problem with the lifestyle you’ve chosen” statement. Theirs was the blustering of one who has been called on their bigotry and only has self-righteous posturing as a defense.

What do our readers think?

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Pender
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Yep. Drop it. The best we can do with emails like this is make it clear that the bigotry of the LDS Church is the reason they lost a customer. That’s done; no need to stay and argue with someone who’s clearly not going to come around.

Lucrece
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Tell him you’ll do business with him if he offers any proof that any profits from his company or any pay his employees get is going to the LDS church taxes.

Tom Graves
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

For the umpteenth time, it’s not a lifestyle, it’s a life.

Jim Burroway
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Hmmm… I’m very ambivilant about this. First of all, I was never thrilled with the idea of boycotting Utah. I have no intentions of doing so. In fact, I’m half-tempted to haul my gay fat ass there at the earliest opportunity. Utah is unquestionably one of the most beautiful states in my entire country. That land was made for them and me, and I’ll be damned if I let a bunch of homophobic bigots keep me out of it.

That said, I would never try to talk someone else out of their boycott. We are all empowered to make economic decisions based on our principles.

Of course on the other hand, my economic decisions ARE influenced, to say the least, by a businessman who say’s I’m living a “lifestyle you’ve chosen.” Really?

That pretty much says everything.

cbjames
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I’d drop it at this point.

But did the company donate to Yes on 8? They’re actually right as far as boycotting everyone in the state goes. Not everyone in the state is a homophobe. Not everyone there is a Mormon.

I have no beef with the State of Utah. I’m not all that crazy about the Mormon church at the moment. I did send a similar letter to a local nursery where I will no longer do business because the owners donated to Yes on 8.

This information is all online nowadays.

Burr
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I wouldn’t read too much into that. Even if you’re born gay, there’s still the choice to admit and life it out or deny it and be a poor fragment of a soul.

Personally I don’t think it’s fair to paint the whole state in one stroke. Unless you had reason to believe that this potential client was politically active or complicit with bigotry, it’s jumping the gun a bit. You might be able to affect more change by doing business with them, and then after demonstrating your capability and generosity, disclose your position. That would change minds.

jx57
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I live in Texas, a state which held on to its sodomy law until 2003 when the US Supreme Court overturned it, a state whose voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, same sex civil unions, or legal recognition of any same sex relationship that even “resembles” marriage.

Please do not judge me based on where I live. Please do not refuse to do business with me based on where I live.

CB
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I agree, drop it. When they used “lifestyle you have chosen,” it screamed their bigotry. Ben, you did good, an excellent letter. Their reply they showed their true colors.

Gil
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Hey Ben. It’s good that you made that statement, so they know why you’re not doing business with them. Second, they clearly stated that you choose to be gay and have that “lifestyle” instead of saying that you have a life. You know, religious people always apply double standards to gay people, they have lives, we have lifestyles, they have principles, we have an agenda… and that’s not fair. Just as you wouldn’t like to do business with a racist you don’t want to do business with a homophobe. And yes, not supporting equal rights makes you a homophobe just as not supporting equal rights for black people makes you a racist… that’s the way it is, there is no middle ground.

I’d say you should not comment any more. Eventually they will see that they put their noses in someone else business. FInally, I take off my hat and bend at you for doing the honorable thing. Avoiding doing business with people that do not support equal rights for everyone.

Lindoro Almaviva
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I’d say drop it. I think the company got the message loud and clear.

As for the boycotts of Utah (and Texas), I say it is fair. Yes, not every person in those states are bigots, but the state reps need to know that the collective image they are painting of the state is affecting the way their companies and their constituents make (and bring) business. I say, unfair as it is, it needs to happen.

Unfortunately, sometimes stereotypes work. I believe that if you are going to dish it, you better be ready to take it just like you dish it. Mormons 9and many in the Utah legislature are owned by them) have used the same tired stereotypes about us for years. Why should they be treated the same way? Why shouldn’t the state of Utah carry the stereotype that they are backwards, close minded Mormon puppets? Why shouldn’t the actions of the Mormon church stain the reputation of the whole state and be used for a little taste of your own medicine

Mississippi and KY are states that still carry the stereotype that they are full of hicks, why shouldn’t TX and UT join the ranks?

maybe carrying the stereotype will force the legislature of both states to cut the strings of the churches that are holding both of them hostage.

Bruno
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I’d just say “you choose to have your business in Utah, I can’t choose to be gay. I do wish you well…” and then leave it at that.

Kristie
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Going back and forth with this guy won’t change anything and will just frustrate you and waste your vaulable time, so I go with the concensus and say just leave it as is.

I think you made your point & if he wants to whine about how offended he is and how you’ve discriminated against him, let him. He may claim he shouldn’t be held accountable for what the Mormon Church does but ever citizen of Utah that continues to allow that organization to run it’s own little theocracy in the middle of the USA is responsible for what it does and the hate it spreads.

The Mormon church is only as powerful (and wealthy) as it is because everyone in Utah bows down to them & allows them to wield such enormous political power. It’s like the Mormon Mafia or something. Until the people of Utah start thinking for themselves instead of letting the church do it for them nothing will change there.

Emily K
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

You made your point, and as we have seen, closing the gAyTM is one of the most effective means of protest. You made your statement and they made their’s; it needn’t go any further.

Alex
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I think a simple “No, thank you” to the company would have sufficed. And I agree with Burr: this could have been a great opportunity to build bridges. But instead, Ben has come across as just another angry gay man, guilty of the same type of prejudices he’s trying to erase.

cowboy
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

By the same logic: Why should I visit California? After all, it was California inhabitants who voted to take away our civil rights.

On a personal note Ben,

I did come to visit California last week. In fact, I flew in/out of the Oakland airport and spent a lovely time with doing the King Tut exhibit and then spending time with Mormon friends who knew I was having a tough time with dealing with the recent and unexpected death of my Mother from a traffic accident. These two Saints welcomed their long-time gay friend as a guest at their villa in Sonoma County. I also got a little time to deal with a void in my life right now.

I want you to remember the story of Steve Young’s family…particularly his wife. They were not supportive of the Proposition 8.

So, you see, Ben, it’s not all Mormons. It’s not all Utahns. It’s not all Utah businesses either.

But, I understand your feelings.

I truly and honestly would love to spend a dinner at Scoma’s with you one time. Perhaps I could get you to consider making Utah a destination for a visit.

Bruce Garrett
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

What Jim and Tom said. “Lifestyle” says it all. Also “chosen”. Maybe “chosen” even more then “lifestyle”.

There are times for building bridges to your neighbors. When they’re setting fire to your house isn’t one of them. How much LDS money can we suppose is being poured into Maine right about now?

Patrick
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

No response needed. You made your point and they reacted typically by attacking and blaming the victim.

Alex
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

And Ben isn’t blaming an entire state?

Joe in California
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I’m with Ben. If I support a business in Utah, I indirectly support the livelihood of Mormon workers who support the LDS church who bankrolled a good portion of the Yes on 8 campaign. Until everyone is EQUAL nationwide, I say continue sending the message that you’re not happy about how churches (Mormon & Catholic “Knights of Columbus”) meddle in state affairs!

Derrick Davis
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Having spent the first 24 years of my life in the Mormon Church and in the closet, I can picture 90% of my Mormon friends writing this back to Ben. I would say drop it. You’ll never convince them, for so many of them (especially the Utah variety) cannot think on their own. You have made your point, and let me assure you that the guy who responded is definitely a practicing Mormon.

Bethany
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I support Ben completely. I am in California and I am furious at the LDS church and the entire state of Utah! I hope this doesn’t hurt Ben too much financially. I am also not buying any products from Utah.

I am also doing everything I can to make sure that the Mormon church NEVER prospers EVER in the state of CALIFORNIA.

Mormons started this and it was the worst thing they EVER did. Believe me, I scared the PISS out of two mormon missionaries last weekend in San Juan Capistrano. They were peeing down their legs by the time I got through with them. I never had any reason to care before, but I SURE do now!!

Bethany
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

those of you who don’t understand, I don’t think you were here in California for the campaign of hatred and lies financed by LDS money.

That includes YOU Cowboy. Thanks for your visit to California, BTW, now gets some balls!

David C.
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Never try to teach a pig to sing: is wastes your time and annoys the pig.

I was perfectly happy with Mormons believing and worshiping what and where they may. That stopped when they organized against my civil rights and set the dangerous precedent of legislating them away.

Here is the thing that really worries me in all of this whole Mormon church thing, including the public property that went private in SLC covered elsewhere in this forum.

I have no doubt whatsoever that most Mormons and even most people in Utah are kind, generous, helpful to their neighbors, and basically “good”. The problem I have (and I admit this may be projection so cut me some slack here) is that all this goodness can become a problem when those outside of the “flock” are seen as “other” and not worthy of that normally manifested “goodness”. Were this to happen it might become far too easy to say something to oneself like:

Look how good I have been, how righteous, how devoted. Surely I am equally righteous in dehumanizing others I perceive as none of these things I have been told make me “good” and “holy” and “worthy”: they have no right even to their existence and I am justified in doing all that I can to undo their will, their livelihood, their alleged happiness, even their lives.

The minute you think yourself better than someone else, the seed for such a rationalization is planted. Should it germinate, then all the “goodness” in the world wielded in the name of its nurture cannot be holy.

Wolby
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

It’s ridiculous– not to mention almost certainly ineffective– to boycott an entire state for the actions of some of its residents. I live in Colorado, and (thankfully) I haven’t heard anyone suggest that Utah’s next door neighbor should be boycotted for being home to Focus on the Family. Focus, by the way, also bankrolls anti-marriage campaigns, including $31,000 to repealing gay marriage in Maine. Every state has a nasty homophobic organization (sometimes two!)– if we insist on viewing things at that resolution, who are we supposed to do business with?

Ben’s letter sets my teeth on edge. What possible response could he want from this company? “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, I’ll get on kicking the Church of LDS out of our state immediately”?

Listen to Burr, Ben. You might actually make a difference, even if you have to get off your high horse to do it.

Brieuse
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I agree that Ben should be cross, we’re all cross that some people feel their religion/cult should be enforced on non-believers too.

But the respondent is correct. To judge somebody on their location can be considered just as bad as judging somebody on their skin colour or sexual orientation.

Ben should apologise and drop it.

andrew
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

You know, when you’re a jackass you hand your opponent an unearned victory. I can appreciate that Ben might *suspect* that firms based in Utah might be more likely than firms based in, say, Vermont, to be owned or operated by Mormons. And given the code words (“lifestyle”, “chosen”) and antipathy (rather than apology) in the reply, I wouldn’t be surprised if his assessment of this company were accurate, or that the company has a conservative bent and is either ignorant or uninterested in how they are perceived by gay customers.

But here’s the problem. They’re right. By conflating geography with a specific group of people you don’t like, you’re completely guilty of both ignorance and prejudice. Just as a fun excercise, replace “Utah” with “Puerto Rico” and “Mormon” with “Latino” and watch the fur fly.

Ben, you’re an idiot. An unintended hypocrit because you fail to employ logic and self-analysis before you engage your self-righteousness. I know you smart from Prop 8, we all do. But get a hold of yourself, man. Put your emotions on the back burner here and think strategically.

I encourage everyone to look into those companies they do business with. Wherever they are headquartered. Ascertain where that company, specifically, stands on equality issues. Ask about written policies (not just unwritten practices). Then, consider that as one aspect of the comparison between them and their competitor (remember, if their competitors are just as bad, you basically have no leverage except not to purchase at all). Pick your battles.

Be firm and forthright, but do remember that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You may encounter someone on the fence here, and if we come in with guns blazing all angry and presumptuous, well, you’ve just made it really easy for a potential ally to say “screw you”. You need to know who you’re dealing with first.

Sure, we’re all angry. But we need to be taken seriously to achieve change — and for that we need to be mature and thoughtful as well as firm and self-confident. That’s not to say that we should placate foes or be nice to everyone so they’ll love us better. But it does mean that we have to sound like rational people that don’t make others roll their eyes while they close their ears.

Cooner
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I agree with the folks above who say drop it at this point. You’ve made your point, they know why you’re refusing to do business, further discussion probably won’t lead anywhere at this point.

As for the argument about whether it does any good to boycott a whole state … well, good question. I can see the the risk of overgeneralizing to say everyone in the state is guilty of something. But by the same token, when you boycott Coors or the Marriott Hotel or boycott Jamaica, are you assuming that every employee of those companies or citizen of that island is guilty? Isn’t there the potential that supportive people could lose pay or livelihood as well?

I don’t think the point is just to punish people, it’s to make a statement to those people within a company or within a community to eventually apply upwards pressure on their leadership to make our concerns heard. Utah is something of a unique case as the church is so heavily tied into the government (just look at the recent story about the street in front of the temple). Obviously, those of us in California and elsewhere can’t vote in Utah’s elections; but we can make it understood to those who do live and work in Utah that their state’s actions, and the actions of the church that acts with complicity from the state, are impacting their ability to do business.

*shrugs* Just my two cents.

DavidMichael
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Ben,

Good letter. I would say drop it, nuf said.
As far as boycotting the entire state of Utah, I agree with that stance as a very high percentage of Utah citizens are Mormon. I believe it needs to be stated through this action, that gay discrimination will no longer be tolerated by irrational uneducated dizzy eyed religious groups, and a big hammer is needed to make that statement, which is being done with the boycott of Utah.
If businesses are stung by the boycott, they can get themselves enmass to the Mormon church and have the church get real, apologize for their messes and make amends with all gay people they have manipulatively hurt.
Until such happens, Utah will burn as the vigilant light showing discrimination is dying a slow but sure death.

TomChicago
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

The “lifestyle” business is the tip-off to where the response was going. From the get-go, to demean folks in that way, with that patronizing term, demonstrates that there’s no point in continuing the thread. Another tip-off is the “choose to” meme, as if choice is somehow suspect. The practictioners of the Mormon lifestyle made a choice to meddle and should now resign themselves to the consequences and foster their own notions (of marriage and righteousness, etc.) within their own churches, which is their right.

elaygee
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I think there is a mid way between the two. Ask any business in Utah to sign a clearing statement that clearly states that they have not contributed to any anti-GLBT activities, just as we all ask vendors to sign confidentiality statements that they not use our data or knowledge or trademarks/copyrights in any other way.

Christopher Waldrop
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Like many here, I have qualms about boycotting an entire state. Some time ago the poet Nikki Giovanni opposed a boycott of South Africa because she believed it would only hurt the poorest people and wouldn’t cause any real change. Did the boycott of South African products really result in change, or was it the pressure of world opinion? Or both? I really don’t know. I’ve also been told to boycott Kansas, and yet I’ve been to Lawrence, KS, and found it a wonderful—and wonderfully tolerant—place. I don’t like the policies of some of their elected officials, but I don’t want a boycott to harm people who didn’t vote for those same officials. Even if the majority of people living in a state are narrow-minded bigots that doesn’t mean everyone who lives there is a narrow-minded bigot. I live in Tennessee. I happen to like living here even though I hate some of the laws that have been passed here. A few years ago I voted against a law banning same-sex marriages, but it passed anyway. I can understand someone, especially if they’re married to someone of the same gender, wanting to boycott Tennessee because of that law, but I don’t want anyone to assume that, just because I’m from Tennessee, I was ever in favor of it.

I say all this because I’m willing to hear pro-boycott arguments. I’ve read some here, and I think some legitimate points have been made. So I’m undecided. Do boycotts work? Is it worth it to sometimes harm people who might not share the bigotry of their neighbors just because of where they live?

Alex
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’m confused as to why Ben is boycotting Utah, but not California. Not that he has to explain himself, of course, but I just think it’s inconsistent.

Jeff
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I know the boycott issue creates issues with some readers; however, when I moved to a relatively small town in California’s Central Valley, the health care professionals that I picked for my children and me were NOT those individuals who made substantial contributions to Proposition 8. Some suggested that I call up the doctors, dentists, oral surgeons and orthodontists and tell them that they lost customers because of their actions.

I chose not to. Instead, I simply took my business elsewhere. I can’t financially support someone who is against me.

Johnson
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I immediately got the point of the response with the “chosen lifestyle” references. An obviously bigoted and condescending person writing it and I would bet a member of the religion in question. Total turn off–I’d like to know who the Business is.

Mortanius
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’d drop it. I have, in the past, dealt with people like this and it will be one flame letter after the next. You made your statement and the small minded individual responded with their typical “choice” line. They’re not worth the time nor the expense to send them a response. So what if they think they’ve “trumped” you with their response.
Eventually the LDS’s “Prophet” who speaks directly to and for “god” will have a revelation, like he did that allowed blacks to become Mormons in the latter half of the 20th century.

Nick Literski
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Roughly 62% of Utah’s population is LDS. While the excerpt doesn’t indicate for us what kind of business is involved, the likelihood is that a Utah-based business is employing a number of LDS individuals. Most of those individuals are contributing 10% of their income to the LDS church, aside from any specific donations they may have made to support Proposition 8.

In short, doing business with almost any Utah firm is going to funnel your cash into LDS coffers.

Jason D
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I think a lot of people are missing a point here.

I don’t know Ben, but he’s a smart cookie, and I don’t think he necessarily has decided the whole state of Utah is one giant klan rally, so to speak.

I think the point is, perhaps if enough sympathetic folks in Utah suffer some sort of fallout due to the actions of their neighbors(the Mormons), perhaps they will do something about what’s going on in their own state.

One of our points of pain is that we have no shortage of lazy, ineffective allies. Progressive, tolerant, open-minded people who are there with a shoulder to cry on, but unwilling to get further involved. We don’t need a support group anymore, we need groups that support us with their voices and their actions.

And sometimes the only way to shake people out of their “neutral” or “all aid short of actual help” position is to hit them square in the pocketbook.

Perhaps when Utahns feel the sting of this, they’ll get up off their duffs and fight the growing theocratic power nestled in their own backyards. After all, it is their state, they are uniquely position to make changes in a way that Ben is not.

To me this is less “guilt by association” than it is “clean up your house!”

Priya Lynn
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Personally, no way would I let that “chosen lifestyle” comment go. I’d reply “you might have a point about judging a business solely on their location however your usage of this bigoted phrase shows you are not the innocent people you would have me believe you are. Gayness is not a choice and it is no more a “lifestyle” than your hetersexuality is a lifestyle.”.

TJMcFisty
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’ll back what Jason D says, but I’m afraid Ben probably said more than was necessary in his letter. First paragraph would’ve been fine.

Coulda typed all the rest out, saved that version for himself or burned it and just sent the first paragraph–intent is all right there and remains professional enough to maintain dignity. Other 5 paragraphs? Well…that’s what riled the recipient up. Bruno’s got the right idea. “Won’t do business with you. Real quick why not. Thanks.”

I support Ben’s intent, don’t get me wrong, and I certainly don’t think he’s an idiot at all, Andrew. Just needs a little editing.

But, yeah, Ben. It’s done and over with. You’ve both had your say, and it’s over.

And, you’re not fat, Jim. Sheesh. ;D

Ben in Oakland
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Wow!!

I was not expecting this much response. There are some very good points here.

I hope to respond a little later today to some of the ideas presented here, but right now i don’t have much time.

I do intend to write another letter to the company. I did not like the chosen lifestyle remark, and the accusation of hypocrisy I’m not thrilled about either. but i will post it here before I send it.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful comments.

ravenbiker
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

As soon as I hear “chosen” and “lifestyle” in the same sentence, I get better results by beating my head against the wall.

Yup. Drop it. There are other ways to fight.

Priya Lynn
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Good for you Ben. Its rather ironic that they should accuse you of being a hypocrite and then claim they are not bigoted while using the anti-gay “chosen lifestyle” remark.

CLS
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Boycotts of people due to their location is a bad idea as it attacks the innocent along with the guilty. However, I detect that the business owner is a Mormon. I would boycott any business where any profits are directed to the Mormon cult by owners (I won’t hold owners responsible for what employees do off work.)

The owner says they are “not connected” to the Mormon church “as a business.” Few businesses are. But by specifically saying they are not connected “as a business” implies they are connected in other ways — such as supporters/members. I’d ask. If they are, and if they contribute to the LDS sect I’d boycott.

There are major logical flaws in by both parties. It doesn’t make sense to boycott merely because of geographical location. But the business owner compares a voluntary boycott with the violation of rights done by coercive state intervention — laws restricting the rights of gay people. No one has a right to unwilling customers.

I also note that the terms “lifestyle” “you have chosen” used several times. This is Right-wing speak and usually indicative of someone who opposes gay rights. Though it may be used by ignorance alone. I would guess that the owner does oppose equal rights for gay people and is a Mormon. But I’d ask. If they refuse to answer continue the boycott but apologize for starting it on the basis of location while saying you would continue it based on their own positions.

Hrm
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

There are good reasons to boycott the state of Utah, but I don’t think the LDS Church’s support of Prop 8 is one of them.

FriendOfJonathan
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Ben

I liked your letter, and the response doesn’t merit any more of your time.

One piece is still appropriate and necessary – publish the name of the company so that others can boycott them as well, if they so chose.

The response you received, loaded with anti-gay talking points, from ‘lifestyle choice’ – which is used specifically to overtly support discrimination against GLBTQ people, to the accusation of hypocrisy, which indicates an extreme heterocentric sense of entitlement, reveals a company that does not deserve to make even a single penny from GLBTQ people.

Please reveal the company name so that other GLBTQ people, as relevant, can avoid this company as well.

FriendOfJonathan
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

One final thought:

Revealing the company name sends the message that their prejudice is not going to remain a dirty little secret.

It is clear that the author of the response sent to Ben assumed that no other potential customer would ever hear of the matter, and so felt free to attack Ben, through accusations about his character and motives, having dismissed him as someone who wasn’t going to give them any money.

The solution is to spread the word, to protect other potential customers, and, given the use of search engines, let this company know that its prejudice will not stay a secret. Let the boycott of one become a boycott of ten, or ten thousand, depending upon the market the business caters to.

Negative publicity will, at least, encourage this company’s competitors to be more respectful of the diversity of potential customers.

Timothy Kincaid
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

For those who might think that “not everyone in Utah is like that” or that the state is being punished by Ben just because the headquarters of the Mormon Church is there:

According to Wikipedia, 68% of Utah residents are Mormons.

According to Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight, Utah has the lowest level of support for marriage equality (less than 15%). It is the only state in which support has decreased since 2003-04, and there is less support today than any other state had in 1994.

The odds of the owners of any business in Utah being supportive of your rights is miniscule.

Johnson
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Please Ben, by all means let us know who this company is. They certainly have a right to their beliefs, and all of us have a right to not support them by taking our business elsewhere.

Alex
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

Doesn’t a statistic of 68% rather than 100% sort of prove that not everyone in Utah is like that?

Timothy Kincaid
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Alex,

Let me clarify.

68% are Mormons. But they influence the culture and thinking of those around them. Which is evidenced by Utah having the lowest support for equality (on every measure of gay rights) of any state.

While only 68% identify with the religion, over 85% share their beliefs about my equality.

And while 85% is not the same as 100%, it is safe to start with the assumption that any Utah business will oppose your equality and then be pleasantly surprised if they are the rare exception.

I’m not endorsing Ben’s boycott, but I certainly don’t fault him for the way in which he selected his target.

FriendOfJonathan
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Re: Boycotting California

As a Californian with a small, struggling business, in my opinion – by all means, boycott California – particularly any transaction involving sales tax paid to the state. If you come for a visit, stay with friends to avoid the hotel taxes, be thrifty about taxed merchandise, and when you do have to pay sales tax – make it at a glbtq restaurant. But if you do boycott CA businesses in general – let them know why.

You can do what many GLBTQ Californians are doing – trying to only do business with companies that overtly supported No on 8 and GLBTQ people, or that at least stayed out of it and have HR policies that treat GLBTQ employees fairly.

The economy is bad, and now is the time for economic pressure – and if someone claims you’re only hurting GLBTQ Californians – that’s an empty accusation. Californians are going to be hurting for a while, not because of what anyone does today, but because of what our governor and assembly, and local city and county governments, have done, and done not, for the last 10 years (or more depending on who you ask). That big picture world of hurt won’t be lessened by any business from out of state, but, boycotts by people out of state will have more impact now than they would at other times.

I look at it this way: Only a small third of eligible voters in California cared enough to register and then voted no on 8, another third voted yes, and the remaining largest third – didn’t care enough about other people to even bother to vote. Being apathetic to the harm 8 caused by not voting at all, really isn’t all that different from voting for it – it still indicates tremendous contempt for GLBTQ people.

Now, if we could just get Canada to invade and liberate us from the clutches of Arnold . . .

Bethany
July 18th, 2009 | LINK

boycotting Utah IS boycotting the LDS church.

if you boycott a business or person in Utah who isn’t LDS, then hopefully they will be understanding about why you are doing what you are doing.

Most of the people on this blog roll are either NOT from California or NOT from Utah.

Fight with your pocketbook. Fight with the media. Fight the LDS church. and a big Thank you to kids in Salt Lake City !! You Rock ! ! ! !

Yeek
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

The point I made to one business was simply that any profit made by a Utah-based company is going to benefit the LDS church, because so many working at the company (or the company’s bank, or suppliers, or plumbers, etc.) are likely to be mormon. And they all bring home a paycheck that comes from company earnings. And some of them will be making donations to LDS and future initiatives.

Perhaps this company is not connected to the LDS church “as a business,” but they are certainly connected via individuals. And since the LDS church donated a disproportionate amount of money to the Prop 8 campaign, it follows that a disproportionate effort be made to avoid helping their followers flourish, even indirectly.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.