Comments about ‘Nathan B. Oman: Gay marriage boycotts are not good for the market economy’

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Published: Tuesday, April 8 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Silver Spring, MD

With respect, and while I agree with Mr. Oman that we must find ways "to live peacefully and productively" when we profoundly disagree, on this issue, it would have been helpful if those opposed to permitting me to marry had taken this approach before funding Proposition 8 and other efforts to block my marriage.

Perhaps the approach could have been to support my right to marry as well as the right of the photographer and the baker to refuse me service. Now, alas, it's a bit late to bemoan the lack of accommodation to both sides.

I think both sides have something to contribute to the discussion. Maybe we can all learn from our mistakes. Here's my promise: I will stand up for the right of others to remain 'free agents' if they too stand up for my right to marry.


Far East USA, SC

I could not disagree more with Mr Oman. And does his stance on boycott only pertain to the Gay marriage issue? And possibly only one side of this issue?

In fact, I am surprised that anyone would take this stance. Certainly we can and do disagree with the substance of the boycott. But what better way than to peacefully picket or boycott a product or service? And try to get others to do the same. What better way to affect change? In fact, what OTHER way is there to affect change?

Personally, I have no issue with the CEO donation and do use Mozilla (and will continue to do so).

You cant decry the mechanism based on the side of an argument. Either voting with your $$, boycotting or picketing is acceptable or it is not.

Consistency people; Consistency

Ogden, UT

Ten years ago the far right initiated a boycott against the Dixie Chicks, trying to destroy them because they dared to criticize GWBush. I wonder how many of the people who are now defending Eich and Mozilla also defended the Dixie Chicks and spoke out against the boycott and economic attack they suffered. Just wondering . . .

t-ville, UT

If we had a free market, as the author is suggesting, there would be natural mechanisms to punish firms or businesses that engage in discrimination. Thank goodness those mechanisms are being utilized in this case and preventing firms from being led by a potential discriminator. Had that been the case during the civil rights movement, our country would have ironed out racism more efficiently by making it economically destructive to discriminate on the basis of race. Unfortunately, the government intervened and produced poor results, even decades after the initial intervention. We can either be interested in producing efficient markets that expose and punish behaviors that inhibit trust, or complacently accept a market that tolerates discriminatory behavior at the expense of it's full potential.


Mr. Oman would do well to realize that prohibiting gay marriages is less beneficial to the economy than allowing them.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Remember the Supreme Court saying that political campaign contributions are a form of "free speech"?

Well I consider the money I spend a form of free speech. That's why every dollar I DON'T spend at WalMart is a little, tiny vote against the behavior of that particular corporation.

Why is it fine for the Koch Brothers, and Sheldon Addleson to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to express their rights of free speech, but it is somehow petty and childish for us 99% percenters to use our pocketbooks, to make our feelings know?

Springville, UT

The condemnation of boycotts should cut both ways. Those who won't use gay-friendly businesses, or provide services to gays, are culpable, too, are they not?

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

In regard to Mr. Oman's schoolyard reasoning, I think my boycott is fair and just. Your boycott is petulant and naughty. So there.

Seattle, WA

Good reminders about the power of the market and consumer's right to choice and responsibility for cooperation.
Shouldn't this message apply equally to conservatives and liberals? The examples of inappropriate boycotts you mention are all done by supporters of gay marriage. What about those opponents of SSM who are now boycotting Mozilla for not defending its CEO? Is that justified? Were Christian donors justified last month when they withdrew sponsorships from World Vision in protest of its inclusive employment policies. Do you support the One Million Moms website?
What is the unbiased basis for determing when market pressure is justified? If you're ok with it whenever it supports your position but not when it doesn't, that sounds more like whining than a consistent argument. That goes for everyone. We could all spend less time complaining about the other and instead exercise some self criticism and thought about what we will do to improve the conversation. A good measure might be "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Eugene, OR

Conservative and religious groups use boycotts and social pressure all the time, and I'm pretty sure you guys don't object to that. Are you even trying to come up with a coherent argument against gay marriage anymore, or are you just pouting?

Poplar Grove, UT

Wow, this is some convoluted logic. SO this paper publishes multiple articles that support the SCOTUS decision that money is free speech. Yet when the "little people" use their so called right to free speech, by boycotting a business they don't agree with it's a bad thing. Why is it ok to buy a politician, but it's not ok to avoid businesses that have practices we disagree with. It's all using our money as a form of speech right? And the organic grocery guy, what did you think is going to happen? The people who go to that kind of store tend to be left leaning hippies. I know if I owned a gun store I wouldn't post on Facebook what a big Obama supporter I am. Isn't is part of business's job to know who their customers are?

Logan, UT

Brandon Eich of Mozilla practiced his 1st amendment right to donate for prop. 8, and the employees and customers of Mozilla practiced their 1st amendment right to ask him to step down.

World Vision announced that they would recognize SSM benefits for their employees, and evangelical Christians practiced their free speech and forced World Vision to reverse their policy. I don't see this is any different from Brandon Eich's case.

Free speech does not mean free of consequences, Brandon Eich had his, the people who protested Brandon Eich is having theirs now - criticism that they have gone too far. I see it as a fair game, after all, free speech is the winner.

Why Brandon Eich has to go? Money talks. Mozilla’s employees and customers are more likely to be young, college educated, and support SSM, keeping such a controversy around the company has bad impact for Mozilla, it would be the best for the company that Brandon Eich stepped down.

Why World Vision has to change their policy on gay employees? Money talks. If they don’t change, the donation would precipitate.

In the end, it is the free market that determines the final outcome.

Understands Math
Lacey, WA

Prof. Oman:

If you had presented at least one example of right wing groups calling for a boycott because of same-sex marriage issues, you wouldn't come across as wearing blinders.

Here are two right-wing boycotts that you can tut-tut about if you wish:

The boycott against World Vision for agreeing to employ people in same sex marriages.

The boycott against Guinness for their decision not to sponsor New York's non inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade.

1 Voice
orem, UT

WOW, the comments on this article criticizing a call for civility are out of control.
The hypocrisy and childish logic is unbelievable.

Certainly Boycotting a company is within our constitutional rights.
But when was it OK or in our best interests to commit economic terrorism because someone disagrees with your views.
It never was and never will be regardless of your political cause or moral issue.
it is not and never will be OK to bully people to get your way
it isn't OK to justify bad behavior because someone else did it first.

In my opinion it is just as much a hate crime to persecute someone for their religious belief, to harm someone for exercising their constitutional right to support a cause they believe in, to attempt to punish people economically because they disagree with your morals, or to try to force someone to think like you do in an attempt to get your way.

I agree with the premise of this article. We are in a lot of hurt as a society if things don't get better. To justify harming someone because you think you have been harmed is hypocrisy. Repent. Dialogue rather than Damage.


Don't forget conservatives boycotting Disney when they began offering benefits to same sex couples.

And more recently (3/3/14):
Conservatives vowed to boycott at least five major companies based in Georgia for their roles in killing legislation they say would have allowed private businesses to decline on religious grounds to serve people they believe are gay or having premarital sex. Supporters of the bill specifically blamed the Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, InterContinental Hotels and UPS for its failure. Those companies had come out against the bill, claiming such a law would hurt business and cost jobs.

Salt Lake City, UT

So to sum up - businesses refusing to serve LGBT individuals/couples = good; LGBT and Allies refusing to do business with those companies = bad.

How does that even pretend to make sense?

Woods Cross, UT

It is one thing to boycott a large corporation with enormous resources. Large, ponderous corporate bureaucracies need intense pressure to get their attention.

It is quite another to blacklist people and attempt to destroy their ability to make a living because you disagree about their political choices of the past or their desire to follow what they see are their religious obligations. This tactic serves no ends but personal revenge. Real love and tolerance for diversity are damaged by such tactics. The Golden Rule applies to individuals, not so much for corporations.


Would Mr. Oman say the same for boycotting companies for CEOs who donated money to those opposed to civil rights for blacks? Where would we be today as a society if not for the many boycotts for civil rights for blacks? Civil Rights leaders, John Lewis for example, and the Supreme Court has ruled, that marriage is a basic human right.

That said.
I would urge a little more discretion on using the tool of boycotts and calling for resignations. I've not seen any evidence Mr. Eich made public pronouncements of his opposition to same-sex marriage. Yes, he donated to Prop 8, an extremely modest amount. I know people who donated to Prop 8 who've come to regret that donation. I'm not aware of any policies he implemented or intended to implement as CEO that would be discriminatory against LGBTs and he affirmed that position. The fight for equality for LGBTs is relatively new, and there may be more, even Mr. Eich, who will change their views over time. As long as people don't discriminate in conducting public business I believe we could cut some slack. For now.

Provo, UT

Pretty simply, the entire "Gay marriage doesn't harm anyone, so you should support it" reasoning has been obliterated. Yes, you can boycott, try to punish those who oppose you, of course. But the SSM advocates have no room to claim that it is a harmless practice anymore: Either you support it and firing all who oppose it, or you support letting people keep their jobs.

Put bluntly: the gays have given me a fantastic, non "bigoted" reason to oppose them: I want to keep my job. And my wife and family members want to keep their jobs. And the gays, apparently, want to fire and punish everyone who disagrees with them.

So, is wanting to keep my job a bigoted reason now? I was in a discussion with one gay marriage supporter who said his end goal is to make it child abuse to teach Christianity to your children, and that he and his friends are driving society to that stage. Stopping him from taking my children seems to be a valid reason.


To all those commenting about the right boycotting over political views:

True, that did happen. So are you saying that two wrongs make a right? Or is it that LGBT rights are a "justifiable" reason to boycott becasue you agree with them? Just trying to understand the exact hypocrisy you ae engaging in...

All the talk from the LGBT about their "right" to happiness rings very hollow when they resort to economic terrorism to destroy that same right for others...

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