Nathan B. Oman: Gay marriage boycotts are not good for the market economy

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  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 10, 2014 12:51 a.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Nice try -- but read my earlier comment, where I explain that claiming that we say people ought to be fired for their views is a complete lie.

    I personally have had a "Christian" tell me he had to disagree with my preacher's interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount because "I am a Christian"

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 9, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    RE: "those who inappropriately bring up their religion without realizing they are rude ... need to pay the consequences.

    WOW... What are the "Consequences"? Sounds kinda ominous... like a threat.


    So... are we going to ban people from working? Just at certain companies... or should the "Consequences" be getting banned from working in general?

    If your going to fire people for donating to political campaigns you don't like... can you really object to getting fired because the boss doesn't like YOUR non-work related activities? Like supporting or attending gay rallies and stuff like that?

    If one's OK... so is the other. So be careful what you ask for...

    If you push to fire a guy for his views... you can't then ask for protection from being fired for your views.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 9, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    From the author's personal web page:

    I earned a BA in political science from Brigham Young University and JD from Harvard Law School, where I was on the Articles Committee of the Harvard Law Review. Prior to law school I worked on the staff of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. After law school, I clerked for the Honorable Morris Sheppard Arnold on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and practiced law in the Washington, DC office of Sidley Austin LLP.

    Finally, as a life-long Latter-day Saint, I am interested in the scholarly study of Mormonism, particularly Mormon legal experience, which is part of my interest in law and religion. Having been bitten by the blogging bug in law school, I contribute to Concurring Opinions, a popular law blog, and Times & Seasons, a group blog on Mormon issues.

    Why are all the opinion articles on the DN from one side?

  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 9, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    Provo, UT
    "Just remember, Eich shows that the gay movement is out to punish those who disagree. So you must care; there's no "live or let live" anymore--it's convert or die with them."

    ---Victimhood at its worst!

    Those who do damage (contribute to causes that block rights) and those who inappropriately bring up their religion without realizing they are rude ("I'm a Christian, so I wont do your wedding because the Bible is against it and you are sinning") need to pay the consequences.

    Think of someone working in SLC who tells his co-workers that the lds church is based on a scam, in his opinion, and he is working to get its tax exemptions removed.

    April 9, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    I never heard that Mr. Eich's was fired by a the "gay community." I wonder how I missed that?

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    April 9, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    Just remember, Eich shows that the gay movement is out to punish those who disagree. So you must care; there's no "live or let live" anymore--it's convert or die with them.

    Just look at anotherviews comment: It's not productive "right now" to drive out the unbelievers. Implying that soon, it will be.

    So I'm not bigoted against gays, I'm protecting my right to have a job. That's all.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 9, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    I think once the current flurry of bitterness and discomfort is over... people will realise that people who defended traditional marriage weren't out to hurt gay people, they just wanted to keep the traditional family alive in America. They didn't really treat gay people badly. SOME have... but the vast majority didn't.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 9, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Some people are so hypocritical on this topic (on both sides).

    The article (which I though supported using boycotts) states the following...
    "Markets thrive on freedom of contract and that freedom must include the right not to contract".

    Where was this opinion when some business owners wanted to decide who they would contract with? I'm talking about the tee shirt company not wanting to make an offensive tee shirt for a client, baker deciding not to contract to make a cake for a gay wedding, etc...


    IF "Markets thrive on freedom of contract and that freedom must include the right not to contract"... does that only apply to LGBT protesters calling for boycotts?

    Or does it go both ways?

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    April 9, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    Hang in there RFLASH, the times are a changin'. There is a current flurry of bitterness and discomfort because of those changes, but history tells us that it will soon be socially unacceptable to treat gay people badly and everyone will deny (or be mortified) that they ever did.

  • PolishBear Charleston, WV
    April 9, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    Well let's see: There's a conservative organization called OneMillionMoms that routinely organizes boycotts against companies that DARE to support fair treatment for Gay Americans. Here's a list companies that have incurred their wrath (and why):

    Honey Maid Graham Crackers (for including Gay parents in a commercial)
    Disney Channel (for including Gay parents in the show "Good Luck Charlie")
    Macy's (for having a musical number from "Kinky Boots" during their Thanksgiving Parade)
    ABC Family Television (for a Lesbian couple in the show "The Fosters")
    Disney World (for allowing "Gay Day" at the theme park)
    J.C. Penney (for having a Gay male couple included in a Father's Day sale ad)
    Kraft Foods (for an Oreo Cookie depicted in an ad with rainbow colored fillings)
    DC Comics and Marvel comics (for depicting Gay superheroes)
    Macy's (for depicting a wedding cake with a "Two Grooms" cake topper)

    And this is an example of just ONE organization that promotes boycotts of companies and sponsors because they believe in fair treatment for Gay individuals and couples. There are many others.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 9, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    @RedWings: "For example, Chik-Fil-A never denied a gay person a chicken sandwich - their owner just expressed his religious beliefs on a religious program and was viciously attacked (by several elected officals no less)."

    The CEO of Chik-fil-A donated many thousands of dollars to groups opposed to Gay marriage in specific and Gay rights in general. Some of these groups have been designated "hate groups" by the SCLC based on regularly repeating and publishing information proven to be untrue.

    When called on his support of these groups he defended it on several occasions. Yes, he takes Gay dollars at the sales counter. But his money supports causes that harm people.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Can I say something without offending people? It is old! I am gay and almost 50! Time does go by fast! I grew up Mormon and it was good. I had so many wonderful people around me and lately, that is what I have been trying to remember and think about! People do not realize what it is like. All of my family and most friends are Mormon. Almost all of the people I work with are Mormon. In order to have good relationships, I have to deal with , not just one person, but many! This is every day! I have to live my life and many times, it doesn't matter what you do, somebody has to put you in your place, they just have to let you know how wrong you are!
    I think I have reached a turning point! Same sex marriage, for us, is not about proving anything to others. It is about our lives and wanting to make things better for ourselves. To watch people get so upset and go crazy finding a way to slam us down again is ridiculous! When do people stop! I am so tired. tell me, why should I try anymore?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 9, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    @ anotherview

    Thanks. Have my own reservations about Mozilla events. Have read everything in attempt to clarify thoughts. First, strongly disagree with outing. Unfortunately can't un-know something. Thus Executive Officer's lament that she should have recognized that this knowledge would make a difference in how Mozilla was seen when Eich was promoted to CEO.

    Also, in interview before resignation, Eich said he would not comment on his "political" views. Not "religious." Political. Sounded dismissively impersonal to me. Think of gay kids watching this - maybe some that know Eich. "Nothing personal, kid. I'll treat you well to your face, but will act to deny you the right I enjoy: to marry and have a family. But again - nothing personal. Political." Chilling.

    So I remain glad that kids saw the world protesting his appointment to a position of status and leadership. They need to see that we recognize their full humanity and that we will fight for it. Am now also glad they saw unease with the tactic that ultimately brought this about. I don't support this either.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 8, 2014 11:22 p.m.

    This article would be better if more of it was true and less was slanted opinion.

    A-- Mr Eich needed to resign because he could not lead. You can't be the leader of people who are mostly offended by a past action you do not retract. Prop 8 caused a world of hurt to many million Californians, and the man's face symbolized that. He was not willing to say that Prop 8 was wrong, in 2014, so he had to go -- period!
    -- the closest I can come to an example for DN readers would be the US Army sending a commandant to Utah 150 years ago who had previously led forces against Midwest mormons.

    B-- I am in Portland. The businesses had a bit of a publicity hit for controversial statements, but they will be fine. Oman has the facts wrong again.

    The rest of the article is a standard sermon we have heard before and can't argue against.

    I believe it is totally against Jesus and Christianity to portray these disagreements in such slanted terms. No one is being ruined due to his opinion, but some people have damaged themselves by the inappropriate expression of their opinion or religion.

  • intervention slc, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:04 p.m.

    When my wife decided to go to law school her final choices were William and Mary or Cardozzo, she choose wisely when she decided not to go to William and Mary. I would be very angry if this was the level of discourse she learned. As others have pointed out this "reasoning " is very thin. It lacks true perspective of the issues and those involved.

  • anotherview SLO, CA
    April 8, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    I appreciate your thoughts.
    But I guess we wiil have to agree to disagree.
    Is the immediate goal to change policies and practices or is it to make sure everybody agrees with us?
    I simply believe in picking and choosing battles. I think it important to press against those who practice or advocate for discrimination in the public square against gays, and I would also press against those CEOs who make it a point to publically express their personal bias against gays.

    But I don't think it is productive at this point in time to root out every person who hasn't yet jumped on the bandwagon for LGBT equality. A measure of honey is often better than vinegar. I don't think the all or nothing approach facilitates the fight for equality. I think often it can have the opposite effect--hardening and energizing the opposition.

    April 8, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    2 tell the truth:

    How exactly was Mozilla's CEO treating LGBT customers differently? All he did was donate privately to a political cause he believed in. It wasn't even news until almost 6 years later!!

    LGBT boycotts have been about punishing those they do not agree with rather than "equal access" to consumer goods. For example, Chik-Fil-A never denied a gay person a chicken sandwich - their owner just expressed his religious beliefs on a religious program and was viciously attacked (by several elected officals no less).

    Reason and open dialog on both sides would make this a less volatile issue. It is the extemists who just want to fight...

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    April 8, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    Is making a political donation to a cause that the person believes in a valid cause to terminate someone's employment? Is boycotting a business that believes in a certain social or religious belief the right thing to do?

    Being consistent in your answers to these questions is important, but doesn't appear necessary - since the reality is "it depends on the cause."

    Listen to that prompting. Ask yourself, "is it right?" Do the right thing. Do it with kindness. Do to others as you would have done to you. Wouldn't it be better to do the right thing than demand your "right?"

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    April 8, 2014 2:51 p.m.

    So let us take the boycott argument to the next step. Let's say that the Gay Marriage people or the animal rights people or the pro or anti abortion people take offense, not at the opinions of the CEO, but at those of the Vice President of Company? Are you comfortable if he is forced out of his position? After all, he is also an executive of the company and should be equally targeted, right?

    And if the Vice Presidents are vulnerable, what about the managers underneath them? Sure, they are not the public face of the company, but they probably make all of the hiring and firing decisions.

    And if you have targeted the managers, what about the rank and file? They are really the true voice and culture of a company. You wouldn't want to buy anything from any company that would employ 'that' kind of person, now would you?

    So where does it stop, in the end? At what point do realize that we have found ourselves back in 1692?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    April 8, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    If Mozilla engaged in direct discrimination of a protected minority, then the corporation deserves to be boycotted.

    If an employee of Mozilla engaged in direct discrimination of a protected minority, then publicly call him down for it.

    If a citizen of the United States contributed to a political party or issue and/or spoke out in its favor, that should be an individual right.

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    April 8, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    Speaking of boycotts, let's 'focus' on "One Million Moms" (who are actually more like 64,000 in number - isn't bearing false witness a 'sin' anymore?) who call for them all the time.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 8, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    @ anotherview

    I hear what you’re saying: Let’s not railroad people. Let’s make sure we have good cause. But I hesitate at “cutting some slack” for a few reasons. One, I’m not sure this is a good idea BEFORE the law is settled (hopefully in LGBT's favor). And two, each time someone calls for patience, delay, cutting some slack, I think about the real harm that is being caused right now – today – and that will be caused tomorrow and the day after that until we gain equal status for all. I mostly think of the kids whose own parents look upon them as if they’re abhorrent. I know how this feels (though for different reasons), and I remember how desperately I hoped for the world to step in and protect me. One day could have made such a difference.

    So I just can’t in good conscience cut people like Mr. Eich slack. Not yet. It sounds like it is very likely that he treats everyone well, but that harmful belief is there and children are not yet protected against it. Let’s protect them first.

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    April 8, 2014 1:51 p.m.

    @ RedWings,

    RE: "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..."

    Sorry, but expecting to be served equally in the public, secular square is hardly "economic terrorism".

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    April 8, 2014 1:49 p.m.

    Re: "Gay marriage boycotts are not good for the market economy"

    The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies would agree. It makes it very, very difficult for them to conduct inter-State commerce. No gay (or gay supportive) employee is ever going to want to be transferred into a non-equal State.

    Heck, even the Indiana (!!!) State Chamber of Commerce agrees. (Yes, I said INDIANA's!)

    April 8, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    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...

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    April 8, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    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.

  • anotherview SLO, CA
    April 8, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    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.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    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.

  • Kally Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    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?

    April 8, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    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.

  • 1 Voice orem, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    April 8, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    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.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    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.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    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?

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    April 8, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    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?

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 8, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    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."

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    April 8, 2014 7:51 a.m.

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

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    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?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    April 8, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    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?

  • StudentofReason SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:30 a.m.

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

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    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.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 8, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    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 . . .

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 8, 2014 5:59 a.m.

    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

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    April 8, 2014 4:31 a.m.

    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.