Most Americans will have been aware in recent days of protests against and support for the restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A after it’s COO came out against gay marriage. Well, today the controversy has spread to Amway, after gay rights activist Fred Karger of Rights Equal Rights discovered that Amway President Doug DeVos has donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an organisation which has organised boycotts of companies that have indicated their support for gay marriage. He has now launched a movement to boycott Amway.
Now, some outlets are currently reporting that Amway made the donation. To be clear, it was not Amway, it was the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, which has no direct connection with Amway Corporation.
What’s my thoughts on this? Well, regularly followers would know that by American standards I’d be considered a “liberal”. I fully support equal rights for gay couples. I’m a former scientist and the science on homosexuality is clear. For the vast majority of people their sexuality is not a “lifestyle choice” and is not something that can be “cured” (or even should be). Homosexuality occurs throughout nature, not just in humans, it’s perfectly “natural”. I used to believe the battle over “gay marriage” was one of semantics that wasn’t worth fighting, let those who believe it has religious connotations have it, and set up equal rights through other arrangements. As I researched further I learned the long history of marriage, and it has very little to do with religion at all. It primarily originated with regard property rights, starting with who owned the females. It’s thankfully evolved a long way since then, but there are still many legal ramifications around property, and unmarried couples – whether gay or not – are discriminated against in many situations. I can see no logical reason why marriage should not be extended to gay couples and to not do so is clearly discrimination.
That’s my personal view, but I also understand other’s perspective on this. I support people’s right to their own opinion, and I support their right to express it. I also support people’s right to protest against companies or individuals who they believe are acting immorally, illegally, or in a discriminatory manner.
Where I think it gets difficult is where individuals support causes they believe in, but companies they are involved with, and others associated with them, take the brunt. Take Chick-Fil-A. Boycotting them doesn’t just damage the owners or COO, but also the individual restaurant owners along with, if a boycott is successful, staff, many of whom may not agree with the COO’s personal views.
I’m an Amway IBO, I absolutely disagree with Doug DeVos’s support for NOM. As an independent Amway business owner a boycott of Amway would mean a boycott of my business.
I can’t speak for Chick-Fil-A, but with Amway the vast majority of the money, indeed profit, from the sale of individual Amway products does not go to Amway, nor the DeVos family, it goes to Amway independent business owners, including people who support gay rights like myself.
So if you like Amway products (and they’re some of the best in the world) and are considering this boycott, ask your Amway rep if they support gay rights. If they don’t, then boycott them and find an Amway business owner that does support gay rights.