By Waymon Hudson, RedEye special contributor
10:05 AM CDT, March 26, 2012
While the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) may be best known for the Colbert Report spoof of their over-the-top and ominously cloud-filled "Gathering Storm" ad, the group has its gay-hating fingers in lots of anti-equality pies. From dumping millions of dollars into state fights to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry to spreading dangerous lies about LGBT families in interviews and commercials, NOM seems to have an endless supply of anti-gay bigotry to go around.
And they've just launched their latest attack-- or should we call it their latest effort to stay relevant --as they lose the inevitable battle against marriage equality.
At a recent Starbucks shareholders meeting, Jonathan Baker, the Director of NOM's 'Corporate Fairness Project', stood up and asked if the company's statement that support of marriage equality is "core to who we are as a company" came from the top down. Baker was smacked down by Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Shultz, who bluntly laid out the company's policy, saying:
"Any decision of this type or magnitude has be made with great thoughtfulness and I would assure you that a senior team at Starbucks discussed this. To be very candid with you, this was not something that was a difficult decision for us and we did share this with the board as well... We made that decision, in our view, through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity."
Shultz's answer was met by a numerous rounds of applause from shareholders.
Not surprisingly, shortly after the meeting, NOM announced a boycott of Starbucks and launched an accompanying website, Dump Starbucks. NOM's President, Brian Brown, explained the groups boycott in typical hyperbolic and apocalyptic terms:
"Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company. But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society."
It should be noted that this new (and obviously pre-planned) boycott endeavor comes at the same time as a huge loss for NOM in New Hampshire, where the organization spent millions of dollars first to fight marriage equality and then to try to threaten law makers if they didn't repeal it. It seem the organization needed a distraction after the Republican-dominated New Hampshire state House voted 211-116 not to repeal the state's two-year-old marriage equality law this week.
I guess caramel macchiatos were their idea of a great way to get people's minds off NOM's ineffectiveness.
But much liked their previously lampooned moves to gain attention for their bigoted views, the Starbucks boycott doesn't seem to get gaining much steam. NOM's boycott twitter feed (@dumpstarbucks) has only 28 followers, while an anti-NOM boycott feed (@PumpStarbucks) quickly flew by their number of followers within 30 minutes of being set up. In fact, NOM's hissy fit seems to have had the opposite effect, opening up a flood of support for Starbucks.
We've seen this effect in many of the extreme anti-gay groups' numerous boycott efforts. When One Million Moms, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center certified hate-group the American Family Association, launched a boycott campaign against JCPenny for hiring Ellen DeGeneres (a *gasp* out lesbian) as their spokesperson, they quickly had to drop it as the retailer refused to back down and support for DeGeneres flooded in. There was a similar effect when the same organization tried to call for a boycott of Toys R Us because the store was carrying an Archie comic that featured a gay character named Kevin Keller getting married to another man. The ridiculous move again had the opposite effect-- the comic sold out the same day it was released.
These repeated boycott efforts seemingly pulled out of thin air are really just the dying gasp of a bigoted movement fighting a losing battle with equality. As the tide continues to turn inevitably in favor of full civil rights (including marriage) for LGBT people, these ridiculous protestations are simply a way for failing organizations to try to remain relevant and in the news as they quickly lose their vaunted "culture wars." What they don't realize is that they are only staying in the news by making fools of themselves with failed campaigns and become fodder for late night comedians and online spoofs.
Groups like NOM and One Million Moms have the rather hilarious effect of only creating greater support for LGBT equal rights with their hate-filled hysteria and laughable boycotts. And that's something I can drink to-- maybe it's time for another venti Frappuccino...
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