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Retailers Are Put on the Spot Over Anti-Gay Aid - Comments

Zarrakan's Avatar Comment 1 by Zarrakan

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

Homophobes (aka Anti-Gay Movement) are not protesting against bestiality, pedophilia (with/without a priest involved), rape, sexual exploitation, or any other form of non-consensual sexual act in which a victim is forced against their will to participate

The Homophobes are protesting a private sexual act being performed by two consenting adults.

HOMOPHOBE = I DON’T LIKE GAY (SUPPOSEDLY) THEREFORE NO ONE SHOULD BE GAY.

Homosexuals = fighting for the right to control their own behavior.

Homophobes = fighting for the right to control other peoples behavior.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:20:06 UTC | #875372

Zarrakan's Avatar Comment 2 by Zarrakan

"The marketer and the Christian groups are fighting back, saying that the hundred or so companies that have dropped the marketer were misled and that the charities are being slandered for their religious beliefs."

I think it's pretty clear.

The charities harbor hate for homosexuals, and use their money/power to victimize them.

Declaring hate a "religious belief" does not make it any less evil/harmful.

So it's good they are being brought to task on their support of homophobia.

Even if it's accidental, it's still support.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:23:13 UTC | #875373

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 3 by Sean_W

Wait a minute, they accept money that ultimately goes toward helping them "fight" homosexuality, but concerned citizens are terrorists if they fight back because gosh darnit, we're jus followin' tha bible.

I guess it hasn't quite sunk in yet that you have to provide reasons for why a protest against your organization is not justified, and merely pointing to a book a significant number of people think is bullshit doesn't cut it. That must scare the hell out of a lot of these people.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:23:51 UTC | #875374

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 4 by wisnoskij

Comment 1 by Zarrakan :

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

What? Homophobes are not some special case of hate/dislike. Me, you, or some other guy can dislike/hate religion without a constant 24/7 movie of mass being conduced going on in our heads.

Homophobes are not some kind of inhuman strange unrelatable animal, they simply have different beliefs. Disagree with them, but don't dehumanize them or you are just like the worst of the homophobes yourself.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:48:24 UTC | #875380

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 5 by KenChimp

Although as a Libertarian, I believe people have the right to sponsor whomever they wish to sponsor (within the limits of reasonable law), it is clear to me that this practice by these so-called Christian groups is another example of the covert war against reason that they are waging.

Every time I turn around we find yet another dastardly methodology being employed by fundamentalist religious groups to spread their dogma of fear, hatred and tyrannical ideals.

It is not only disheartening to know this. It is enraging!

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:09:41 UTC | #875384

BenS's Avatar Comment 6 by BenS

Comment 2 by Zarrakan :

"The marketer and the Christian groups are fighting back, saying that the hundred or so companies that have dropped the marketer were misled and that the charities are being slandered for their religious beliefs."

I think it's pretty clear.

I don't think it is - the companies are essentially buying traffic, paying for custom; it's what companies do, shell out for leads. That a customer then has the option to donate half of the commission that would go to the advertiser to a charity they can select from a list of available ones isn't really anything to do with the company that's buying the leads. They'd pay the same commission in either case and the customer, not the retailer, actually determines which charities are donated to. If the breakdown of donations is 80% to Christian Poverty Aid, 15% to Christian Irrigation Assist and 5% to Christian Persecute Dem Gays** then other, innocent, causes are being affected.

I don't think charities should even be allowed to be founded that actively discriminate and therefore this would be a non-issue, but they are, so this is. My point is, it's not quite so simple as one would think.

Of course, the above all depends on my understanding of the details of the situation being correct.

** All charities invented spur of the moment; any relationship to any charities, living or dead, etc.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:12:45 UTC | #875387

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 7 by AsylumWarden

And once again we see the old 'Telling me I'm not allowed to discriminate is discriminating!'

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:42:02 UTC | #875397

101observer's Avatar Comment 8 by 101observer

I mainly agree with BenS here, it's not the marketers who are at fault, and they shouldn't be the ones to take action. If I used money from my salary to donate to homophobic groups, should my employer fire me?

If action is to be taken, it should be directly against the charities that condemn homosexuality.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:43:59 UTC | #875399

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 9 by Cartomancer

The marketer and the Christian groups are fighting back, saying that the hundred or so companies that have dropped the marketer were misled and that the charities are being slandered for their religious beliefs.

I'm afraid it's only slander if it isn't true...

But it does amuse me that they complain about being slandered here. Deep down they must think that having their homophobia pointed out is a slur against their character. Which it is, but you wouldn't think a dyed-in-the-wool homophobe would think that would you? If accusations of homophobia are slanderous then why are they being so homophobic in the first place? Can't have it both ways I'm afraid...

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:45:16 UTC | #875401

btheist's Avatar Comment 10 by btheist

In as much I deplore the fact that these anti-gay groups are getting funding in this matter, in this case, I have a hard time holding the companies themselves accountable.

Affiliate marketing is fairly standard practice to drive buyers to your sites and/or products. Companies that employ affiliates, pay a commission on the sale of the product. What the affiliate does with that commission should only be questioned, if it is potentially doing something illegal, which in this case they are not.

I support gay rights and will fight for injustices as stridently as the next person, but there is a bit of Caveat emptor in play here. As a consumer, you should question the company you are buying the product from rather than the manufacturer. After all, now that you know the affiliate gives to these groups, you could choose to buy the product elsewhere.

I detest the sentiments of these groups and do not wish to support them in any way, however, even if they wanted to, Microsoft would not have any legal grounds to deny a religious group becoming a full fledged reseller or business partner.

Until you make religion illegal, there is not much we can do, and making it illegal is both impractical and useless.

In both dealing with religion in general and the specifics of this instance, the answer is in education of the masses. So by all means let's rally the troops for a boycott campaign and let's get the word out there, but let's stop blaming the corporations for doing something that is not illegal.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 17:04:00 UTC | #875405

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 11 by Red Dog

Comment 4 by wisnoskij :

Comment 1 by Zarrakan :

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

What? Homophobes are not some special case of hate/dislike. Me, you, or some other guy can dislike/hate religion without a constant 24/7 movie of mass being conduced going on in our heads.

Homophobes are not some kind of inhuman strange unrelatable animal, they simply have different beliefs. Disagree with them, but don't dehumanize them or you are just like the worst of the homophobes yourself.

I think Zarrakan's rhetoric was definitely a bit over the top. But I think he does have a point. For one thing its a fact that it often turns out that many of the people who work hardest against gay rights turn out to be gay. Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, many more.

Also, from a rational perspective why in the world can it really matter to people how other people choose to express their sexuality? Yes, I know its in the bible but restrictions against eating shellfish or wearing mixed fiber clothing is also in the bible and no one marches with signs that says "God hates Shellfish Eaters!"

As US comedian Hal Sparks says: "The only way gay marriage can be a threat to your marriage is if you are gay!"

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 19:05:06 UTC | #875444

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 12 by huzonfurst

@4, Homophobes are actively destructive people and should be opposed at every turn; they're not simply "people with different beliefs!" To enable these bigoted, anti-social attitudes in any way, shape or form, especially in the name of commerce, is despicable and shameful. Tolerance of intolerance is not a good thing!

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 19:16:38 UTC | #875451

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 13 by Red Dog

Comment 10 by btheist :

Until you make religion illegal, there is not much we can do, and making it illegal is both impractical and useless.

I think that's too soft a statement. Making religion illegal isn't just impractical and useless its immoral. A society that wants to value reason and critical thinking shouldn't sanction making any ideology, belief system, or religion illegal.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 20:01:10 UTC | #875463

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 14 by Reckless Monkey

Comment 10 by btheist

As a consumer, you should question the company you are buying the product from rather than the manufacturer.

I have to admit that was my first instinct on reading this as well, however would we feel the same if it was Microsoft selling through a store that donated money to groups that supported slavery? This is a free market which means I get to scrutinize companies based on many things, their morality, dealing with dictators, homophobes or whoever. It seems strange that a extreme right wing republican is arguing against choice in the market

“This is economic terrorism,” said Mike Huckabee

I'm inclined to think that companies should be ethical in who they deal with or market through. I don't like Apples policies on closed systems and DRM so I don't own any apple products. Is that more or less shallow than buying from a company who markets their products through a group who promotes homophobia, sexism, scientific illiteracy? Mind you we probably wouldn't be buy too many products if we examined their dealings too much but little by little hopefully they will start factoring in ethical dealings into their business models.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:57:56 UTC | #875514

lackofgravitas's Avatar Comment 15 by lackofgravitas

Seriously, someone needs a good, hard slap.
Volunteers! Please form an orderly queue and take a ticket from the dispenser.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 23:14:24 UTC | #875530

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 16 by Functional Atheist

Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council have both been designated 'hate groups' by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both organizations explicitly promote a homophobic agenda that is little different from the racist agenda of the KKK, or the anti-Semitic agenda of Neo-Nazi groups, and the process is de-legitimizing them, and eroding their sources of financial support, is appropriate and just.

Some may debate the SPLC's 'hate group' designations, but the truth is the SPLC is a widely respected organization: they are not on the fringe, but are in the mainstream of civil rights law in the US.

This campaign is legitimate. It is not about limiting religious expression, or about unfairly targeting retailers, it is about ending an important source of the financial support of hate groups. Substitute "the American Nazi Party" for "Focus on the Family" and I'm sure most people would agree that even indirect financial support is inappropriate and should be ended.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 23:36:13 UTC | #875535

brainsys's Avatar Comment 17 by brainsys

An ill-advised article. It succeeds in splitting the opposition to these homophobic groups. As someone who sees freedom to donate to any legitimate organisation as a fundamental right. A right to donate to one I disapprove of - even more so!

We should not confuse freedom to donate with the fight to undermine the legitimacy, morality and credibility of these groups. On the whole (in the UK) I have seen real and unimaginable progress on this in my lifetime. Still a long way to go (you don't destroy RC doctrine quickly - though they are doing a great job of making it daily more ridiculous) but we have homophobia on the run. These groups are Canutely trying to stem the tide. Don't worry just flow past ...

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 11:00:11 UTC | #875614

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 18 by Red Dog

Comment 17 by brainsys :

An ill-advised article. It succeeds in splitting the opposition to these homophobic groups. As someone who sees freedom to donate to any legitimate organisation as a fundamental right. A right to donate to one I disapprove of - even more so!

We should not confuse freedom to donate with the fight to undermine the legitimacy, morality and credibility of these groups. On the whole (in the UK) I have seen real and unimaginable progress on this in my lifetime. Still a long way to go (you don't destroy RC doctrine quickly - though they are doing a great job of making it daily more ridiculous) but we have homophobia on the run. These groups are Canutely trying to stem the tide. Don't worry just flow past ...

I don't think this is about freedom to donate. No one is saying that any individual should be prohibited from giving money to these groups. The question is should companies that promote themselves as being for gay rights be cooperating with programs that end up donating part of their sales to these anti-gay rights groups?

It seems to me its no different in principle than encouraging people to boycott stores that discriminate based on race or sexual orientation.

As for going with the flow the only way things will get better is if people pay attention and put effort into making them change.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 13:53:53 UTC | #875666

BenS's Avatar Comment 19 by BenS

Comment 18 by Red Dog :

The question is should companies that promote themselves as being for gay rights be cooperating with programs that end up donating part of their sales to these anti-gay rights groups?

Well, for a start, if we're being technical then these marketers aren't specifically themselves choosing to donate part of their sales to an anti-gay rights group - they're merely providing the option for their customers to select a group to donate to. It's a subtle difference, but important. Yes, the marketers provide the list of charities to supply, but the choice is the customers'. I'm presuming there are also sensisble charities in their lists, too.

It seems to me its no different in principle than encouraging people to boycott stores that discriminate based on race or sexual orientation.

Not quite - it's like boycotting a store that buys a service from a company that allows its customers to choose to support an organisation that discriminates based on race or sexual orientation.

Thing is, where do you draw the line? Boycot a company that buys a service from a company that purchases goods from a company that allows its customers to support an organisation...

After how many tiers does it become acceptable?

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:38:35 UTC | #875678

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 20 by Steven Mading

Comment 5 by KenChimp :

Although as a Libertarian, I believe people have the right to sponsor whomever they wish to sponsor (within the limits of reasonable law), it is clear to me that this practice by these so-called Christian groups is another example of the covert war against reason that they are waging.

Every time I turn around we find yet another dastardly methodology being employed by fundamentalist religious groups to spread their dogma of fear, hatred and tyrannical ideals.

It is not only disheartening to know this. It is enraging!

My only problem with it is how it's misleading. It's funnelling money from customers into a charity that the customers are probably not even aware is getting a cut of the purchase price.

It's one thing to say on a sign "A portion of the proceeds go to such-and-such", where the customer can see it. It's something else entirely to be sending customers' money to the charity without telling them.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 18:03:47 UTC | #875729

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 21 by BanJoIvie

Comment 10 by btheist

In as much I deplore the fact that these anti-gay groups are getting funding in this matter, in this case, I have a hard time holding the companies themselves accountable.

I guess it really depends what you mean by ‘hold accountable’. If you as a consumer do not find it objectionable for a company to use the services of affiliate marketers who in turn offer their customers the option support to hate groups with the poceeds, then by all means, hold them blameless. Iif other consumers do find such a practice objectionable, then I see no reason you should protest their making those feelings known to these companies and advocating for policy change.

I don’t see that any of the major parties here are advocating for companies to be held legally accountable for doing such business; making your references to various legal issues in the remainder of this post more or less moot. Every company is accountable to the marketplace, though, and no desire to keep ‘out of politics’ will exempt companies from dealing with complicated and sometimes contradictory consumer demands.

It’s always interesting to me in cases like these when the self-interested actions of one party are viewed as free choice while those of another party are somehow seen as interference with freedom. Bottom line, everybody in this case has freedom to choose: the corporations, the marketers, the consumers who buy through those marketers, and the other consumers who choose to take action against practices they find objectionable.

What the affiliate does with that commission should only be questioned, if it is potentially doing something illegal, which in this case they are not.

AND

As a consumer, you should question the company you are buying the product from rather than the manufacturer

You only get to decide for yourself what should be questioned when making consumer choices. In this case a number of consumers with a powerful voice disagree with you, and should use that voice however they see fit. The whole point of a market is that consumers set their own criteria.

I support gay rights and will fight for injustices as stridently as the next person…

Unless “the next person” chooses to fight [against?] injustices by lobbying companies to avoid the indirect funding of hate groups.

…there is a bit of Caveat emptor in play here.

Precisely. In this case certain buyers chose to beware buying from companies who did business with another company that allowed some of it’s sales commissions to be funneled to hate groups.

After all, now that you know the affiliate gives to these groups, you could choose to buy the product elsewhere.

Yes; or to chose not to buy the product at all and to inform the manufacturer of the reason for that choice. Furthermore, the manufacturer could choose to change course because of your complaint, or not. It seems clear from the details here, that there was plenty of room in the market for companies to take their marketing business elsewhere. Some did just that. Some returned after hearing other consumer voices. Everything seems to have been working well here.

…even if they wanted to, Microsoft would not have any legal grounds to deny a religious group becoming a full fledged reseller or business partner.

Well, I’m no lawyer, but I’d be genuinely surprised to learn that Microsoft needed any ‘grounds’ to refuse to partner with anyone. I’d have assumed that constitutional guarantees of free assembly and free association were enough to allow choosing one’s business partners for any reason, good or bad. I’m aware that civil rights law protects certain protected classes from denial of retail service or employment opportunity (quite rightly) but I had no idea that one could be forced to actually go into business with someone against their wishes, even if those wishes were based on rank prejudice

In any case, even if you are correct, the point is irrelevant. Clearly Microsoft, et al did have the legal right to end their relationship with this particular affiliate marketer, and found their grounds sufficient to do so; or at least their assumedly very competent legal departments did not advise against their doing so in this case. Some other hypothetical set of facts is therefore simply off topic.

So by all means let's rally the troops for a boycott campaign and let's get the word out there, but let's stop blaming the corporations for doing something that is not illegal.

The two clauses separated here by “but” seem contradictory. Are you suggesting we boycott the companies without blaming them? I’d think they’d rather have the blame. Or do you mean just boycotting this particular affiliate marketer, or the “charities” themselves. I’d imagine such small scale action would be far less effective at stopping the flow of cash to hate groups (and at getting “the word out”) than the actual campaign described in the article.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 19:59:28 UTC | #875760

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 22 by BanJoIvie

Comment 19 by BenS

Well, for a start, if we're being technical then these marketers aren't specifically themselves choosing to donate part of their sales to an anti-gay rights group - they're merely providing the option for their customers to select a group to donate to. It's a subtle difference, but important.

Important to you. Other consumers felt differently and exercised their power in the market accordingly…and effectively I might add.

Yes, the marketers provide the list of charities to supply, but the choice is the customers'.

No, some of the choices belong to the customer. The choice of a charity to support is only one customer choice in this case. The customer also chooses whether to patronize this particular marketer at all, or to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, customers decide whether or not to consider the entire list of “charities” when making buying choices, AND they decide whether to hold manufacturers accountable for soliciting traffic from a particular marketer.

Now the marketer also makes choices, including what range of choices to offer their customers. This choice has consequences like any other. One legitimate consequence is that some consumers may be dissatisfied by the inclusion of some options and complain to your suppliers.

And suppliers make choices too. In this case some suppliers decided that it was worth more to them in the marketplace to listen to certain upset consumers than to accept business traffic from a particular affiliate.

I'm presuming there are also sensible charities in their lists, too.

You are also choosing to let this factor ameliorate your opinion. I, on the other hand, choose to find it irrelevant. I’m curious whether the fact that there were sensible charities would also make a difference to you if this marketer gave patrons the opportunity to fund the KKK or the Aryan Nations.

I admit this is an absurd example (and I would hope that neither of these groups has legal charitable status.) I only raise it for the narrow purpose of testing whether the inclusion of “sensible charities” and the element of buyer’s choice is sufficient to exonerate other players from any ethical responsibility, in your eyes, for the funds that DO go to promote hate.

Thing is, where do you draw the line? Boycot a company that buys a service from a company that purchases goods from a company that allows its customers to support an organisation...

After how many tiers does it become acceptable?

“Acceptable” is all in the eye of the beholder. It appears that you would “draw the line” in a different place than would I. Fair enough.

For me, at least, no number of “tiers” is enough to make it “acceptable” to knowingly and willingly support hate groups with one’s name and custom, in principle at least. The degree of remove would have almost no bearing in my calculation of “acceptable”.

If a company did not know what a minor affiliate was allowing to happen at several degrees of remove, I might take that into account, but I’d considering informing the company of the situation and of consumer displeasure to be a positive step in that case. If a company had no viable options to doing business with an affiliate with bad practices, I might also consider that in some cases. In this case however, various companies clearly were able chose other avenues to reach consumers, and to absorb the loss of this one. Several companies chose to do just that rather than risk alienating a particular segment of consumers. I chose to hold that decision to their credit.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 20:47:09 UTC | #875771

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 23 by BanJoIvie

Comment 20 by Steven Mading

My only problem with it is how it's misleading. It's funnelling money from customers into a charity that the customers are probably not even aware is getting a cut of the purchase price.

It's one thing to say on a sign "A portion of the proceeds go to such-and-such", where the customer can see it. It's something else entirely to be sending customers' money to the charity without telling them.

Actually, it appears in this case that it is the indvidual customers themselves who actively stipulate where to direct the charitable portion of the commission.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 20:51:05 UTC | #875773

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 24 by QuestioningKat

I know that many of these companies inspect factories in China for human rights violations. They have dropped vendors that are not in compliance and have dropped factories that then further outsource work to other factories that are not in compliance. Why then deal with a marketer that allows the option of money being donated (by customers) to homophobic causes? Several of these companies rejoined this marketer after knowing this option. Yes providing this service is a subtle difference, but the option is provided. They could have chosen to eliminate these charities from their list of options.

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 23:32:22 UTC | #875819

educationsaves's Avatar Comment 25 by educationsaves

Simple I will check to see what charities are supported and I - (are you listening large corporations?) - I will not buy your product if you are funding these christian hate groups, or any organization that spreads myths as truths. I will not buy your product and I will check - Clear enough?

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:38:32 UTC | #875830