LGBT activist Fred Karger and his advocacy group “Rights Equal Rights” on Friday launched a global boycott targeting multi-level marketing company Amway over a $500,000 donation by the company’s founder to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.
The donation was discovered in tax records obtained by Karger, and show that Amway president and owner Doug DeVos donated $500,000 to the NOM‘s Philadelphia-based Education Fund through his Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation.
In a letter to DeVoss announcing the boycott, Karger said he is “deeply disturbed” to learn of Amway’s support of the NOM:
NOM has been one of the most virulently anti-LGBT organizations in the country since its formation five years ago; I know; I have been closely following NOM and its donors for over four years.
NOM has funded and run anti-gay marriage campaigns throughout the country since California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. Now NOM and its political operative Frank Schubert are at it again. They are funding and running aspects of the four marriage equality state elections this November in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. NOM’s goal appears to be harming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans.
NOM has recently taken harsh action against Starbucks and General Mills for supporting full marriage equality in the states where each is headquartered. NOM constantly defends anti-LGBT companies like its ally Chick-fil-A and its owner for hateful and bigoted comments and actions. NOM has that right under our First Amendment and so do we. We strongly feel that the LGBT community and our families, friends and allies should not support companies like Amway whose owners gave $500,000 to one of the nation’s leading anti-gay marriage hate groups, the National Organization for Marriage.
We do not want the money that we spend to be used to take our rights away.
After much consideration and discussion, Rights Equal Rights has decided to declare a global boycott of Amway and its parent Alticor effective today August 3, 2012.
The Ada, Mich.-based Amway/Alticor and DeVos family companies targeted in the boycott include: Amway personal and home care products, the Fox Automotive Group, which operates more than two dozen auto dealerships in Michigan, the Orlando Magic NBA sports franchise, and the Grand Rapids Griffins American Hockey League (AHL) franchise. (A complete list is here.)
Karger said the contribution by DeVos appears largest family donation to NOM in its history, reported Raw Story. “Only the Catholic Church’s political arm the Knights of Columbus has given more to the ‘Hate Group’ NOM,” he said.
Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californians Against Hate) was founded in July 2008, just after California’s Proposition 8 qualified for the November 4, 2008 ballot, to investigate the LDS Church’s and the NOM’s campaigns to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law.
The group has conducted four previous boycotts against major donors to NOM and California’s Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, and settled two of these boycotts when the companies — Campbell’s Soup and Bolthouse Farms — gave an equal amount to LGBT organizations and changed certain corporate policies.
Rights Equal Rights’ two ongoing boycotts target Manchester Hotels in San Diego and Texas due to owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 early contribution to qualify and pass Proposition 8, and a nearly four-year boycott against A-1 Self Storage because of owner Terry Caster’s $691,000 in contributions to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.