Proposition 8 is the ballot item in California, which if passed November 4th, will amend the California constitution to permanently define marriage as between one man and one woman. This would effectively reverse-the-reversal made by the California Supreme Court earlier this year when it struck down a voter approved measure to so define marriage in its traditional terms.
Let it first be said that I am not a resident of California (thank you, Lord), so I have no standing in the matter. However, that is not to say that I don’t have an opinion. Secondly, as I understand it, California already has some of the most progressive “partner rights” laws in the country, effectively granting same-sex partner privileges for such things as health care decision making and visitations and some of the other matters that the GLBT lobby has cried for as having been formerly denied to them because they lacked the legal status of a marriage. So, “marriage” really is a straw man for them. Insofar as “rights” and benefits are concerned, this is purely symbolic. Finally, this whole matter is, to say the least, divisive. There are militants on both sides of the issue, but they probably represent only a small percentage of Californians. Still, virtually everyone has an opinion on the subject and many of them will vote on Prop. 8. I have no idea how this may turn out at the polls. But if the results are similar to what they were several years ago when voters were asked to indicate their opinion, the measure will likely pass by a significant margin. That said, Barry Obama has indicated he is in favor of the defeat of Prop. 8, and he will draw lots of folks out to the polls, so who knows?
Irrespective of which side of this debate you are on, you must admit that it is amazing that major corporations would provide financial support to the groups seeking to defeat Prop. 8. Or more to the point, why support EITHER side? Why pick a side at all? It seems like they are risking their reputations and more importantly their businesses. I would love to have been able to listen in to the discussions (assuming there were any) as the decision makers weighed the cost of supporting such a divisive issue against the perceived benefits and risks. Is the consumer buying power that great among GLBT’s in California to make this a no-brainer for them? How about the buying power of the GLBT’s around the country? Will that be enough to offset the potential losses from people around California and the rest of the country who might find support for the defeat of Prop. 8 to be repugnant? How are these calculations made?
While consumers can certainly make their voices heard with the way they choose to do business with these companies, shareholders ought to really be outraged. As owners of these companies, their profits have been reduced by the amount contributed in support of a cause they may have no interest in supporting. A cause that, insofar as the core mission of these companies is concerned, there is NO correlation. And unless the contributions can be rationalized as a “marketing expense” that produces increases in business in excess of potential losses of business, these really were dumb moves.
Here is a partial list of corporations who have contributed money to support the defeat of Proposition 8 in California. These names were gathered from websites of major news sources, and groups, some in favor of, and some opposed to Proposition 8. If there are corrections that need to be made to this list, I will be happy to do so, if you can provide verifiable evidence of an error.
Pacific Gas & Electric
Time Warner Cable
So, are you still thinking about that Mac for Christmas? I had sort of tossed around an iPod Touch for my holiday wish list. But now…not so much. And as for an iPhone at some point in the future. Gonna have to rethink that! Good news is that I already have satellite TV, so that’s a switch I won’t have to make.