I wonder how the cost/benefit/risk was calculated?

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.

Apple
At&T
Comcast
Levi Strauss
MTV
Pacific Gas & Electric
Qualcomm
Time Warner Cable
Viacom

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.

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7 Responses to I wonder how the cost/benefit/risk was calculated?

  1. Jesse says:

    Don’t forget Google on that last of yours.

  2. Good timing.

    My wife is in need of a new laptop. We were planning to get a Mac and dump Windows. Oh, well.

  3. Chuck says:

    Hi Jesse:

    Thanks for your comment. As for Google, my research indicates that the two FOUNDERS of Google have contributed a combined $140,000 individually, but that NO corporate money has been contributed to organizations opposed to Prop. 8. Otherwise they would have been included in my list. Frankly if individuals want to contribute, more power to them. Hopefully in this case they will have thrown their money away.

    Stan:

    Yeah, bummer. It really is too bad that Apple makes such good and attractive products. Their support for the defeat of Prop. 8 really came as no surprise to me. This sort of cause seems right up their alley. Buying anything from them has always been a struggle for me.

  4. Brandon says:

    I have to say I’m disappointed to hear about Apple. We own a lot of Apple products…and I plan on keeping them (they really are that much better).

    But I’ll have to wrestle with buying more now.

  5. Chuck says:

    Brandon:

    I don’t ever see making the switch to Mac, based on my computing needs. But who knows if those needs will change at some time in the future. But I do love my iPod and I have to admit the iPhone’s features are attractive. But with the iPhone, you get the double whammy of Apple and AT&T! The really messed up thing for us is that AT&T is the ONLY cell service in our little corner of paradise here in the Hill Country. So, like your plan to keep your Apple stuff, I am going to have to stick with AT&T, but will need to wrestle with any future upgrading.

  6. Brandon says:

    Very interesting the positions we’re put in.

    I found out last year that Whole Foods donates money to Planned Parenthood. Bethan and I have stopped shopping there.

    Who knew that by buying groceries for your family you were supporting people who are killing babies? Terrible.

  7. Chuck says:

    Brandon, It is getting more difficult to be a conscientious consumer. If you look hard enough, I suspect that far more companies than we care to think about are spending money in support of causes that will repel some of their customers. Even H.E.B. was caught a few years ago giving money in support of a “gay pride” event in either Austin or San Antonio. You have to ask “for what benefit to the company do they do something like that?” Why not just sell groceries, and do that really well! That could certainly be said for Whole Foods also, huh?

    The whole cause marketing “thing” interest me. Take Home Depot for example. During the Olympic Games they advertised the names of all the Olympic and Paralympic athletes they employ in their stores. And at the end of the Games, showed all the medals that their employees won. That’s good stuff! Now, Home Depot might have some skeletons of their own, I don’t know. But I would actually have a degree of respect for a company that would overtly declare that they support the murder of unborn children, (Whole Foods), or the mockery of the institution of marriage (see list above). That would be an approach on their part demonstrating the strength of their convictions, and would allow for consumers to make informed decisions about whether to do business with them or not. My respect would not necessarily turn into purchasing anything from them, but at least I would respect their integrity for honestly saying what the stand for.

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