Saturday, May 26, 2012

NC Businessman's Stand For Marriage Equality Comes With A Cost

Dear T,

Hot for "a horse race," the mainstream press portrays "conservatism" as resurgent.

By my lights, "conservatism" is mustering its last gasp. 

It will take a decade or two for The Vacuity to implode, but the day is coming. 

The GOP has grown completely reliant on fear. Sure, terror can be motivational, but it gets old. Eventually, people get sick of feeling sick. 

Recently E.J. Dionne published a fine piece probing traditional conservatism's collapse.

Paradoxically, conservative opposition to Replacements Limited will boost the company's business.



PS Elsewhere in The Body Politic... 
The latino vote -- deeply alienated by The Party of Desperate White Guys -- is becoming a decisive political force, especially in swing states. 

North Carolina Businessman's Stand For Marriage Equality Comes With A Cost

Written by Instinct Staff | Friday, 25 May 2012

bob page
Large companies like Google, Microsoft, and Starbucks have been vocal in their support of marriage equality—and they haven’t seen their bottom lines be negatively affected—but what about smaller businesses? 
The New York Times, profiled Bob Page, 67, the owner of Replacements Limited based in North Carolina. Page, who is gay, put a lot of financial and public support towards defeating Amendment One in North Carolina. 
What did it cost him?
More after the jump.
The New York Times says, “The company lobbied legislators, contributed money to causes supporting gay marriage, rented a billboard along the interstate near its headquarters, and sold T-shirts at its showroom.”
Page’s support didn’t go unnoticed.
Though he received messages in support of his pro-equality stance, he also received a great deal of negative feedback—exemplifying the strong divisiveness of this issue in the state.
According to the NYT, “Hostile letters and e-mails poured into the company from customers canceling their business and demanding to be removed from its e-mail list. ‘I understand that your company donated $250,000 or so to the effort to ban the marriage amendment,’ read one. ‘I am very concerned that with an increased visibility and acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, one of my children, who would have grown up and been happily married to a husband, could be tempted to the lesbian lifestyle.’
Another read: ‘I was excited to see your wares and expected a pleasant shopping experience. Instead I was accosted by your political views, which I do not share. It was very uncomfortable and unpleasant browsing with all those signs and T-shirts against amendment one, to the point where I had to leave.’
A third said, ‘Money you used to support this opposition came from my many purchases from your company and that is not O.K. with me,’ adding, ‘I will look for my replacement pieces elsewhere.’
Several writers seemed more sad than angry. ‘Visiting Replacements Limited has always been one of my favorite treats,’ said one. ‘I had the privilege of experiencing your beautiful store firsthand,’ began another. Both said they would never return.”
We guess we know where to find a few of those One Million Moms…
Let’s note that these previously satisfied customers are choosing to take their business elsewhere because a business owner supports equal rights.
It’s certainly their right to choose where they spend their money—we, for instance, had to call a moratorium on Chick Fil' A (and their chicken, egg, and cheese biscuits) based on their choice to discriminate against us—but it’s an interesting decision to withdraw support from a company that wants to expand rights and equality rather than limit them.
Losses notwithstanding, Replacements Limited has annual revenue of $80 million and employs 450 people, all in North Carolina. Despite the negative feedback and the weak economy, Page told the NYT that 2011 was one of the best in the company’s history.
Page has no regrets about taking a strong stance in support of marriage equality. He and his partner have been together for 23 years and they’re currently raising 13-year-old Vietnamese twins.
Page says, “I just refuse to hide. I did that way too many years and it’s just not healthy.”
He continues, “I’m always concerned I will hurt our business. I know we have lost business. But I don’t have a board or shareholders I have to answer to. My life is not about money.”
And that about sums it up.

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