The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

When you seek out NOM, you forfeit neutrality

July 02, 2012, by Jeremy Hooper

LGBT people and their supporters buy things. Lots of things, in fact. Most companies would understandably care to tap into this market.

When companies come out on behalf of LGBT people and their supporters on something like marriage, this comes at the expense of no one else. After all, most American companies are presumably supportive of their heterosexual consumers' right to enter into civilly-bound partnerships, and yet that support does not affect the consumer habits of even one LGBT person that I know (self included).  Despite what modern conservatives have led you to believe, marriages are not, in fact, weapons.

But now check this out. This is how NOM (i.e. the org that most fully wants Americans to see gay people's marriages as weapons), while trying to build steam for its failure of a Starbucks boycott, details a new partnership it has entered into with a company that specifically sought out the special interest group in order to become an alternate coffee provider:

Check out Jitters and Bliss Coffee! Jitters and Bliss came to us a few weeks back and said that they respect the views of all of their customers on marriage and that they would like to work with us to provide high-quality coffee to former Starbucks customers through their online store.

Let me be clear. Jitters and Bliss has not, as a corporation, taken a position in the debate over marriage. Just like every company, they have customers, employees, and vendors who hold personal views on what marriage ought to be. They are committed to honoring those views by maintaining a neutral corporate position on marriage.
Great coffee for a fair price from a company that respects the diverse views of all of their customers on marriage. Check out Jitters & Bliss Coffee!

Don't forget to enter the promotional code "marriage" to receive 5% off your order and support marriage!

[NOM Blog]

Hasn't taken a position? That's a complete joke! This is NOM we are talking about. This effort—which, Screen Shot 2012-07-02 At 2.01.44 Pm-1again, NOM says this Jitters and Bliss company actively sought—is specifically meant to embolden the "Dump Starbucks" boycott. That is a position—and it certainly isn't a neutral one!  This company, Jitters and Bliss, clearly wants to be the anti-equality counterpoint to Starbucks' pro-equality point.  If they want the influx of cash then they must own the baggage attached to it.

The social conservatives love to toss around the word "neutral" (the American Family Association has been using that word for years), as if (a) supporting human rights is somehow an act of war and (b) submitting to the other side's discriminatory wishes is the only acceptable stance. In truth, there would not *be* another position! In a perfect or even better world, we would not have groups like NOM or the AFA turning people's loving, legal marriages into some sort of nuclear bomb, thus benign support for certain customers' unions wouldn't be a controversial business practice. Staying out of people's marriages would be the neutral (and obvious!) position.

In our world, however, we still have groups hellbent on fostering a "culture war" mindset. A growing number of principled businesses are trying to get us beyond that sadly divisive state of affairs by making strong statements of support that they hope will be received in the non-militarized spirit in which they were intended. Other companies, unfortunately, choose to cater to NOM. Both kinds of companies have every right to make these individualized choices. However, they also have to stand by their choices.