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Amway president’s donation to anti-gay group sparks boycott

Republican gay activist Fred Karger has called for a boycott of Amway Global following revelations that the multi-level, direct-sales company’s president donated half a million dollars to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage in 2009.

On Aug. 3, Karger’s organization Rights Equal Rights launched the boycott to “support our friends and … keep pressure on the mega-donors to NOM and other likeminded organizations and individuals who so vigorously oppose Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality.”

The action is also a response to NOM’s current boycotts of Starbucks and General Mills for their donations to groups that support marriage equality.

“NOM constantly defends anti-LGBT companies like its ally Chick-fil-A and its owner for hateful and bigoted comments and actions, ”Karger said. “NOM has that right under our First Amendment and so do we.”

The Rights Equal Rights website states, “A global boycott of Amway will let others know that there are consequences of giving massive amounts of money to take away the rights of a minority.”

Amway has responded, clarifying that it does not discriminate in any way.

“Our employees and distributors come from all walks of life and represent an incredibly diverse set of backgrounds,” said an Amway spokesperson. “The Amway opportunity is open to everyone.”

Karger has directed four previous boycotts against donors to anti-gay groups and causes. Two of those donors responded by donating a like amount to LGBT organizations. 

Amway focus of gay rights boycott

Equal rights activists are encouraging a boycott of Amway based on reports that Doug DeVos, co-owner of the company, has given $500,000 to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.

Fred Karger, the openly gay activist who this year made a run for the Republican presidential nomination, says the community ought to boycott the Michigan-based company and its subsidiaries.

The boycott campaign is headquartered online at boycottamway.com.

Karger, in a letter to Doug DeVos, said, “We were deeply disturbed to read recently that you had given $500,000 to a known hate group, the National Organization for Marriage. 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.”

Karger pointed out his involvement in the ongoing investigation of NOM’s campaign finance problems in California and Maine and refered to NOM’s campaigns against gay marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

“NOM’s goal appears to be harming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans,” Karger said, adding that it is interesting that NOM promotes corporate neutrality in its attacks on Starbucks and General Mills but defends Chick-fil-A “and its owner for hateful and bigoted comments and actions.”

Defending a boycott by gay rights advocates, Karger said, “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.”

The boycott includes Amway, Alticor and its sister companies Quixtar Incorporated, AccessGroup LLC, all of their subsidiaries and related brands.

ABC News reported that Amway responded with the statement, “As private citizens, the DeVos family supports causes and organizations that advocate for policies aligned to their personal beliefs.”

On the Web: http://www.boycottamway.com/letter-to-doug-devos/