Oklahomos roll their own boycott

I know these guys! I used to be a member of Cimarron Equality Oklahoma, which is running ads nationwide telling gay-friendly companies not to expand into Oklahoma. A number of anti-gay legislative efforts prompted the campaign.

It may have to wait until June, but I’m going to have to call them and say congrats on launching such a ballsy strategy–and for validating my idea of using the economic-development process to gain leverage in beating the antis.

Don’t quote me

Obviously I’ve been doing this Virginia thing ong the margins of a crazy personal and professional time… but I’ve done a lot of PR in my day and you would really think I could have pulled together some better talking points before my interview with the Washington Blade. How many times can one man use the word “just” in an interview? Just about a hundred! But the story came out pretty well, and people in Virginia definitely know about us now.

VAhaters in The Stranger

Oh how we love Last Days by David Schmader! We always have, but now our love is requited:

MONDAY, APRIL 26

This week of drug-addled athletes, dramatic arraignments, and deeply damning photographs got off to an uncharacteristically inspiring start today, as a pair of male homosexuals in Madrona launched their political indignation into cyberspace with VirginiaIsForHaters.org, a snappy website devoted to denigrating the so-called “love state” for its April 23 passage of House Bill 751, which not only outlaws civil unions, but prohibits “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage.” “We’re getting married in Vancouver on May 15,” say site creators Jay and David, “so we had plenty of other things to do at the moment. But this was such an outrage it was either do the site or have an aneurysm.”

Wisely avoiding brain damage, the soon-to-be-newlyweds staked their claim on the Internet, urging fags and their friends to boycott Virginia tourism and VA-based companies–starting with the beloved-by-homos clothier J. Crew. “There’s nothing particularly evil about J. Crew,” admits Jay. “But they’re all into being from Virginia, and now that seems kind of disgusting. With their loyal homo customers, we definitely saw them as low-hanging fruit.”

Apparently we’re going to be profiled in tomorrow’s Washington (D.C.) Blade as well; I did an interview with them on Monday.

Hopefully this will buoy our site traffic, which now seems to have shifted to haters.

Virginia is for Haters – the website

Update Jun 14 2004: virginiaisforhaters.org has been forced offline. For the time being, you can still see the front-page content at the Google cache.

If you missed the news (which we first mentioned here), Virginia sunk to a new low in the anti-gay-marriage fight last week, banning ALL contracts between same-sex partners that aim to approximate any of the rights and protections of marriage.

This is the most punitive and dangerous bit of backlash we’ve yet seen, and I felt viscerally that it couldn’t go unchecked. It may be unconstitutional, but overturning it could take years. In that time, same-sex couples with face illness, death, and other life changes without the benefit of the legal arrangements they painstakingly made in the past. David and I just did this last year, at great cost, and it was galling how little protection it offers compared with civil marriage. But Virginia is attacking even this slim recourse.

So this weekend, with a little help from David, I launched Virginia is For Haters … check it out. I’m still working out some of the style issues—it’s just another blog and none too pretty—but it’s up, just a few days after HB 751 was passed.

Basically, we’re going the boycott route, starting with every homo’s favorite source for preppiness, J. Crew. Our first activity is just to get people to cancel their catalog subscriptions. We’ll be looking for other good Virginia-based targets to add to the list—and of course we want people to skip any travel to the state. (Virginia’s decades-old “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan is, of course, the cognitive-dissonance inspiration for the site’s name.)

Longer-term and more strategically, we’re going to ferret out companies being courted by Virginia’s economic development department and let them know what’s up. (I have friends the other states’ economic development offices, they will be more than happy to share what companies Virginia is actively courting.) Virginia’s governor was against the bill, but was overridden by a 2-1 margin in the Assembly. We think a little more ammunition might make them reconsider.

This is obviously a lousy time (wedding-wise) to launch a new site… but duty calls. Of course I’d ask all of you to forward the site around via email and blog posts.

Boycotting Virginia, starting with J. Crew

As first reported here, Virginia has banned all contracts between same-sex partners. A direct assault on basic rights of property and association represents a serious threat not only to gay couples, but is for me the first state action that really resembles the Nuremberg Laws, in its specific denial of basic rights to a specific class. It imperils even the meager protections gay couples can cobble together at great care and expense (already a tiny fraction of the protections a $50 marriage license gets straights).

While I don’t think this means Virginia is drawing up a “Final Solution” for gays, I do think this should be a wake-up call. As painfully documented in The Pianist, European Jews didn’t fight back against the Nazis as things got worse, seemingly convinced that they would wake up to find it was all a bad dream. I for one do not intend to make that mistake. It’s a little early for us to take up arms (cf. Plato’s army of lovers), but I think we all have to do the minimum: start collectively whipping the Commonwealth of Virginia with our wallets.

I’m going to do some research towards putting together a list of Virginia-based companies, but let’s start with a favorite: J. Crew. Wow… that’s a painful one for me. I’ve been a great customer for almost 15 years, buying so much there during college that people actually called me “Jay Crew.”

It’s not their fault, obviously, that the State Assembly are such bigoted idiots. But homos spend a lot of money on the company’s products and I think we can make clear our displeasure rather rapidly. If Virginia wants to hurt gays and lesbians, gays and lesbians can take the fight back. It’s pocketbook for a pocketbook.

To announce the beginning of this effort, here is J.Crew’s customer care address: mailto:[email protected] . I’d suggest writing to ask that they cancel delivery of their catalog until such time as the Commonwealth ends its discriminatory posturing.

Their postal address, should you care to write a letter:

J.Crew Customer Relations
One Ivy Crescent
Lynchburg, VA 24513-1001

Virginia considers ban on any contract between same-sex partners

A bill before the Virgina legislature proposes to render any contract between same-sex partners void. This isn’t just about banning gay marriage. It’s about banning same-sex couples from using ordinary legal contracts — like the living will that Jay and I had a lawyer prepare so that one of us can make medical decisions for the other if he is incapacitated — from providing any of the “benefits” of marriage. The text of the proposed bill begins:

A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited.

This is just appalling. It does seem like the governor is attempting to water down the bill, but this deserves an outright veto.