Boycott For Equality

Oct 072004
Authors: B.A. Klaene

Boycott For Equality is calling for a national boycott today to

draw political attention to equality in marriage and the workplace

for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.

“This event brings into focus the economic contribution of gay,

lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens,” said Dale Duncan,

co-founder of Boycott For Equality. “And people understand


Boycott For Equality is recommending GLBT Americans and their

supporters withdrawal from the economy in four ways.

They encourage staying home from work in an effort to stop the

generation of payroll and income taxes. They also are urging

citizens to refrain from shopping and cell phone use to demonstrate

the presence of the GLBT community and to withdrawal $80 from an

ATM in an attempt to exhaust the funds at many ATMs.

“I would hope that (the boycott) would have an impact, but I

don’t know that it will reach the people it needs to reach,” said

Randy McCrillis, GLBT director at CSU. “People that are already

enlightened know about it, but looking at what major political

officials have already stated about marriage rights. I don’t think

it will do anything.”

GLBT Student Services, located in Lory Student Center, provides

services for 7,000 students, staff and community members, McCrillis


Boycott For Equality is an Atlanta-based, non-profit

organization formed to promote the boycott. The organization is

aimed at bringing political attention to the issues in the GLBT

community by demonstrating the financial contributions of the GLBT

to the national economy.

According to Robert Lawrence, professor of political science at

CSU, and Roy Meek, professor of political science at University of

Alabama, who is visiting CSU, this type of political protest can

have a negative effect.

“Whenever you do something like this there is always the

possibility of backlash,” Lawrence said. “I think quietly

negotiating with big corporations is a better way to achieve


Meek echoed Lawrence’s views.

“Any action of this sort tends to focus attention on that

group,” Meek said. “Thereby, people who have negative views of a

group can intensify.”

John Straayer, a professor of political science at CSU, agreed

that events such as boycotting can create a negative environment,

but added that this can create a base for social change.

“If this type of strategy does in fact translate into some

expanded public support for them, candidates and parties will begin

to recognize that and it will begin to work its way into the

platform,” said Straayer. “This activity alone won’t gain political

attention, but that kind of act repeated and repeated can

precipitate a shift in public opinion and that’s when the parties

will pick it up.”

The success or failure of this boycott greatly depends on

participation according to Steven Shulman, CSU professor of


“It will depend on how many people are in this group, then, of

that, what percent will participate in this boycott,” Shulman said.

“Then will anyone even notice?”

Shulman also noted that for a group to be noticed on an economic

basis, they generally need to conduct a lengthy event that will

affect a greater number of people.

“It’s a very important issue. I don’t think it is important to

the political spectrum currently,” said Dustin Blair, a sophomore

English major. “I think a boycott is a very powerful tool and if

used in the right way, it could work.”

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