Equally Wed, an online LGBTQ wedding magazine, has declared today — August 7 — National Marriage Equality Day, and is encouraging equality-minded people to make a special effort to patronize equality-minded businesses like Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, Apple, Kenneth Cole, J.C. Penney, etc.
The publication is billing this as a “direct response” to last week’s ugly “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” when hordes of LGBT equality opponents flocked to Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country to show support for its anti-gay donations and comments made by the company’s CEO endorsing marriage discrimination.
Let me be clear: I think this is a fine idea and I encourage friends, family, and readers to participate. Heck, I’ll be participating myself by grabbing some Starbucks on my way to tonight’s Pride Vermont meeting. But if we confine our support for pro-LGBT businesses to just one day, we’re not doing enough. Every day should be an “equality day.”
As I wrote last year, it’s incredibly important for the LGBT community and our allies to vote with our feet and our dollars by patronizing LGBT-owned and -allied businesses whenever possible, wherever possible, as often as possible. Money spent on goods and services from anti-gay businesses like Chick-fil-A is money that’s used to reward and perpetuate the oppression of our community (and who in their right mind would want to do that?).
Thankfully, supporting pro-equality businesses has never been easier, as an ever-increasing number of companies large and small are waking up, smelling the coffee, and realizing that supporting LGBT civil rights is not only the right thing to do, but a good business decision. The Human Rights Campaign has a handy buyer’s guide that lists dozens of pro-LGBT businesses all across the country. If you’re unsure where to start in your hometown or want to focus on locally-owned business supporters, do what Michael and I do whenever we move to a new place: contact your local LGBT community center or advocacy organization, as many of them maintain lists of local businesses worthy of our LGBT dollars. Thanks to the incredibly interconnected world in which we live, a little online digging can also uncover a lot of information about companies and business owners who donate to pro- or anti-equality causes. And if all else fails, you still have one final option: calling them up and asking them yourself if they support or oppose LGBT equality. If they’re supportive, make a point of letting them know that you will patronize their business because of that support; if they’re still harboring Stone-Age views on sexuality and gender, firmly inform them that you’ll be taking your money elsewhere.
A little effort goes a long way and yields wonderful results. In our case, all of our medical professionals are either LGBT or allies, as are our accountant, lawyer, and the vast majority of companies we transact business with. Trust me, it feels good to know that you’re spending money on people and businesses who support your equal rights and human dignity. So by all means, celebrate National Marriage Equality Day today by sipping on Starbucks and noshing on Ben & Jerry’s. But don’t stop there — join me in making every day an equality day!