Constance Pelkey Designs

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Open Letter to Shaw’s Supermarkets in Maine

From: b woods
Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 1:50 PM
Subject: Shaw's Anti-Marriage support

Dear Friends,

This morning, at Shaw’s in Augusta, my partner came across a petition table for the collection of signatures to repeal Maine’s same sex marriage law. He made a complaint to the store manager and was told Shaw’s could not be selective about who they allowed to petition at their store. My partner informed the manager he would no longer be shopping at Shaw’s.

I called and spoke to the store manager informing him that I would no longer shop or use the pharmacy at Shaw’s because they were allowing the petition drive to discriminate in matters of civil marriage in their store. I told him I thought that I found it highly offensive that Shaw’s was allowing an organization, aimed at discriminating against a class of people in the law led mainly by select religious groups, to operate on their premises. His response was that Shaw’s was not taking a stand on the issue, just allowing the collection of signatures as they did with other petitions, according to their policies. I asked him if Shaw’s would allow the KKK to collect signatures for a petition to remove racial and religious protections of Maine Law, and he seemed to agree they would not. I said I believe that Shaw’s did not therefore seem to have a blanket policy about allowing any group to collect petitions in their stores and by allowing the anti-marriage organization to advance their petition at Shaw’s, to my mind, meant that Shaw’s was supporting legal efforts at discrimination and also a particular religious dogma. He said he would talk with other management and try to rectify the situation.

I have no idea if anything will happen. But I believe it’s worth letting businesses know that if they’re going to support anti-discriminatory efforts, they’re not getting your business.

I urge other people to take a simple action if you run into any petition collectors in businesses you frequent:
Inform the manager that you find it offensive that the business is allowing and thereby supporting efforts to change Maine law to discriminate against a group of Maine citizens. Further inform the manager that you will stop doing business with them (if you can) and that you will be urging your friends to do the same. Any action needs to be taken swiftly because in Shaw’s case, they allow the petitioners there for only two days.
Local businesses should know it is a bad idea to allow these petition drives at their store and it will cost them. If we are vigilant and quickly confront businesses about the negative message they are giving if they allow anti-marriage (and how it compares to other discriminatory efforts) petition drives in their stores and that they will lose business if they do, it may prevent a lot of shoppers from unintentionally signing a petition they would not otherwise. Please consider forwarding this message to your friends and associates and social justice organizations in Maine.

Bob Woods

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regardless of which side of an issue you are on, to disallow people from voicing their opinion or seeking support for their side of the issue is tantamount to someone doing the same to you.

You wrote; "Local businesses should know it is a bad idea...and it will cost them." which in and of itself is hateful. You then went on to write; "If we are vigilant and quickly confront businesses about the negative message they are giving...". Negative from your perspective, I completely understand, but not to the people gathering signatures who are also patrons of the businesses that allow them to do so.

In the end though it makes little difference anyway. On two separate occasions the subject of gay rights came to the voters and on both occasions the voters defeated it only to have our "representatives" pass a law in favor of it anyway! So even if it makes it to the polls and is repealed then the legislature will simply line up and vote it back to law in one fashion or another.

I personally have no issue with same sex marriage and wish people would get over it. I haven't been presented with the petition myself and have no intentions of signing it if I am but that doesn't mean that people that are opposed shouldn't be allowed to organize and get signatures.

If you don't want to be persecuted for your beliefs then don't attack others for theirs.