Guido Barilla the President of the world's biggest pasta company, Barilla, faced a backlash when he explained he would never allow an advert featuring a gay family as his product has a family emphasis.
"For us the concept of the family is sacred...we will not do a gay advert because ours is a traditional family," Barilla was quoted in Corriere della Sera as saying. He went further, ""If you don't like what we say, you can eat another [pasta brand]."
Emphasising the role woman have in the family home, he went on to state: "I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,"
It is important to note here that he does respect the fact that there are gay relationships and couples, that is undeniable, rather that for his company they target the family unit which in his view does not include gay relationships.
Guido Barilla insisted that traditional families have always been "identified'' with the Barilla brand and apologised if his words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone's sensitivity.
There you have it! An international company whose reputation is based squarely on promoting its product to the family unit is now receiving special attention by the gay lobby aiming to have its product boycotted.
The gay lobby's influence seems largely vocal, their loud voice in effect is limited and often counter-productive. The recent Federal Election illustrated that the gay marriage issue was listed way down the bottom of lists of voting reasons. australianconservative.com
Changing the Marriage Act was a low order issue with voters at the 7 Sept. federal election, according to a poll conducted for the Australian Christian Lobby. Just 13 per cent of voters said it was in their top three issues when deciding who to vote for, with the issue rating 9th overall out of 13 issues put to 927 respondents nationally.
Overall, the top three issues for voters were: (1) Economy and Jobs; (2) Hospitals and Health Care; and (3) Immigration and Border Security. Lyle Shelton from the ACL said: "The fact that Kevin Rudd made it an election issue and lost so convincingly, and these figures of just 4 per cent of Coalition voters supporting same sex marriage, mean Tony Abbott must maintain support for man-woman marriage as a party policy."
"Despite years of high-profile campaigning and the demonising of those speaking up for man-woman marriage, support for changing the Marriage Act appears to be slipping," Mr Shelton noted.
If this and other failed gay lobby reaches is anything to go by, Guido Barilla and his company have nothing to worry, more than likely sales will go up if past experience is anything to go bye.
Boycotts across the board
Interestingly there is a long history of product boycotts. This Wikipedia site lists past and current product boycotts on a wide range of items fro a variety of reasons, many of them political. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boycotts)
In 1769 Philadelphian Merchants boycotted export to Great Britain over taxation issues. In 1848 the Austrian Empire was boycotted by the merchants of Milan (Italy) for running State monopolies. 1919 China boycotted Japan over a political movement. The American Jews boycotted Nazi Germany in 1933.
More recently in 2002 Greenpeace and its allies boycotted the oil giants Esso/ExxonMobil over climate change denials and refusal to engage in renewables. In 2010 BP was boycotted by various groups for its oil spills. 2011 a boycott was called on the big banks across the world for their debit card fees.
In 2008 Stonewall boycotted Heinz for pulling an advertisement that had two men kissing. There are many more similar boycotts. In Sport the Olympics has been a political football with boycotts of various nations for various political issues. 22 nations boycotted the Berlin Games of 1936. 32 nations boycotted the Scotland Commonwealth Games in 1986 over UK PM Margaret Thatcher's attitude to South African sport.
There are theological boycotts as well. I was recently engaged in a Melbourne conference where several delegates choose not to attend as a particular speaker had been invited.
Boycotts have a legitimate place in any free democracy. They draw the public's attention to a criticism behoved by the objectioners, and along with a powerful media voice can draw a crowd.
Christians have seen the value of such boycotts with many shops and supermarkets now carrying "Fair Trade" products. In Melbourne the 2Pocket Fair Trade Espresso Bar deals only in Fair Trade products. This is drawing attention to the third world and it's poor who work long hours for minuscule pay.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at