Okay, so I need to weigh in on the issue of Amway President Doug DeVos donating half a million dollars to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). As a young boy growing up in Amway I had the pleasure of meeting Doug’s father, Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. He knelt down until his eyes met mine and shook my hand. “Dream big son. You can be anything you put your mind to. Don’t lose sight of the American dream.” That's what he said to me. Well what if my American Dream is to marry the man of my dreams and have every American see me as an equal?
I watched my parents and thousands of other couples parade across the stage at Amway rallies around the world and not once did I ever see a gay couple. In fact when I discovered I was gay my first thought was, “Oh no, what about taking over my parent’s Amway business? I can’t do that if I’m gay!”
This past summer my mother, no longer in Amway, turned seventy years old. My sisters and I threw her a big surprise party and invited as many people from her life as we could find, including my parent’s Amway sponsors. They were overjoyed to see me, but when I turned around to introduce them to my boyfriend Jonathan, they simply turned away and ignored him. They have made it known over the years that they do not accept homosexuality. They pretended like Jonathan didn’t exist.
A spokeswoman for Amway released the following statement in response to the recent boycott: “As private citizens, the DeVos family supports causes and organizations that advocate for policies aligned to their personal belief’s. The family believes one of the highest callings of any individual is to express their own personal beliefs as a participant in the democratic process.”
I could not agree more. However, when you are donating to an organization that prevents individuals from living freely in this democratic process you so admire, that is not advocating “for the policies aligned to their personal beliefs.” That is not supporting free enterprise or a society in which all are created equal. Rather, that's manipulating the system to appear all-inclusive while fueling an organization that believes straight people are better than gay people.
Amway then released this statement: “Our employees and distributors come from all walks of life and represent an incredibly diverse set of backgrounds. The Amway opportunity is open to everyone.”
If that is true, how many out gay employees work at Amway Headquarters? Does Amway have an LGBT community? That Amway statement is a big one to make in the press without statistics to back it up.
Rich DeVos made me promise to dream big and never lose site of that dream. Well Rich, I haven’t. Thank you for supporting this proud gay American. Now put your money where your mouth is and donate $500,000 to an LGBT organization. Be a real man like the ones I hang out with.