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A business in North Carolina takes a stand against gay marriage ban

A Company’s Stand for Gay Marriage, and Its Cost

By JAMES B. STEWART

In the months leading up to North Carolina’s vote this month to ban gay marriage, most of the state’s business leaders were conspicuously silent. While some executives spoke out against it as individuals, not one Fortune 500 company headquartered in North Carolina, including Bank of America, Duke Energy, VF Corporation and Lowe’s, opposed it.

But one company did: Replacements Limited, which sells silver, china and glassware, and is based in Greensboro. Its founder and chairman, Bob Page, is gay. The company lobbied legislators, contributed money to causes supporting gay marriage, rented a billboard along the interstate near its headquarters, and sold T-shirts at its showroom. Its experience may explain why no other for-profit company followed its example.

Hostile letters and e-mails poured into the company from customers canceling their business and demanding to be removed from its e-mail list. “I understand that your company donated $250,000 or so to the effort to ban the marriage amendment,” read one. “I am very concerned that with an increased visibility and acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, one of my children, who would have grown up and been happily married to a husband, could be tempted to the lesbian lifestyle.”

Another read: “I was excited to see your wares and expected a pleasant shopping experience. Instead I was accosted by your political views, which I do not share. It was very uncomfortable and unpleasant browsing with all those signs and T-shirts against amendment one, to the point where I had to leave.”

A third said, “Money you used to support this opposition came from my many purchases from your company and that is not O.K. with me,” adding, “I will look for my replacement pieces elsewhere.”

Several writers seemed more sad than angry. “Visiting Replacements Limited has always been one of my favorite treats,” said one. “I had the privilege of experiencing your beautiful store firsthand,” began another. Both said they would never return. Andrew Spainhour, Replacement’s general counsel and a member of the steering committee that organized opposition to the amendment, tried to recruit other businesses. “I had a lot of phone calls and e-mails that weren’t returned,” he said. “If I did have a conversation, they’d say, ‘Gosh, we can’t do this, we can’t go out on a limb.’ There’s a tremendous amount of fear.”

The company did get a few letters and e-mails of support, but the outpouring against its stand shows that the subject of gay marriage “is hugely divisive in our state,” Mr. Spainhour said. “It’s exposed a lot of fault lines. It’s a natural reaction for people to say, ‘We’re not going to anger 50 percent of the people that we do business with or want to do business with.’ There’s too much downside.”

Mr. Spainhour said he worried about Mr. Page’s safety, and has discussed his concerns with him. He mentioned Charles C. Worley, pastor of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., not far from Greensboro, who preached on May 13 that lesbians and gays should be separated from each other and society and quarantined behind electrified fences. “In a few years, they’ll die out,” Mr. Worley said. “They can’t reproduce.” Video of the sermon circulated on the Internet.

“Bob has been absolutely fearless in the face of that,” Mr. Spainhour said. “It’s a North Carolina that exists but that I don’t recognize. There are two North Carolinas: the progressive cities and college towns, and places where there are no openly gay people.”

Much the same could be said of America as a whole. Although recent polls suggest a majority of Americans favor legalizing gay marriage in their state, those who do are concentrated in the Northeast and on the West Coast. But even in those states most hostile to the idea, support for gay marriage has grown strongly over the past decade.

[more at link]

by Anonymousreply 6306/03/2012

If you're in the business of selling tacky collectible tchotchkes that only bigots wish to buy, you may want to tone down the Don't Panic gayporium positioning.

He should leave the state, develop taste, and work for Sothebys.

by Anonymousreply 105/25/2012

Email Bob Page and let him know we stand behind him!

by Anonymousreply 205/25/2012

My Grandmother's china is not tacky R1!

by Anonymousreply 305/25/2012

Shit I was getting ready to get some antique china replaced. Guess I'll def do it now.

I saw a show about this company and it's a great place to work. They are allowed to bring their dogs to work with them and the owners seem like great guys.

R1 they sell hard to replace china patterns, not tacky shit.

by Anonymousreply 405/25/2012

Where is IBM? IBM has a big facility in Research Triangle Park, NC.

I guess IBMs good history with the LGBT community was more a facade than anything else.

by Anonymousreply 505/25/2012

[quote]Email Bob Page and let him know we stand behind him!

Speak for yourself.

by Anonymousreply 605/25/2012

The workplace is no place for dogs. Unless, its a dog grooming business or something like Pet Smart

by Anonymousreply 705/25/2012

OMG—I just bought some replacement dishes and bowls from this company a few weeks ago! Glad I did.

by Anonymousreply 805/25/2012

Emailed the company and now looking at for some interesting patterns. I wasn't in the market for china, but I'm tired of the gay community not supporting their own.

by Anonymousreply 905/25/2012

Ordered replacement pieces of Haviland for my mom 5 years ago or so. Two years later for a phone call telling me they had the replacements and e-mailed me photos.

Great customer service on (formerly )VERY high end shit- not tacky shit-generally speaking.

Order up, boys!

by Anonymousreply 1005/25/2012

Fuck--I've been using a discontinued Iitalia (speaking of Finland) glass for years. They cost $130 each to replace.

by Anonymousreply 1105/25/2012

Here's a listing of corporations headquartered in NC. Some good sized companies that would be easy to target by not buying from them.

by Anonymousreply 1205/25/2012

Flame away-I don't disagree with the people who did not want to go to the store after the owners started selling T-shirts with their political views on them. It is no different than boycotting Target for giving money to anti gay causes and I would do the same to any store stocking "Mitt's our Man" paraphanalia.

by Anonymousreply 1305/25/2012

When someone boycotts a business over its bigoted apparel or positions, it is noble and correct. It is quite another thing to go after a business because that company stands up for a group's civil rights, R13. Asswipe.

by Anonymousreply 1405/25/2012

I am a partisan liberal, but even I can recognize your point is a tad biased R14.

"When I boycott something it is noble, when someone boycotts me they are scum"

by Anonymousreply 1505/25/2012

Where are they getting their replacements? Chinese sweat shops?

by Anonymousreply 1605/25/2012

[quote] lesbians and gays should be separated from each other and society and quarantined behind electrified fences.

I am a little concerned about the logistics of this suggestion. Would it all be single-cell? If you grouped some women together with some men in the hopes of heterosexuality, what would happen if the lesbians and gay men paired off instead? Same-sex enclosures wouldn't work, for obvious reasons. Solitary cells would be too expensive.

I believe the good reverend hasn't really thought this through. Unless it's all moot and a cover-up for when he gasses us all anyway.

by Anonymousreply 1705/25/2012

Just emailed the company and thanked them for their support.

by Anonymousreply 1805/25/2012

“I am very concerned that with an increased visibility and acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, one of my children, who would have grown up and been happily married to a husband, could be tempted to the lesbian lifestyle.”

HAHAHA. Is this bitch for REAL?

by Anonymousreply 1905/25/2012

I've always been turned off by southern accents. I have never hired a person with a southern accent. I have gone so far as to request another waite person to avoid listening to a southern accent. I just don't like people of any color or gender who drawl when they speak.

The North Carolina vote really reinforces the correctness of my discrimination.

by Anonymousreply 2005/25/2012

I've always been turned off by California accents. I have never hired a person with a California accent. I have gone so far as to request another waite person to avoid listening to a California accent. I just don't like people of any color or gender who speak that way.

The Prop 8 vote really reinforces the correctness of my discrimination.

You're RETARDED, r20!

by Anonymousreply 2105/25/2012

R13 and R15, you really need to add qualifiers as to WHY one is boycotting a business. To boycott a company because they promote civil rights for all is bullshit--pure and simple. To boycott a business because they deny civil rights IS noble and correct.

See? It's not difficult.

by Anonymousreply 2205/25/2012

She is telling you she has repressed lesbian tendencies R19.

by Anonymousreply 2305/25/2012

Thank you, R22. I was beginning to wonder if I had stumbled up The Free Republic: Big on Rhetoric, Little On Logic.

by Anonymousreply 2405/25/2012

R14 / R22, I see where you're going, but do you disagree with a consumer's right to boycott businesses becaues they disagree with its political stances generally? Like, what about people who wanted to boycott Whole Foods because of its executive's stance on health care reform, or people who want to boycott Target or Urban Outfitters for supporting Republican candidates?

I actually think it's fine for people to "vote with their wallets", but I think it cuts both ways - anti-gay bigots are free to boycott progressive busineses, and progressives are free to boycott anti-gay businesses. Those idiots in North Carolina are free to refuse to shop at Replacements - and it's up to fellow progressives who want to show their support to make up for that lost business.

by Anonymousreply 2505/25/2012

Let's start from the top and try this again, r25.

Nobody's saying people aren't free to boycott as they choose.

But YOU'RE trying to equalize ALL boycotts and say that ANY political stance taken by a company is the same.

If someone boycotts Target because it's a racially-integrated store, he's a bigoted asshole. If someone boycotts Bubba's Car Repair because he's a Klan member, then that's a sensible member of society doing something decent.

All boycotts are not the same nor are all political stances taken by businesses the same, as your post tried to imply.

by Anonymousreply 2605/25/2012

I thought about purchasing something from "Replacements Unlimited" in a show of solidarity, but why buy something I'd be too embarrassed to put in my home? I'll send an e-mail of support to Mr. Page (who, unfortunately, seems to be overcompensating by pursuing the trappings of a heterosexual).

by Anonymousreply 2705/25/2012

You'd be embarrassed to have Christofle silver flatware and Tiffany & Co. china in your home, r27? (I've purchased both through Replacements.)

You're a very sensitive little flower.

by Anonymousreply 2805/25/2012

Sorry, but YES, as a 31 year old gay man I'd be embarrassed to have china, crystal, and other tchotchkes in my apartment. Maybe when I'm a legitimate--not a DL-qualifying--eldergay I might change my mind.

by Anonymousreply 2905/25/2012

There is a world beyond Crate and Barrel, R29. And you don't have to be an eldergay to know it.

by Anonymousreply 3005/25/2012

[quote]Sorry, but YES, as a 31 year old gay man I'd be embarrassed to have china, crystal, and other tchotchkes in my apartment. Maybe when I'm a legitimate--not a DL-qualifying--eldergay I might change my mind.

If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. It's not mine either. But embarrassed? China and crystal are not those Precious Moments figurines. They are collectors items, right up there with paintings, pewter and silver. Would you be embarrassed of a pewter pitcher in your cupboard? Or would you be embarrassed of the cupboard in the first place? Would you rather it be a couple of milk crates stacked up with empty quarts of oil jammed in them?

If you need to, you can scratch your balls and burp before you answer, you masculine man you.

by Anonymousreply 3105/25/2012

I registered my pattern!

by Anonymousreply 3205/25/2012

LMAO at R30. I just spent $400+ at Crate & Barrel earlier this afternoon.

by Anonymousreply 3305/25/2012

Replacements Ltd deals MOSTLY in stuff seen being polished and cleaned by the help on Downton Abbey, not" tchotchkes" (R27).

Think Colonial Williamsburg and The Age of Innocence, not a Hallmark store at the mall.

by Anonymousreply 3405/25/2012

R33=Marie Antionette

by Anonymousreply 3505/25/2012

[quote]Sorry, but YES, as a 31 year old gay man I'd be embarrassed to have china, crystal, and other tchotchkes in my apartment. Maybe when I'm a legitimate--not a DL-qualifying--eldergay I might change my mind.

Then you can eat off a paper plate if I invite you over for dinner. You don't need to sully yourself eating off my grandmother's antique Royal Doulton.

by Anonymousreply 3605/25/2012

Homophobes buy china?

by Anonymousreply 3705/25/2012

[quote]I just spent $400+ at Crate & Barrel.

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 3805/25/2012

Crate and Barrel is a terrific source for vulgarities.

by Anonymousreply 3905/25/2012

The only people who care about china patterns are boring married couples and spinsters.

by Anonymousreply 4005/25/2012

Unless you eat off paper plates, R40, you too care about china patterns. Even if the crap you eat off of comes from Target, you CHOSE that pattern. And that pattern was designed for idiots like you.

Hmmm... something about cerulean blue...

by Anonymousreply 4105/25/2012

r40 = poor

by Anonymousreply 4205/25/2012

OMG OMG OMG they sell Gien china! I'm so fucking there. (French china, REALLY nice stuff)

by Anonymousreply 4305/25/2012

Oh brother. I broke up with one of you queens last year. By that I mean a pretentious asshole with food issues who barely ate, but was obsessed with china patterns and cookware.

by Anonymousreply 4405/25/2012

We use original Fiestaware for everyday dining. For special meals, entertaining and holidays we generally use Lenox' "Mandarin" or a an old set of Limoges we found at a lovely small shop in the Marais.

by Anonymousreply 4505/25/2012

[bold]WE GET IT[/bold], R44. You only identify with "straight-acting" guys. Your masculinity issues are boring.

by Anonymousreply 4605/25/2012

Thanks r2. I e-mailed.

by Anonymousreply 4705/25/2012

Thanks for posting this, OP. I tried to read it at work today but ran into that stupid fucking pay wall.

by Anonymousreply 4805/25/2012

It's sad that there are so many people clinging so doggedly and proudly to their ignorant and hateful bigotry.

by Anonymousreply 4905/25/2012

[quote]WE GET IT, [R44]. You only identify with "straight-acting" guys. Your masculinity issues are boring.

It sounds more like your masculinity issue, or some issue at least. You don't have to be masculine or "straight-acting" to not give a fuck about china.

by Anonymousreply 5005/25/2012

If you can spare a minute, e-mail this guy to help make up for all the nasty messages from the NC hate-mongering fundies. He's linked at R2.

by Anonymousreply 5105/26/2012

How can people be that bigoted, that hateful? How can they not be ashamed of themselves for behaving like this?

My god...

by Anonymousreply 5205/26/2012

Apparently he's gotten quite a bit of new out-of-state business from the article. Hooray for the internet!

by Anonymousreply 5305/27/2012

Isn't Mitchell Gold furniture also a giant corporation in NC owned by teh geys?

by Anonymousreply 5405/27/2012

I emailed the company and got a very heartfelt thank you.

Good people deserve support, not control freaks arguing that china and those who own it are boring.

It's not all about you, kid.

by Anonymousreply 5505/28/2012

[quote]Oh brother. I broke up with one of you queens last year. By that I mean a pretentious asshole with food issues who barely ate, but was obsessed with china patterns and cookware.

We're also obsessed with big manly cocks which I'm guessing Princess Tiny Dick (R44) was REALLY uncomfortable with.

by Anonymousreply 5605/28/2012

Queens into antiquing have a lot of nerve insinuating other people are feminine/princesses!

The only people who care about stupid shit like Nana's napkins, Mother's silver serving knife, or their favorite aunt's china are straight women and a subset of gay men (who are hellbent on keeping stereotypes alive).

by Anonymousreply 5705/28/2012

r44, do you retain his number?

by Anonymousreply 5805/28/2012

Just a comment about the purchasing side of Replacements Ltd. I have a second set of my grandmother's china that I don't use and wanted to get rid of, so I contacted Replacements Ltd. and told them what I had.

They offered me between fifty cents and eighty cents per piece, and I would have to pay the shipping to get it to them. They sell the same pieces of the very same pattern for anywhere from twenty dollars on up.

Now, I understand making a profit, but twenty-five hundred percent? Or more? Really?

by Anonymousreply 5905/28/2012

r59, or sell it on eBay directly. The low price offered is because it has to be warehoused for years before someone wants some specific pattern.

If it is a popular pattern, save yourself the grief and sell it on your own.

Replacements is not a great place to sell things and their prices are the standard for what you should pay the most for an item.

But if what they have is all there is, Replacements is irreplaceable.

Think of all the Fiesta Ware he had to sell to donate $250K!!!

by Anonymousreply 6005/28/2012

Order some damn stuff from these people or stfu. Show the world that, at least, we will back up the people risking their businesses for our rights.

by Anonymousreply 6105/28/2012

I e-mailed and thanked them for taking a stand -- got a nice reply today.

by Anonymousreply 6205/30/2012

I have to admit I live in NYC now. I moved from Texas about 5 years ago. Though, NYC is completely different from Texas in many ways; it has been a strange transition. The city is much more liberal.

I've been openly gay since I was a teenager in Fort Worth, Denton, and Lubbock, TX. Of course, growing up in the arts helped. Though I was rarely harassed in Texas I did have an unusual experience in NYC recently.

I can't really tell you if the well-dressed good looking gentleman on the street attacked me for being a homosexual or simply for being a woman. My dog "peed" on his tree (this would be a Manhattan sidewalk tree). There was yelling back and forth, but nothing derisive was said, until he said, "If you are going to stand up like a man, I'm going to beat you like a man."

He dropped me in one punch and claims to have only hit me four times. I was only conscious for two.

He fractured my orbital bone (right eye) broken my check in two, places, broke (x2) and traumatized six teeth, etc and so on. He gave me a traumatic brain injury that I will never recover from. Here's the kicker...I was finishing my Ph.D at the time.

Did I mention he was an ex-boxer with a hundred pounds of muscle on me. He dropped me with a single punch. I staggered to my feet blood flowing everywhere, and he said, "Oh, you want some more, huh." (This was corroborated by a separate eye witness.) I was beaten unconscious and left for dead...this of course occurred at a busy intersection at 5 in the after noon in Manhattan. The witness was even smaller than me.

Mr. Kahn "the sugerbear" Hightower claimed there was no blood and he didn't know I was a woman, which is a bit difficult to believe if you ever met me. The cab driver from behind knew I was a woman, and called 911 saying a man was beating up a woman and there was blood. Send an ambulance.

Was he a misogynist or homophobic? I don't know. It ended up not being a he said/ she said case. I was lucky. There was an independent cab driver that saw the incident from about the beginning. He testified in spanish and said he had never met either of us before the incident. His testamoney and mine matched 13 months later...Mr. Hightower's story was completely different. He said I hit him in the ear, gave him and ear infection, and he had to go to an acupuncturist. (I really can't make this up). He had no documentation to prove this.

The assailant, Kahn Hightower, is now guilty of a class A misdemeanor. He can serve up to one year in jail.

I am a Ph.D student (or was...we will have to see if my brain can heal enough), who now suffers from epilepsy and migrains, plus I spend hours a day trying to get myself back up to a doctoral level.

NYC is known to be a liberal city. I lived in Harlem for four years. It was not a racial incident on any level. He was an angry man looking to beat up on a woman , in my opinion. I moved Burroughs; I hated to give up my apartment, but it happened a block from where I lived.

Hate crimes are behind the times. Up to one year for permanent brain injury. You see for him to get the felony he had to specifically want to cause me brain injury in particular. I still wonder how one proves that.

He had no defense to speak of. He admitted to wanting to cause me harm and physical injury, as far as I know, but didn't mean to cause me brain damage.

I was a successful published and award winning writer before this, but I am well below the doctoral level.

I can only hope he will not reoffend.

His sentencing is set for July 10th, 2012.

I have no idea how I will pay the medical bills for the rest of my life, but he doesn't have to worry about that.

He cried when he was found guilty the ADA told me. No one wants to go to Rikers.

I am still a blogger and writer, though I doubt you will hear much from me before 7/10/12.

In the end, I'm not quite certain why I told my story I was just reading about Bob Page, and how alone his was. I was always surrounded by friends, sadly my family has passed.

Bob Page stood up in a community. Good enough.

by Anonymousreply 6306/03/2012
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