The boycott of Cinemark theaters
launched over its donation to a gay marriage ban in California is
expected to end January 1.
The boycott began last year after gay
social groups learned that CEO Alan Stock contributed $10,000 to the
campaign to pass Proposition 8, the voter-approved referendum that
banned gay marriage in the Golden State.
Stock is a member of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), whose leaders
appealed to members to support the ban, resulting in millions of
dollars and thousands of man-hours' worth of Mormon contributions.
Leaders of the boycott said this week
they would end their boycott due to the company's plan to extend
benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian employees on January 1.
“This is a step in the right
direction,” Dave Hayes, founder of San Francisco Movie Bears, said
in a blog post at the group's website. “We're happy that
Cinemark has made this decision, but we plan to keep a close eye on
them and Mr. Stock.”
Leaders of the movie-going club
estimate the boycott cost Cinemark over $20,000 in ticket sales
Fred Karger, founder of Californians
Against Hate, the first group to publicize large Prop 8 donors,
said similar boycotts have been effective.
“The LGBT community and all our
friends have tremendous spending power and corporate America knows
that,” he said in an email to On Top Magazine. “They
[boycotts] have changed corporate policies 180 degrees, including
support for gay and lesbian organizations.”
The Plano, Texas-based company
previously said Stock's donation was a “personal action.”
“It would be inappropriate to
influence our employees' position on personal issues outside the work
environment, especially on political, social or religious
activities,” the company said in a statement when the boycott was
first announced. “Any individual act or contribution is just that,
individual acts of personal expression and do not reflect company
positions or policy.”
Hayes didn't accept that explanation,
saying his group was not going “to patronize a company whose top
person encourages hate.”
Boycott organizers continue to call on
Stock to offer an explanation and an apology.