According to this article, several law professor groups are threatening to boycott AALS events held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, because the hotel's owner contributed $125,000 to an initiative to ban same-sex marriage in California.
On the one hand, I am a supporter of same sex marriage. On the other hand, it's not entirely clear to me when it's appropriate to boycott a business because I disagree strongly with the political position of its owner. When does a belief become so repugnant so as to warrant a boycott? For example, if I believe in abortion rights (I do), should I boycott a business because its owner contributed money to an antiabortion group? (For example, should I have boycotted Domino's Pizza in the 1990's because its primary shareholder at that time contributed to such causes?)
Consider two other examples. Imagine a boycott of a business by Democrats because the owner contributes to the Republican Party. Such a boycott, in my view, would be quite undesirable. People, including business owners, should be allowed to contribute to major political parties without fear of financial reprisals. But what if the owner contributes to the American Nazi Party? That seems different to me, and I would feel entirely comfortable boycotting that business.
So where does the AALS case fall? In my view, it falls in between boycotting a business because of GOP contributions (a bad idea) and boycotting a business because of Nazi Party contributions (a good idea).
My view is still tentative, but I think same sex marriage (as much as I support it) is still a very contentious issue over which reasonable minds disagree. Given the nature of the issue, I don't feel comfortable boycotting a large business, because its owner contributed money to an initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in California.
UPDATE: Paul Caron has collected a wide range of blog commentary about this issue here. Most of the posts appear to be against the boycott.