Prop 8-Supporting Salt Car Dealer Wants to Resolve Things with the Gays


OPERATION BOYCOTT — You donated money to support Prop 8 and strip civil rights away from Americans. And thanks to the same system that lets you donate that money to support a political agenda, your names were added to a public list. And since knowledge is power, that roster of hatred is now being used to keep you from generating another penny that could be used for homophobia. Meet Katharine Garff, who donated $100,000 to support Prop 8, and is now seeing Ken Garff Automotive Group — the auto dealership, with 53 locations in six states, including California and Utah, that her husband is chairman of — placed under boycott. Oh, what’s this? The company now wants to resolve things? March on.

A boycott of one of Utah’s most prominent car dealers remains in place for now, in spite of what both sides described Thursday as an amicable and productive face-to-face meeting aimed at resolving it.

John Garff, president of Salt Lake City-based Ken Garff Automotive Group, and Fred Karger, head of Californians Against Hate, both said a resolution to the conflict was in the works, after a two-hour meeting on Wednesday.

The California group has called for a boycott of 53 Garff dealerships across six states, including California and Utah, in retaliation for a $100,000 campaign donation made by Katharine Garff, matriarch of the Garff family, in support of Proposition 8, last year’s successful initiative to ban same-sex marriage.

Katharine Garff, who was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment, is company president John Garff’s mother. She made the donation to the pro-Prop 8 group, a week before the Nov. 4 election, according to filings with the California Secretary of State.

Karger and John Garff said they had agreed to keep the substance of their settlement discussions confidential for now, but both confirmed that Karger was drafting a proposal for steps the company might take to resolve the boycott, following the pair’s meeting late Wednesday at Garff offices.

“Fred and I focused on common ground, and there is plenty of common ground,” Garff said of their meeting, adding that the exchange included details of the company’s extensive history of support for Utah’s gay and lesbian community.


In addition to having a nondiscriminatory policy on hiring and employment, Garff Automotive is an annual donor to the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign and has donated vehicles to the Utah Pride parade, along with a range of other diversity-promoting causes, Garff said. [Salt Lake Trib]

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  • Not Thinking This Through

    So, just out of idle curiosity, what happens when Mormons and those who supported Prop 8 generally respond to the backlash and boycotts by drawing up lists of gay-owned enterprises and start boycotting them?

  • Raphael

    How about we call off the boycott when we get the right to marry?

    If the “leaders” Garff is negotiating with suggest anything less, they have lost what little credibility they still had.

  • walt zipprian

    do you think a lot of mormons shop at gay owned businesses?

    me neither.

  • Darth Paul

    @walt zipprian: Probably not, but given that we’re everywhere, they probably have an assortment of gay service workers, like massuers, cooks, gardeners, yoga instructors (oh…wait, that’s too “heathen” for mormons, my bad), personal trainers, hair dressers, decorators, etc. Maybe even the odd (but closeted) attorney or doctor.

    I’m amused that this Karger thinks he can speak for all people boycotting. Just because he says it’s cool doesn’t mean a damn thing.

  • Sebbe

    I don’t think their supporters are likely to frequent gay owned business in the first place. Furthermore, the pink dollar goes a lot further than that of the magic undies crowd. Especially since most of them have like a gazillion kids.

  • Heather

    Re: mormons and pro8 people boycotting gay businesses…

    Groups already do this. Boycotting businesses is not new. The “American Family Association” … basically an anti-gay group, boycotted McDonalds for their attempt to create equality and forced McDonalds to withdraw their support of gays.

    Boycotting is a common protest tool. It also makes sense. Why would someone give money to a company promoting discrimination?

  • andy

    Thanks Heather for pointing out what has been going on for years! Yes they have been boycotting us for years and using boycotts to steer corporate policies their way. Boycotting is a way to use your money to and choices to make a statement.

  • Greg Ever

    While they may have good intentions, it’s pretty pathetic that they can’t even spell the name of their own website correctly in their logo image. It’s little things like this that make me wonder how much people really care and how much effort they put into showing their beliefs.

  • GranDiva

    @Not Thinking This Through:
    That is their right as much as it is ours to boycott them. I suspect it’s highly unlikely that many would be inclined (by their known anti-gay tendencies) to knowingly do business with out gay companies to begin with.

    I think there are enough gay-neutral (read: pragmatic) people out there who don’t care one way or the other about boycotting any business, gay or straight. I don’t think this is about Garff business practices, because I don’t think a gay boycott would affect the bottom line any more than an AFA boycott does; it’s about PUBLIC PERCEPTION more than anything else, and that does affect the bottom line.

    On another tack, Barnes & Noble isn’t blatantly anti-gay, but I try to avoid shopping there whenever possible, simply because they’re putting smaller, independently owned book shops — gay and straight — out of business with absolutely no concern for local constituencies. How would a company like B&N do the inverse?

  • ask ena

    Sounds to me like the son has nothing much to do with the “matriarch’s” politics…if he is actively supporting gay rights in private ($$ donations) as well as public (vehicle donations at parade) ways…

    Does the Matriarch Garff have anything to do with the auto chain? If not, why are we boycotting them exactly??

  • Martha

    Karger has balls and I appreciate his lists . tips on these bigots.
    I am always appreciative of info so I can avoid a supporting a certain business or its profit sharers who are anti-gay and supported Prop 8.

  • Jesse

    This boycott is ridiculous. The company (or Ken Garff) did not donate to Prop. 8. The company doesn’t even donate to political causes. We seriously want to boycott a business because the mother of the owner contributed to Prop. 8?

    I’m assuming there are some parents of gay people who unfortunately contributed to Prop. 8, but I doubt that we’d boycott a gay person’s business because of that contribution. I’d support a boycott of Katherine Garff’s business, not her son’s.

    This is the dealership that services my car and I’ll continue to go back. I’m not going to punish the “child” for the sins of the [mother].

  • Bruno


    That’s fair enough, I understand your position. But this is a culture war, and we’ve realized we have to win at great costs. Personally, the legality of our marriages supersedes the small amount of business and large amount of respect this company would lose as a result of this call for boycott. But also, look at what kind of a mutual respect might be forged between the LGBT community and this company as a result.

  • Bruce


    Think about how much influence a Mormon mother has over a Mormon son. Not only that but we have to be out to win, this is true of any minority against any majority, especially when that majority gets to tel the minority how to live or love.

    We aren’t terrorists we’re just doing what the religious organizations have been doing for years, getting policy change by not spending money with companies we feel don’t have our best interest at heart.

  • d8alterego

    Also, to let the anti-gay crowd get away with discrimination just reinforces their behavior. Showing them that their actions have consequences makes them think twice.

  • Jesse

    @ Bruce:

    I think a personal boycott of a business because you believe they don’t have your best interest is okay because that’s a personal decision. I don’t think this organized boycott is okay because we have no evidence that the actual business did anything.

    Speculating on the familial influence isn’t enough for me because that is a huge generalization. I think the statement has some truth, but it discounts the personal opinions and intelligence of Ken Garff or any other child with a mother. Plus, if he had an overbearing mother, wouldn’t he be gay? ;)

    But seriously, punishing someone for what another member of their family believes is a dangerous path for us to follow.

    Think about the reverse: why would it be effective for a group of people to boycott your parent’s business (one that you have no association with) only because you are their gay son?

  • Sebbe

    Well and now Mr. Garff has the opportunity to show his outstanding support for our community if he so chooses. If not screw him and his mother.

  • Phoenix (You'll Pry My Rainbow Bucks Out Of My Cold, Dead Hand)

    Sorry, Bitch, Your money came from your husband’s car dealerships, which in turn you gave to “Yes on H(8)”. I don’t care what your a$$wipe husband is promising Fred Karger or Californians Against Hate. I’m not spending my money at your shitty care dealerships…and guess what? I’m not spending my money at any anti-gay business! It’s called “economic sanctions” and you and the rest of the bigots are just going to have to get used to them. My queer money goes to queer businesses.

    p.s. Since I live in a state where sexual orientation isn’t protected, I guess I don’t have to hire straights, either. Which will make up nicely for all those gay employees you and your fellow bigots discriminated against.


  • Phoenix (You'll Pry My Rainbow Bucks Out Of My Cold, Dead Hand)

    @ 17,

    Not his mother, she’s his wife. Her money came from his business.

  • Sebbe

    @Phoenix – aren’t gays better workers anyways?


    This whole boycotting thing is, and has been, out of hand. If the *owner* is against you, fine. But the owner’s relatives, or one *employee* in some other cases, does *not* make a business “anti-gay”. And what, really, is the point of boycotting NON-anti-gay businesses?

  • Tony


    When they donated $$$s, did they take a few seconds and think how this would hurt other people (relatives or not). Hell no! They knew what exactly they’re doing.

    It’s time for the gay community to project our voice and demonstrate how serious we are in terms of equal rights. Boycotting is an effective tool to voice our power. The religious nuts do this all the time. They ban gay books and arts, verbally and physically bash gay people, and question our “being.” The coin has just flipped and it’s our turn!

  • ConservativeRepublican

    If this specific company is actually willing to take steps to resolve things, then I say let it, and then call off the boycott. I’m especially willing to cut the president of this company some slack because it was his mother that made the donation rather than himself. The company can’t snap its fingers and make gay marriage legal, so there has to be something realistic it can do to stop the boycott. How about a large donation in support of gay rights? I’m guessing that’s part of what is being suggested in these negotiations. It will be interesting to see what the terms are.

  • Sebbe

    @ConservativeRepublican – I also agree that the company should be given a chance to make amends. At a minimum the amount that was donated by the (mother/wife?) or double that as a beginning.

    Of course it will make the mother/wife (I don’t know and don’t really care which it is) hate us even more. But, the signal it sends is for other companies to be cautious or that their actions (and those around them) have consequences.

  • Shirley Boy

    The power of the pink pound, or dollar or whatever! HA ha ha! That’s what i say. Lets not stop here people, lets take this mainstream. This is what you call fucking progress. Let us ruin these bitchs. (“,)

  • dfrw

    ‘We do believe in the proposition of marriage as being between a man and a female,” he said. “But we reserve the rights of others to believe and act as they wish. … We want our friends who are gay to know that we respect them.’

    Well, that about says it all to me.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Hear. Hear. DFRW

    It’s always the same old baloney that we of the LGBT community are so sick of hearing (and noshing on).

    At least, give us a kosher dill pickle and a for 2-cents plain or maybe a chocolate egg-creme to wash it down with, for crying out loud. Oy

    “Let’s be tolerant”

    “let’s be respectful”

    “Let’s be reasonable”

    “Let’s discuss this issue”

    And then the bigots, who insulted us in the first place, add insult to injury, by placating with a two-faced, conciliatory comment that is even more insulting than the original action that caused us to boycott them.

    In essence, they are standing their ground, but want us to get off their backs.

    So, vat’s to discuss, already?

    They just don’t seem to get that their religiously fueled and intractable proposition of marriage as being between a man and a female is the fountainhead of the social war being waged between them and us.

    Oh, and as an aside, y’all might be interested in knowing about Ken Garff’s Federal Campaign contributions. All given to Republicans. Need I say more. Here’s the link.

    And make no mistake about it. It is not the LGBT community that created the “them” and “us” divide that has occurred as a result of Yes on Pro 8. It’s the fagala-hating sonavabitches vat gave em die gelt.

    And let’s face it, kidies. Isn’t that really what the Garff’s respect?

    Die gelt!

  • Edwin

    Gay people are gay.

Comments are closed.