The Grand Rapids area, where I live, is home to some staggeringly rich wingnuts, including the DeVos and Van Andel families (founders of Amway) and the Prince family (founders of an auto parts fortune and Blackwater). The local paper reports that they spent a ton of money on causes that the court’s marriage equality rulings negated.
West Michigan money has for years been tied up in ensuring the illegality of gay marriage. To be sure, some deep-pocketed residents pumped substantial cash into Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage ballot measure.
Others have cut checks to nationwide groups like the National Organization for Marriage, one of the most outspoken defenders of the Defense of Marriage Act.
In 2008, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, the widow of Holland industrialist Edgar Prince, donated $450,000 through their eponymous foundation to help Proposition 8 pass.
It was one of the largest private donations to that cause, which prevailed before being struck down by a San Francisco judge who found it unconstitutional.
Prince also gave $75,000 in 2004 to help pass Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Gay rights activists and Democratic lawmakers in the state now have set their sights on repealing that voter-approved prohibition.
Last year, Amway President Doug DeVos came under fire by gay rights advocates after he and wife Maria donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage through their personal foundation.
Amway, the Ada-based corporate giant, defended the gift, which was given to NOM in 2009. NOM also campaigned for Proposition 8’s passage in California, and has championed anti-gay marriage causes in other states…
Prince Broekhuizen and the DeVoses also have supported organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
Focus on the Family, which footed $400,000 to help pass Proposition 8 in California, received $350,000 from the Prince Foundation between 2006-07 and $540,000 from DeVos Sr. and wife Helen in 2006.
Prince Broekhuizen also gave $510,000 to the Family Research Council during that period. Both organizations have been ardent supporters of DOMA and Proposition 8.
Gee, it’s terrible that other people’s fight for equality cost you so much money. I feel really bad about that.