"As I'm sure you know, the Salvation Army actively supports the ban on gay marriage," a reader writes. "My boyfriend and I were discussing how unfortunate that is, because the people ringing the bells are everywhere but I can no longer give them money and yet I don't think it's fair to tell off the bell-ringers (who may have no idea, and who have been given a much-needed job by this charity). My boyfriend said, yeah, but what about all the gay homeless people who won't get any help? And that's when I heard the angelic voice of Dan Savage in my ear—someone should start a new charity called the Santorum Army!"
The Salvation Army does more—and it does far worse—than merely "supporting the ban on gay marriage." Barack Obama supports the ban on gay marriage. (It might be fairer to say that Barack Obama isn't an opponent of marriage equality, he just plays one on TV). The Salvation Army goes out of its way to brutalize vulnerable LGBT people during moments of crisis.
"I've seen the discrimination the Salvation Army preaches first hand," writes gay blogger and activist Bil Browning. "When a former boyfriend and I were homeless, the Salvation Army insisted we break up before they'd offer assistance. We slept on the street instead and declined to break up as they demanded."
Bil's experience wasn't unique: "Three years ago one of my community college students became homeless during the semester," a Slog commenter writes. "The only shelter in our midwestern capitol city with any openings for women and children was a SA shelter. This lesbian household was told they had two choices: One of them could live on the street and the shelter would take the other mom and the kids as a 'family,' or they could all sleep on the street. My student let her partner and kids be a 'family' in the eyes of those abusive fuckers while she slept outside. Two school employees even called to try to intervene. [That] evil organization will never get a cent of my money."
There are more examples of the SA's bigotry and sadism in action here.
Says Browning in an email: "It's amazing to me that so many Christians have chastised me for advocating people avoid the red kettles by claiming that it will hurt homeless and hungry (straight) people. They overlook the fact that the Salvation Army discriminates against LGBT people and have threatened to close soup kitchens in many cities if required to abide by non-discrimination laws. Who's willing to hurt homeless people of all sexual orientations over LGBT human rights? The Salvation Army is."
And the money you and your boyfriend refrain from tossing in the SA's red kettles? Donate that money to charities that don't discriminate.
"There are plenty of secular charities like Toys For Tots, Goodwill Industries, and the American Red Cross that could use the extra cash and don't discriminate against LGBT people," writes Browning. (Or you could give to Northwest Harvest.)
If you must toss something in one of the SA's red kettles, toss one of these.