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Oni splits with vendor over ties to anti-marriage equality group

by  in Comic News Comment

Oni Press has ended its business relationship with packaging supply company Uline over its CEO’s financial support of an Illinois group that went to “unseemly lengths” last year to try to block passage of that state’s marriage-equality bill.

In a letter signed by a dozen employees and posted Tuesday on its blog, the Portland, Oregon-based publisher explained that, “While our professional relationship with Uline has been a prosperous one, the fact that Family-PAC is funded in part by Uline’s CEO [Richard] Uihlein, is information we simply cannot abide or ignore.”

The Chicago-based Family-PAC, which describes itself as “the leading pro-family, anti-tax political action committee in Illinois,” was behind robocalls that targeted state Rep. Mike Smiddy for accepting $6,500 in donations from “Chicago homosexuals” and decried the alleged negative effects same-sex marriages have on children.

Following passage of the marriage-equality bill by the state House in November, Family-PAC Director Paul Ciprio issued a statement declaring, “Today evil triumphed.” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law about two weeks later.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that in just two and a half years, Uihlein has become the state’s largest Republican donor nationwide, giving “nearly $4 million to national tea party candidates and their super-PAC juggernaut, plus almost $1.8 million to the most conservative candidates and causes in Illinois.” In addition to Family-PAC, Uihlein also supports the Illinois Family Institute, which opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as the addition of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state’s Human Rights Act.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs,” the Oni letter concludes, “but it is also up to us whether or not we choose to support them. We choose instead to support our readers, creators and employees, regardless of their gender identity, race or sexual orientation, which is why effective immediately, we are severing all ties with Uline and pursuing a relationship with a local vendor.”