What if an online gay clothing store asks to become client of my business?



I have an online business helping web stores in increasing sales. For each store which is our client, we install a plugin automatically displaying helpful messages to the store’s customers, as they browse the store website.

I wonder about the morality of having a gay clothing store as my client, obviously only if they ask me. Let me state here in the interest of anyone non-Catholic reading this that I think people with homosexual inclinations are as normal, valuable, and lovable as everyone else. However, as a Catholic, I do consider homosexual acts and their promotion as something not good morally, and would not want to contribute to them.

How should I then judge allowing a gay clothing store as my client? Using the standard “cooperation with evil” chart (archphila.org/HHS/pdf/CoopEvilChart.pdf), clearly my cooperation would be material, not formal (I don’t intend it), and mediate (I don’t provide things necessary for the shop to operate).

Would people say it’s also sufficiently remote (not proximate) to be morally acceptable? It’s worth pointing out the system is automatic, so there should be eventually no human involvement from our side in its operation, once fully developed. It does however have as its aim increasing sales, in this case, of gay clothing.

Many thanks!


This is my fallible take on the matter.

You are providing a good or service (in this case, a web plugin) and selling it to customers. What they do with your plugin is their business. To refuse to sell your plugin to a gay clothing store would for sure be considered discrimination and could result in a law suit. I admit this is a tricky matter, because you know that this plugin would be helping a store that encourages and promotes homosexual acts by the clothing it sells. But in my opinion, it wouldn’t be that much different than selling them furniture, or cooking utensils for that matter. You are not responsible for how this product is used.


What do you mean by a “gay clothing store”? A store owned by a person with SSA? A store SSA men and women like to shop at because they “support” LGBT causes? A store that sells some sort of specific clothing?

If what the store sells is not immoral (i.e., a sex shop of some kind) then I don’t see what the problem is. Clothing is not immoral. I don’t see on what grounds you would refuse to do business.


Thank you for your replies. By “gay clothing store” I mean a store that sells clothes promoting homosexual lifestyle by the messages and signs that are printed on them.


personally, I think it’s remote. And I don’t believe you have any moral or legal grounds to deny an internet widget to a business.

If shoppers are already on the site, they are already sufficiently motivated to buy that specific genre of clothing. Your plug in doesn’t do anything material. It doesn’t facilitate the sale. It doesn’t keep the website up and running. And, your product is probably not unique, meaning they can get something similar elsewhere so it isn’t an essential element without which they could not conduct business.


I have see clothing that promotes immoral heterosexual activity–what would you do about a clothing store which sold that?


I can guarantee you doing business with their store would not contribute to there being a single extra gay person in the world. No one has ever changed their sexuality because a t-shirt told them to. And it is especially unlikely that they will change their sexuality because they found it slightly easier to pick out which sweaters are 100% wool.


The issue isn’t if someone will be turned gay by the shirt, the issue is that the shirt promotes something which is irreconciable with God’s laws and with reality in general.

As other’s have mentioned, your involvement is very remote in this case. Your plugin serves a purpose which is neither moral nor immoral (unless you count targeted advertising as immoral… the jury’s still out on that one though :p). Your plugin does not really help in the production or sale of the object, only makes the website easier to navigate and user-friendly. I’d say you’re fine, and would run a massive risk by refusing to allow them to use the product. If you’re really concerned about it, you might have a sit down with your parish priest and explain the situation to him in detail. There’s a good chance he’ll know better than us. ^^


What’s a “Gay Clothing Store”?

But if you don’t want to work with this store, then check your state laws first. Some states consider it illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation.


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