Photo: By rwentechaney on Flickr
With the majority of Americans now supporting same-sex marriage, more companies are showing their support for gay rights. For example, Whole Foods, Macy’s, and Coca-Cola were sponsors of the New York City Pride Parade, and a recent Kraft advertisement featured a rainbow-cream Oreo. But then there are companies that are on the opposite side of the spectrum.
With the recent news that Chick-Fil-A donated nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010, we’ve compiled a list of companies that have either contributed funds to organisations determined to maintain the sanctity of marriage, don’t afford equal opportunities to their gay employees, or have all but denounced homosexuality entirely.
According to Equality Matters’ analysis of the restaurant’s donations, its contributions of nearly $2 million is more than the group has given in any other year “for which public records are available.” These contributions compound the estimated $5 million in donations Chick-Fil-A made to anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2010.
These associations have prompted the “No H8 Campaign” to call for a boycott of the chicken sandwich shop. Many New York University students were also offended by these contributions, and unsuccessfully tried to close down a Chick-Fil-A outlet on campus.
The Salvation Army, one of the world’s largest Christian welfare organisations, is more widely-known for soliciting donations at the local mall during the Christmas season than its anti-gay views. But the organisation found itself in hot water last month when one of its media relations directors in Australia implied that the company supports sentencing homosexuals to death.
Salvation Army Australia did some crisis management and released a statement clarifying that this is not, in fact, the company’s stance. But this isn’t the first time the organisation has been questioned for its views on homosexuality. As reported in The Huffington Post, “the organisation…has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies — including an attempt to make consensual gay sex illegal.”
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, has been in the headlines for its support of religious organisations that are anti-gay. This past September, a local NYC gay-rights group slammed Walmart for supporting Christian groups that are ardently against homosexuality.” The New York Times reported that Walmart defended its decision to rejoin a network that funnels money to Christian organisations, saying that the company’s affiliates include organisations that have “a wide range of interests [and] diverse viewpoints.”
Jim Walton, the son of founder Sam Walton and company board member, contributed $75,000 to the Family Council Action Committee, an Arkansas organisation whose mission is upholding traditional family values. The Family Council Action Committee supported enacting a ban on “unmarried couples adopting and serving as foster parents,” a law that would apply to co-habitating gay couples wanting to adopt.
The largest American company is under fire after scoring a -25 on Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies’ policies towards LBGT employees. Shareholders have voted against changing its discrimination clause every year since 2000.
HRC’s buying guide, created to promote patronage of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender-friendly companies, encourages forgoing Exxon Mobil for Chevon (score: 100), BP (score: 85), or Shell (score: 85) when filling up your tank.
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America, a self-described “values-based youth development organisation,” aims to shape young boys into leaders with its range of programs. However, homosexuality does not fit into the organisation’s belief system, and BSA has made it explicitly clear that there is no room for gays.
“While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behaviour that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
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