If recent outrage about Chick-Fil-A's open, "guilty-as-charged" support of traditional marriage or rainbow Oreos has you wondering which companies are supporting gay rights and which are campaigning against equality, you’re right to be asking these questions.
Numerous corporations seemingly unrelated to sexuality have donated proceeds to organizations such as Focus on the Family and other groups devoted to combating the spread of gay rights.
Other companies don’t actively campaign against gay rights, but still don’t extend the same benefits to LGBT employees as they do to straight ones. Here’s a list of 6 organizations to avoid if you want to vote with your wallet.
According to Equality Matters, Chick-Fil-A donated almost $2 million to anti-gay organizations in 2010, including over $1,100,000 to the Marriage & Family Foundation, an organization that Chick-Fil-A Vice President Donald “Bubba” Cathy actually founded. The company’s WinShape Foundation, their charitable arm, has a long history of donation to such groups, but appears to have upped the ante in recent years, as they donated a total of $3 million between 2003 and 2009. That’s a lot of chicken sandwiches.
2) Urban Outfitters:
This one may not be as newsworthy to some of you. Last year, Urban Outfitters faced outrage when it was revealed that president and founder Richard Hayne had donated $13,150 to famously homophobic presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s campaign. While the dollar amount may not be on par with Chick-Fil-A’s contributions to the “cause,” what galled many people was the seeming hypocrisy of Hayne’s selling anti Prop-8 shirts in 2008 (which were pulled from the shelves in one of Urban’s first controversies) and otherwise pandering to the gay community, and then using those profits to fund political action against them. In January, openly gay CEO Glen Senk, who also oversaw Free People and Anthropologie under the umbrella of Urban Outfitters Inc., resigned, and Hayne has now replaced him as CEO of the entire company. If you needed another reason to boycott, here’s a list of 9 of the most racist, homophobic, and otherwise offensive things Urban Outfitters has done.
3) Exxon Mobil:
That’s right, this massive company isn’t only responsible for one of the worst oil spills of all time, they’re also one of the worst companies out there in terms of workplace equity. This year, they’ve managed both to be ranked #1 on Fortune’s list of the largest companies in America and to earn the Human Rights Campaign’s first-ever negative score on their annual Corporate Equality Index (they scored a -25). Exxon Mobil, the HRC reports, “is the only U.S. employer that has ever rescinded both a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation and domestic partner benefits, and is the only Fortune 10 company that does not have a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation.”
This company went under fire last fall for its association with the Charity Giveback Group, formerly called the Christian Values Network, which allows a cut money gained through e commerce to go to anti-gay religious organizations. Meanwhile, Jim Walton, the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, donated $75,000 to the Family Council Action Committee’s 2008 campaign to prevent gay couples from adopting in the state of Arkansas. This year, though, Wal-Mart scored a 60 on the Corporate Equality Index, so things may be looking up.
5) A-1 Self-Storage Company:
They may not be as large as Wal-Mart or Exxon-Mobil, but with 38 locations throughout California, this company is still making a large enough profit to do some serious damage to the gay community. In 2008, owner Terry Caster donated nearly $300,000 to support Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
6) The Salvation Army:
While those ringing bells and red kettles may be an iconic image come Christmastime, take a moment to think where the money will be going. The Salvation Army has been criticized in the past for its anti-gay policies, including attempts to make gay sex illegal. Just last month, an official from the Salvation Army Australia, Maj. Andrew Craibe, was reported as saying that he believes homosexuals should be put to death, citing biblical passage Romans 1:18-1:32 as his justification for this belief.