If CEOs these days were smart, they would realize that over half of America supports marriage equality. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, and many more have famously “gone gay” and come out in support of LGBT rights through monetary donations, employee protection, and publicly promoting equality. It seems like publicly opposing equality would be PR suicide these days, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. The Human Rights Campaign conducts an annual Corporate Equality Index and consistently hands out failing grades to companies for either being un-inclusive, or downright homophobic. Some of the following companies might be familiar to you, but you might be surprised by who else made the list.
Before you “Chow Down at Chick-Fil-A ala Willam Belli, you might want to know that they are famed for their disdain of everything gay.
CEO Dan Cathy believes firmly in the “traditional definition of marriage” to the point that he has donated to Christian Organizations which support the murder of gay individuals in Africa. You know that “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda? That came thanks to organizations that have gotten substantial donation from this fast food chain.
Chick-Fil-A: Serving up nuggets with a side of homophobia.
For a company that’s devoted to feeding animals, Purina does a good job at being discriminatory to a large group of humans. The pet-chow company offers zero benefits for same-sex partners, and has no anti-discrimination policy in place. They also famously pulled ads from Saturday Night Live because it was “immoral” and promoted an “unclean lifestyle.” Lofty words from a company whose claim to fame is Beggin’ Strips and Snausages.
The Salvation Army
Next time you see a friendly bell-ringer at your local grocery store, be advised that your donated money is actually going to a company that wishes death on gay and transgender individuals. According to one higher-up in the corporation, they take the word of the Bible literally and seriously, meaning gay and trans individuals are hell-bound and deserve death. There has also been issues with trans and gay folks being denied access to Salvation Army operated shelters because of their “lifestyle choices.” With opinions like that, it might be time to change the company’s name to the “Selective Salvation Army.”
Even pizza companies are getting political these days. Dominos has a founder who is notoriously sexist and homophobic and has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes to undercut equality. Evidently Dominos is just too highbrow and classy to allow us queers access to the pizza cutter. Their loss: We’re pros at working with sausage.
This one is a bit more surprising to some people considering Urban has achieved a sort of reverance in the gay community for the clothing it sells. Despite the CEO being an openly gay man, the founder of Urban Outfitters has donated money to the campaigns of politicans such as Rick “can’t hear you over my Bible audiobook” Santorum.
Additionally, Urban has removed Pro-Gay clothing from its shelves in the past while keeping clothing with transphobic, sexist, and racist language out for sale. Keep that in mind next time you’re shooting for Hipster-Chic and Urban comes up as an option.
Color me shocked to hear a restaurant chain famed for Southern influences is homophobic. Cracker Barrel not only does not protect the LGBT individuals from being fired or mistreated, it actively does not hire these individuals because their “lifestyle” is incongruent with Cracker Barrel’s values as well as the values of “the majority of our clientele.” If you find yourself hankering for some chicken and waffles, consider finding a place that doesn’t cater to folks who enjoy good old-fashioned queer-beatings and down-home transphobia
Famous for rollback prices and for being a terrible place to work if you want competitive wages, Wal-Mart also has an anti-LGBT streak in it. Though it is the country’s largest seller of books, Wal-Mart does not have any LGBT-themed pieces of literature for sale in its stores. One book that was famously vended by the retail giant promoted the idea that gay people can overcome their sin and become straight, because if there is one place qualified to offer conversion therapy, it’s Wal-Mart.
Here’s the big one. The granddady of homophobic companies. Far and away the record-holder for lowest score on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Exxon Oil come on down, claim your prize! With a Corporate Equity Index score of negative 25 out of 100 Exxon is far and away the worst place to work if you are LGBT.
As is common with the rest of these companies, Exxon refuses to provide benefits for LGBT workers and their partners. However, Exxon enjoys the distinction of having actually revoked these benefits which were present in the past. In addition to just kind of being dicks with regards to the environment, Exxon actively pursues legislation which is designed to keep LGBT folks from receiving equality. Exxon execs firmly opposed ENDA and are adamantly refusing the become the final Fortune 10 company to protect LGBT individuals from unfair workplace treatment. Exxon is the most profitable company in the world, but also holds the title of “Least LGBT Friendly Company.” Just because Exxon is responsible for turning dead dinosaurs into fuel doesn’t mean they need to have prehistoric mindset when it comes to equality.
These are only a few of the unfortunately large list of companies that oppose LGBT equality. Knowing where your money goes when you spend it is important lest it go toward murdering gay people in Uganda as in the case of Chick-Fil-A. The good news is that these companies are offset by an ever-growing number of companies who actively support LGBT rights. For every Wal-Mart there is a Costco, and for every Cracker-Barrel there is a Starbucks which combat the various phobias these companies perpetuate. With the holiday season coming up and shopping about to get hella busy, consider checking out the HRC’s full list of Corporate Equality Index scores so you can spend your money somewhere that doesn’t want you dead.