This list is meant to educate the public so consumers can make informed choices. Some of these choices one makes might include the following actions:
- quietly take your business elsewhere;
- demonstrate, boycott or picket the business;
- contact the management of the company to inform them why they have lost your business;
- educate your friends and families about the company's discriminatory policies;
- write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or magazine about the inequality;
- blog, post or twitter about it.
Eventually corporate leaders and businesses will learn that anti-gay bigotry is bad for business.
A-1 Self Storage Company: Terry Caster is the owner. It is a family (third generation) run company. They have over 40 locations in California. The Californians Against Hate blog reports: “Mr. Caster and his family have contributed $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign. That makes the Casters the 2nd largest individual donors to Yes on Prop 8.” [GuyDads]
AutoZone Inc: Does not offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. The company can discriminate against and exclude same-sex couples in ways they can't do to opposite-sex (married) couples. A Fortune 500 company. [HRC buyers guide]
NOTE: AutoZone offers domestic partner benefits where state law requires it. Their HRC Index ranks them at 15 for their non-discrimination policy while competitor Pep Boys ranks a much higher score of 65.
Barilla Group is the world's largest pasta maker. The company chairman, Guido Barilla, says his company will not feature gay families in advertisements for his products because he likes the "traditional" family. If someone disagrees, well, they can go "eat another brand of pasta." He also said "I have no respect for adoption by gay families.." [Huffington Post]
CBRL Group Inc. (Cracker Barrel restaurants) Operates 579 full-service Cracker Barrel restaurants and gift shops in 41 states. The business has a long history of discriminating against gays and blacks, both as employees and dinners. It had an HR policy from 1991 until 2002 that said "It is inconsistent with our concept and values, and is perceived to be inconsistent with those of our customer base, to continue to employ individuals in our operating units whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values.” Seventeen workers were fired because they admitted or were assumed to be gay after the first few months that the policy was created. [Wikipedia] A spokesperson in 2008 said Cracker Barrel “welcomes all guests, and our equal opportunity employment statement clearly states that we will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation." However, it does not offer diversity training, domestic partner benefits or any support for their GLBT employees. It has a Corporate Equality Index score of 15/100. [HRC]
Chick-Fil-A: (fast-food restaurant chain) Provided monetary (almost $2M) and in-kind donations directly and through it’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, to virtually all of the major organizations fighting against marriage equality and GLBT rights. These groups include the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, a group devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, Focus On The Family, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International. [Change.org]Dish Network: Company shareholders recently (6/08) shot down a proposal that would bar the company from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation. Dish Network also chooses not to carry LGBT cable networks Logo and Here! [Queers United] NOTE: as of 5/09 Dish HD customers can get Logo.
Domino’s Pizza: While Domino’s does not directly contribute to anti-gay activity, founder Tom Monaghan has contributed heavily to initiatives and organizations that oppose the rights of GLBTs. He is a co-founder of the Thomas More Law Center, which is advocating in court to restrict access to domestic partner benefits, and in 2001 financed a ballot proposal in Ypsilanti, MI to remove sexual orientation from that city’s non-discrimination ordinance. David Brandon, the current board chair, also opposes gay marriage. The current CEO, Patrick Doyle, donates to conservative and Republican causes which are known for their anti-gay stances. [RedeyeChicago]
Competitor Pizza Hut, owned by Yum! Brands, scores a 70 on the Equality Index compared to Domino's score of 35.
ExxonMobil: Eliminated domestic-partner benefits for same-sex partners when the two companies merged in 1999. It is the largest Fortune 500 company that does not offer domestic-partner benefits. It also refuses to ban discrimination based on orientation and gender identity. [HRC buyers guide]
On HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ExxonMobil received a score of -25. In contrast, oil and gas companies such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher. For 14 straight years shareholders have refused to adopt protections for LGBT employees.
UPDATE Oct 2013: The company announced it will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. The company says it will recognize "all legal marriages" when it determines eligibility for health care plans for the company’s 77,000 US employees and retirees. ExxonMobil still does not include LGBT employees in its official non-discrimination policies.
Gold’s Gym is another company that betrays LGBT people. It has a huge gay membership and markets itself as gay-friendly. But the billionaire CEO that owns Gold’s Gym, Robert Rowling, is a major supporter of a new political organization, American Crossroads, run by Karl Rove. Rowling reportedly gave them $2 million through both his corporate and personal accounts. The organization funds anti-gay candidates around the country such as Sharon Angle who said homosexuality would lead to the destruction of the United States, and called gay people "sodomites" and "perverts." Another recipient was Rep. Roy Blunt in Missouri, who has voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and is in favor of banning gay adoptions in Washington, D.C. [Change.org]
Golfland Entertainment Centers: The Kenneys, the family that owns and runs this business, were big donors to the “Yes on H8”. Together they contributed over $35,000 to take rights away from gays, lesbians and their families. They run a chain of family fun centers in California and Arizona. [GuyDads]
Hobby Lobby is a privately held retail chain of arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma. It cites its commitment to “honoring the Lord” on its website and closes its 500-plus nationwide locations on Sundays. Profits from the company are funneled to virulent anti-gay and pro-life organizations. The company hides behind “Christian values" claiming scripture as the inspiration for hate. [DailyKos.com]
Insure.com (online insurance quote-comparison portal): The Company is a major sponsor of Bill O’Reilly’s radio talk show and Bill gives voice to their commercial. In addition to selling insurance, they provide information about the insurance industry. In an article on the business website entitled “Top five ways to kill yourself and get away with it”, They lists the number one way to kill yourself: “1. Being gay.” [boxturtlebullentin.com]
Jelly Belly Candy Company: The company chairman, Herman Rowland Sr., has donated thousands of dollars to an anti-LGBT campaign that is working to repeal a California law that protects transgender children. [Huffington Post]
Meijer Inc. (Retail supercenter) Owns 180 huge grocery and general merchandise stores in the Midwest. It is a family owned business. The only good thing to be said about Meijer is "they don't engage, that we know of, in any activity that would undermine the goals of equal rights for GLBT people," said Jay Smith Brown, a previous HRC director for communication strategies. It has a very low Corporate Equality Index score of 15/100. It does not offer diversity training, domestic partner benefits or any support for their GLBT employees. [HRC]
OutsidePride.com: Sounds like gay banner website but, in fact, is an on-line seed and lawn care retailer. Troy Hake, the president of Outside Pride, sent a homophobic manifesto to the participants of his company's email list, trying to rally them in a full-on campaign against "the whole CBS homosexual cartel". He says he is not a bigot but is tired of homosexuals rewriting history. [The Consumerist]
Request Foods: A frozen-food maker and supplier to Campbell’s Soup works hard to keep civil rights away from gays and lesbians in their community. In a political ad they ran to defeat a local nondiscrimination policy, they accuse gay people of being psychologically disordered, suggest that people can spontaneously change their sexual orientation, and argue that gays and lesbians don't deserve civil rights because homosexuality is destructive to society. Request Foods president Jack DeWitt has also contributed thousands to the hate group Family Research Council's political action committee. [Change.org]
Salvation Army: This “non-profit” religious organization is anti-gay and actively lobbies against pro-gay legislation in the US and abroad. The money you put in that red kettle is going to anti-gay evangelical Christian lobbyists. They believe that since they're a "church" they have the right to not hire gay people because they are sinners. Salvation Army reserves the right to discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing gay people, and in the benefits they provide their employees. And they come right out and admit that "practicing homosexuals" are not welcome in the "church." [americablog.com]
Urban Outfitters: Richard Hayne, the Chairman of the hipsterish Urban Outfitters, is a notably right-wing Republican who generously supports GOP candidates and causes that vote for legislation against gay marriage. His company also operates stores under Free People and Anthropologie name.
NOTE: Glen Senk, the CEO of the parent company, Urban Outfitters, Inc., is an openly gay man who has been in a committed relationship for over 30 years. However, Richard Hayne is still the founder and current chairman and does indeed have a record for supporting right-wing Republicans like Rick Santorum who are against abortion and gay rights. [NYMag]
NOTE 2: The company recently teamed up with NCLR and Equality California to make pro-marriage equality t-shirts with the profits supporting marriage equality. But the company only rates a 15 on HRC index for their non-discrimination policy. [Queerty]
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.: Does not offer domestic partner benefits except in locations required by law. Wal-Mart is the largest retail seller of books but refuses to carry any LGBT titles in their stores. [HRC buyers guide] However, they do sell an "ex-gay" children's book. [Edge] Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke and his wife signed petitions to ban adoption for same-sex couples in Arkansas. [KnowThyNeighbor.org]
Two-faced corporate supporters
There is a new twist in anti-gay corporate behavior. Companies that internally support and champion equality in the workplace while profits (and marketing and lobbying dollars) go to fund anti-gay groups, organizations and politicians in the community.
These companies find it to be good business practice to offer and promote their in-house equality programs. To recruit and retain talented and committed employees many big businesses offer clear and defined non-discrimination policies for LGBT employees that are above and beyond the federally protected classes such as age, race, sex, religion, national origin and disability. The overwhelming majority of them also provide benefits to same-sex partners and spouses of employees. In addition, many of the companies seek out and submit information to be included in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Despite their high Corporate Equality Index score, the companies and their senior executives undermine their commitment to equality by supporting and donating to bigots and haters.
Retailers Target and Best Buy along with conglomerate 3M (Scotch Tape, Post-its, Scotchgard, Nexcare) are three such hypocritical and disingenuous companies. Despite initially earning Corporate Equality Index scores of 100%, they have made significant campaign donations ($100,000 to $150,000) to an organization that backs the election of an anti-gay candidate who says that LGBT people should be treated like second-class citizens. [DailyFinance]
There are also several high-profile companies that refuse to respond to HRC's invitation to be rated. They include Pottery Barn and West Elm, each part of Williams-Sonoma; Bed Bath & Beyond; Tyson Foods; News Corp., owner of Fox News and HarperCollins Publishers; and several others.
Some formerly anti-gay companies have seen the light and changed their ways:
Bolthouse Farms (juices, dressings and package carrots sold at upscale markets such as Whole Foods): William Bolthouse, founder and former owner, donated $100,000 to the Yes on 8. Although Mr. Bolthouse claims he is no longer connected with the company, his son-in-law is chairman of the company and it markets itself as a fourth-generation company.
UPDATE: The LA Times reports, since feeling the pressure from the gay community, Bolthouse has instated a "diversity program designed to support inclusiveness in its dealings with all stakeholders including the LGBT community." Bolthouse Farms has also extended medical benefits to same-sex partners of gay employees, according to the Californians Against Hate statement.
Brown-Forman Corp. (liquor distributor): Brands include Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodkas, Herradura Tequila, Sonoma-Cutrer Wines, Fetzer Wines, Korbel Champagne, Bolla Wines, Bonterra Wines. Does not offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. Fortune 1000 company. [HRC buyers guide]
UPDATE: Brown-Forman began offering domestic partner benefits in January 2009, amended their EEO policy to include gender identity or expression and have created a GLBT Resource Group, among other GLBT efforts. These changes reflect a genuine desire, on the part of our leadership, to create an inclusive organization.
Cinemark: Alan Stock, Cinemark’s CEO, gave $9,999 to the "Yes on 8" (Protectmarriage.com) campaign. Cinemark has 2700 movie screens in North and South America. In northern California they mainly operate under Century, CinéArts and Cinedome name. [GuyDads]
UPDATE: CEO Stock retired from the company in 2012 and the company now offers domestic partner benefits. [Deadline , DallasVoice]
Coors Brewing Company (now Molson-Coors) An early boycott campaign that started in 1973. The LBGT community along with others began protesting Coors’ antagonistic hiring practices. Polygraph tests asking about sexual orientation were often required. The Coors family has a long history of supporting extreme right wing anti-gay groups and politicians. Finally in 1995 to counter falling sales, Coors was one of the first major corporations to adopt same sex domestic partner benefits. They also hired Mary Cheney as a marketing representative and began advertising in the gay press. [BAMN]
Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami: Three years after a lesbian complained she wasn't allowed to visit her dying partner the South Florida healthcare center now ranks high in how it responds to gay patients and families, according to a report released by the national Human Rights Campaign. HRC has dedicated its 2010 annual Healthcare Equality Index report to Janice Langbehn and partner Lisa Pond. On Feb. 18, 2007, Pond suffered a fatal brain aneurysm shortly before they were to sail with their three children on a Caribbean cruise for gay families. After Pond's death, Jackson Memorial Hospital became a national lightening rod for gay-patient rights. In April 2010, the White House said hospitals accepting Medicare and Medicaid payments will be required to let gay and lesbian partners have the same visiting rights as heterosexuals. Also, partners will be allowed to help gay patients make critical health decisions. [Miami Herald]
Ken Garff Automotive Group (53 dealerships based in Utah but operates in six states): Two week boycott called because of $100,000 family donation made by the family run business in support of Proposition 8.
UPDATE: The boycott was called off following a series of meetings that included face-to-face discussions between company principals John and Robert Garff and Utah philanthropist Bruce Bastian, a leading gay-rights advocate. The Garff company would be formally adopting "a non-discriminatory company policy, even though they are pretty much there already." John Garff, the company's CEO, has insisted that his mother's $100,000 donation was a personal gesture and in no way reflected the company's political stance. [California’s Against Hate]
The Generations Network (the parent company of ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker): Initially refused to recognize same-sex families in their software. Their support desk said: “…same-gender relationships are unable to be entered in our genealogy software …because genealogy trees are intended to trace biological relationships or bloodlines. As two persons of the same gender are unable to have biological children, they cannot be entered as spouses or partners.”
UPDATE: After a threatened boycott the CEO, Tim Sullivan, announced “Our desktop software application called Family Tree Maker, which [in addition] to ancestry is one of our key businesses, is built in a way that permits this, and we’ve recognized for some time that we absolutely want the service to reflect how anyone defines spousal relationship or how anyone defines a family.” He added that they expect ancestry.com to support same-gender relationships and all family stories by the end of the first quarter of 2009. [jaysays.com]
Manchester Grand Resorts: Doug Manchester, owner of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and Grand del Mar Resort gave $125,000 to Yes on Prop 8 campaign. [boycottmanchesterhotels.com]
UPDATE: The boycott cost the resort about $7 million dollars in lost business. Manchester offered a $25,000 cash gift to a national organization that supports only civil unions and to make $100,000 in hotel credits to GLBT organizations. Gay groups turned down the blood money. The hotel was sold in May 2011 to Host Hotels and Resorts, thus severing Manchester's financial ties to it. The company is said to be “GLBT friendly and supports the GLBT Community.” In November 2011, Doug Manchester bought the San Diego Union-Tribune (now called U-T San Diego) where he now promotes his anti-big government, anti-tax, pro-developer agenda.
UPDATE: After weeks of intimidating bloggers with legal cease and desist orders, the company announced in July 2009 a change in tactics. RockStar denounced Savage’s hate-filled speech and pledge that the company will be more LGBT friendly. Corporate policies will include non-discrimination clauses and domestic partner benefits. They are donating $100,000 to LGBT organizations to make up for the lawsuit threats and to prove their commitment to LGBT rights. [The Bilerico Project]
Anti-gay conservative and religious hate groups have been threatening major corporations for years. These groups include: American Family Association (AFA), Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund, Americans for Truth, National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and Concerned Women for America.
They have called for boycotts of businesses and demanded that supportive companies cancel sponsorships to GLBT causes, roll-back rights and benefits to gay employees, etc. Some of the companies that have faced their wrath: Ford, McDonalds, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Hallmark, PepsiCo, Home Depot, Starbucks, JC Penny.
Local businesses in my area that contributed to the “Yes on 8” proposition that took rights away from gay and lesbian couples. These contributions derive from corporate or owner/family donations.CAMPBELL- Cornerstone Technologies, IT engineering services
- Lambert & Sons Floor Covering, residential and commercial flooring
- Money Mailer of North San Jose, a direct mailer
- John Ludwig DDS Dental Group, general dentistry
- Daniel Moore Financial Svc, insurance agent
- Mid-Peninsula Periodontics, periodontal and dental implant care
- Packard, Packard & Johnson, whistleblower and false claim lawfirm
- Rodney Norling DDS, general dentistry
- John McCleve DDS, general dentistry
- Patte Peregrina, realtor at Coldwell Banker
- Wickstrum Porperties, nonresidential building operator
- Bahl Homes, home builder and tract developer
- Nicholas LaPorta Agency, Farmers Insurance agent
- Peter Giannini, CPA; accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services firm
- Allegis Capital, venture capital firm
- Bob Anderson State Farm Insurance, insurance and financial services
- D & M Motors, Inc., general car repair
- Lee Aldinger Insurance, insurance services
- Osborn Capital Management, real state developer
- Phillip Fletcher DDS, general dentistry
- Robert Wheatley Properties, real estate developer, home builder
- Willis & Company, commercial property services
- WSJ Properties, real estate management
REDWOOD CITY- Castle Insurance Agency, insurance broker
- Apple Gilroy, Inc. (dba Apple by the Bay), a restaurant
- ASAP Collection Services, adjustment and collection services
- Camden Pet Hospital, full service veterinary hospital
- Cortes & Sowards, management and leasing commercial real estate
- Garage Doors Incorporated, custom made garage doors
- Homer & Phillips A Law Corporation, estate planning, tax attorneys
- Itty Bitty Imprints, custom ceramic tiles of baby hand or footprints
- John R. Fishbein PhD, marriage & family therapist
- K & S Bay Concrete, contractor for foundations, driveways, patios, and walks
- Kitchen Masters, kitchen design and remodel
- Kevin W Calvert DDS Inc, general dentistry
- Law Offices of Steven R Pogue, family, estate, civil and personal injury law
- Maximum Roof Care Corp., roofing contractor
- Micrel Inc., IC solutions and semiconductor manufacture
- Paul Middleton Insurance Agency, State Farm agent
- Platinum Roofing, Inc., corporate re-roofing contractor
- Wightman Engineering Services, manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies
SUNNYVALE- Ball Internet Consulting LLC, custom programming for the web
- Donald Call DDS, general dentistry
- Joyce Kim Optometry, eye health care provider, laser vision correction
- Kiwk Keylock & Safe Inc, locksmith
- Krodel Realty, realtor
- Test Enterprises Inc, developer of test systems for semiconductor manufacturing
- F. David Crain Insurance Services, surety bonds
- Mc Manis and Associates Inc, general contractor under Mobile Homes-Improvements
Proposition 8 contributors. Doing business with companies that supported California Prop 8 reaffirms that it is acceptable to discriminate. See the following websites for more information: http://www.boycotth8ters.com/
More local names and businesses that help bankroll a despicable campaign of lies, misinformation and fear mongering are listed in previous blog entry below.
Please check the database (http://www.sfgate.com/webdb/prop8/) to see if your accountant, insurance agent, realtor, dentist, or lawyer is on the list of supporters of “Yes on H8”. You might be surprised. Some of our friends were.
RELATED: HR professionals that support discrimination and/or fear homosexuals.
NOTE: I have edited and updated this entry a number of times as I learn new information.
For a review of Anti-Gay Non-Profits see: http://guydads.blogspot.com/2012/12/anti-gay-non-profits.html
|Short list of companies supporting Marriage Equality|