23 October 2012

Corporations That Support Homophobia

You no doubt recall the controversy over Chick Fil A' s donations to anti-gay organizations.  It probably doesn't surprise you that, among corporations, Chick Fil A isn't the only, or even the worst, offender.  

It probably doesn't surprise you that Wal-Mart and The Salvation Army are among the biggest supporters of homophobia.  Wal-Mart, of course, exploits practically everybody from the workers in its stores and warehouses to the laborers in the factories and fields that produce the stuff sold in The House Sam Wall built.  (It also exploits customers more than they realize:  Some Wal Mart prices seem low only because stores are located where there was no competition or where Wal-Mart managed to eliminate it.)  And The Salvation Army has led efforts to make gay sex illegal, and one of its Australian officials has said that homosexuals should be put to death.

I suspect that not many of you would raise your eyebrows upon seeing that Exxon-Mobil is no friend of the LGBT community.  The company that spent nearly two decades trying to evade responsibility for causing one of the worst oil spills of all time is also the only US employer ever to have rescinded both a non-discrimination policy that covered sexual orientation and a policy for domestic-partner benefits.  It's also the only Fortune 10 company that doesn't have a non-discrimination policy.

Some of you, however, may be surprised to learn about another company that supports homophobia.  Its donations to hateful causes are not anywhere near those of the other companies I've mentioned.  On the other hand, no other company can match this one for sheer hypocrisy.

I'm talking about Urban Outfitters.  The company's  president and founder, Richard Hayne, donated $13,150 to the (failed, thankfully) campaign of Rick Santorum.  What's so outrageous is his sheer hypocrisy:  His stores sold anti-Proposition 8, which were subsequently pulled from shelves in one of the chain's first controversies.  And, as we all know, few compnies market themselves as aggressively to gay men as Urban.  Judging from the stores I've seen, I'd have to say that Urban Outfitters simply would not exist without its market of gay men.

I suspect that other popular retailers and other corporations are supporting homo- and trans-phobia in one way or another simply because high-ranking executives of large corporations tend to support the Republican Party, which is more likely to run openly homo- and trans-phobic candidates for political office. The more we know about such executives and corporation, the better the chance we have of "starving" hateful candidates' bids for public office by cutting off their IV fluid:  money.

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