It used to be a given that large corporations allied with right-wing groups that were hell-bent on oppressing the LGBT community. Recent headlines, however, have made it clear that things are no longer “business as usual” – companies are now rescinding their usual donations to such groups.
As Care2 has addressed previously, while corporate America’s political clout is dangerous for the country, on the rare occasion that it does support a progressive value, it is certainly beneficial to the activist community. Fighting a moneyed opposition is often a losing battle, so corporate support (or even just indifference) will definitely accelerate the route to LGBT equality.
There appear to be two main reasons for the shift:
- Minds are changing and even conservative executives – if not future Pride parade attendees — no longer feel passionately about discriminating against homosexuals.
- Hate is simply not so profitable anymore. Corporations exist to maximize profits and boycotts by supporters of gay rights do not bring in money. Given that more than half the country now approves of same-sex marriage, it’s not a good idea to stand against the majority of consumers.
While the motivations of these companies may be varied, the bottom line is that massive financial support that formerly went to anti-gay organizations no longer exists, and that can only be a good thing. Here are some companies that made a change:
As the Boy Scouts continues to ban homosexual troop leaders, a number of companies have in turn dropped their financial support for the Scouts, not the least of which is Disney. This week, the corporation – which has theme parks that host annual Gay Day celebrations and receives good marks from gay groups for their LGBT-friendly hiring practices – is putting its money where its Mickey ears are and pulling its annual grants to local Boy Scout chapters.
Though Disney is famously tight-lipped when it comes to overtly political statements, it has reflected support for the LGBT community in a number of ways over the years, if not outright vocally. Disney’s Charitable Giving Guidelines stipulates that it will not donate to “organizations that discriminate in the provision of services unlawfully or in a manner inconsistent with Disney’s policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation.”
Macy’s/Apple/Delta/BBC America/Wells Fargo/REI
When gay activists discovered the large number of companies that were aligned with and raising money for the notorious Christian Values Network, they took to writing petitions to convince the businesses to drop their affiliations. Since CVN helped to fund anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family, protesters hoped to cut off the corporate support at the sources themselves.
Indeed, companies like Macy’s, Apple, Delta, BBC America, Wells Fargo and REI listened to its customers and ceased partnerships with CVN. A spokesperson for Macy’s explained the department store’s decision: “Macy’s serves a diverse society. As such, we are deeply committed to a philosophy of inclusion in the way we operate our business and support our communities.”
The chicken restaurant faced a lot of flack a couple of years ago after increasing pledges to anti-gay charities. Fast forward to today and it appears that the backlash has had a tangible effect: Chick-fil-A has stopped giving over 99% of its usual donations to hate-fueled groups.
While it’s definitely worth cheering for, activists should hesitate before calling it an outright victory. Chick-fil-A is still allocating $25,000 to an anti-LGBT cause. Plus, other more admirable charities have lost out in this donation pullback. The company has changed internal policy and is giving money to almost no outside non-profit organizations at this point. Considering the comments company president Dan Cathy has made about homosexuality, it’s worth keeping an eye on the restaurant before fully applauding the reform.