Anti-gay companiesMany anti-gay businesses and their owners or top managers will gladly take (fleece) Gay Dollars. They may offer a product or service that looks friendly, fun or enticing to the GLBT community. But they use their profits to turn on you and stab you in the back by supporting anti-gay causes or to deny equal benefits.
This list is meant to educate the public so consumers can make informed choices. Some of these choices one makes might include the following: take your business elsewhere; boycott or pick the business; write or email the company to inform them why they have lost your business; educate your friends and families about the company. 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. Fortune 500 company. [HRC buyers guide]
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]
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]
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 CEO, also opposes gay marriage.
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]
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]
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.”
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]
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]
RockStar Energy Drink: Rock Star is a family business. Russell Weiner, CEO of Rock Star, is the son of Michael Weiner, known better as extreme right-wing radio talk show host Michael Savage. Michael helped formulate the drink, drawing on his long-time background as a botanist and herbalist. Wife and mother Janet Weiner handles Rock Star's finances. [QueerActivism]
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 who are against abortion and gay rights. [NYMag]
Walmart Stores Inc.: Does not offer domestic partner benefits except in locations required by law. Walmart is the largest retail seller of books but refuses to stock any GLBT titles in their stores. [HRC buyers guide]
Local businesses in my area that contributed to the “Yes on 8” proposition that took rights away from gay and lesbian couples. Many of these contributions derive from corporate bank accounts.
- Apple Gilroy, Inc. (dba Apple by the Bay) a restaurant
- ASAP Collection Services, adjustment and collection services
- Camden Pet Hospital, full service veterinary hospital
- K & S Bay Concrete, contractor for foundations, driveways, patios, and walks
- Platinum Roofing, Inc., corporate re-roofing contractor
- Bob Anderson State Farm Insurance, insurance and financial services
- D & M Motors, Inc., general car repair
- Lee Aldinger Insurance, auto/business/life/homeowner insurance
- Peter Giannini, CPA; accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services firm
- Mid-Peninsula Periodontics, periodontal and dental implant care
- Money Mailer of North San Jose, a direct mailer
More local names and businesses that help bankroll a despicable campaign of lies, misinformation and fear mongering are listed in previous blog entry below.
RELATED: HR professionals that support discrimination and/or fear homosexuals.
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.
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]
Anti-gay conservative and religious 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, 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.
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