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Which Side Do Companies Take in Gay-Rights Culture War? -- PICTURES Which Side Do Companies Take in Gay-Rights Culture War? -- PICTURES

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Which Side Do Companies Take in Gay-Rights Culture War? -- PICTURES

photo of Jenna  Zwang
September 27, 2011

On the heels of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this month comes a report from The New York Times about gay-rights advocates putting companies on the spot over their roles in giving money to Christian groups that are vocally opposed to homosexuality. This gallery takes a look at where companies stand on gay rights.

EXXON MOBILE: NO DOMESTIC-PARTNER BENEFITSExxon Mobil was given a "0" rating by the Human Rights Council on gay- and lesbian-workers' rights, and is the largest company not to offer domestic-partner benefits. The company has also taken fire for refusing to ban discrimination based on orientation and gender identity, except where required by law. Their website states the following: "In the United States, we have adopted the definition of spouse used in federal law, which provides benefits to heterosexual couples. Employees in countries where national law recognizes same-sex relationships are provided spousal benefits under the ExxonMobil programs." -- PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

TARGET: ON THE FENCE Target donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a political action committee that ran campaign commercials in favor of Tom Emmer, a conservative candidate for governor of Minnesota who proudly campaigns against gay marriage. Gregg Steinhafel, Target's CEO, said that "Target's support of the [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company." The Los Angeles Times reported that an e-mail from Steinhafel to Target employees said "The intent of our political contribution to MN Forward was to support economic growth and job creation." After the 2010 reaction, Steinhafel promised to "begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena." --PHOTO: AP

NIKE: SUPPORTED REFERENDUM 71 Nike has gone on the record in support of Referendum 71, which is a Washington state measure to keep the domestic-partnership law that provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples. --PHOTO: AP(AP PHOTO)


BEST BUY: ON THE FENCE The Human Rights Campaign addressed Best Buy in a 2010 letter, demanding that the company "make it right" after the company donated $100,000 to anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. However, before the incident, Best Buy had been on HRC's perfect 100-percent score list for corporate equality. --PHOTO: AP

CHICK-FIL-A: PROTESTED BY GAY-RIGHTS ACTIVISTS The Hollywood branch of Chick-fil-A was recently picketed by protesters who say the restaurant has anti-gay policies. Protesters said the Atlanta-based chain donates to groups that oppose gay rights, including Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Chick-fil-A has released a statement, saying, "We support a number of organizations that enrich the communities where we serve daily. Some of these organizations are faith-based and marriage-focused and others are not. These donations have not been given to support an anti-gay political agenda."

LEVI'S: AGAINST PROP 8 A major supporter of the "No to Prop 8" campaign in California, Levi's also joined the White Knot campaign, tying white ribbons to their mannequins in support of gay marriage. It was also the first Fortune 500 company to offer health benefits to domestic partners. --PHOTO: BEN MARGOT/AP(Ben Margot/AP Photo)


DOMINO'S PIZZA: ON THE FENCE One of Domino's founders, Tom Managhan, has taken heat in the past for cofounding the Thomas More Law Center, which has acted as an advocate to restrict access to domestic-partner benefits and financed a 2001 ballot proposal in Ypsilanti, Mich., to remove sexual orientation from that city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Managhan has since left the company. --PHOTO: AP

THE SALVATION ARMY: STICK TO SCRIPTURE "Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex," the Salvation Army's website reads. The organization has come under scrutiny for the policies discussed on its site, which also discusses how celibacy is the only acceptable lifestyle for gays and lesbians to partake in. While the nation's largest charity does not discriminate against gays in hiring or in providing services to those in need, it doesn't want to be forced to provide gay and lesbian couples the same benefits as heterosexual married employees, said David Fuscus, a national spokesman for the organization, The Seattle Times reports.

AMERICAN APPAREL: 'LEGALIZE GAY' American Apparel publicly supports the repeal of Proposition 8, producing shirts reading "Legalize Gay." Its website reads that the company "believes that sexuality should be celebrated, not condemned." --PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS


WALMART: ON THE FENCE Walmart has a patchy history with pro-gay-rights groups. It refuses to carry LGBT publications, although it has sold an anti-gay children's book that encourages LGBT customers to "overcome their sin and revert to heterosexuality," Newser reported. However, Walmart also fired an anti-gay worker after a lesbian employee complained about her, taking the resulting lawsuit all the way to federal appeals court. They also banned an anti-gay pastor for using a false name to advertise. --PHOTO: JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A-1 SELF STORAGE: YES TO PROP 8 A family-run company with 40 locations throughout California, the California Against Hate blog says A-1 Self Storage owner Terry Caster and his family contributed $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign. That made the Casters the second largest individual donors on California's 2008 "Yes on Prop 8" campaign.

MICROSOFT: SUPPORTED REFERENDUM 71 Microsoft donated $100,000 to Washington Families Standing Together in support of Referendum 71. In addition, company founder and chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer added their own personal donations to the pot. --PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS(wikimedia commons)

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