Urban Outfitters, Walmart And Other Brands That Want Nothing To Do With Gay Marriage

bud-lightEveryone and their mother has been going red in the past few days in support of marriage equality, including several high-profile brands — Bud Light, Smirnoff, Absolut…we’re sensing a trend here.

Others have remained silent on the issue, but a new Tumblr is forcing companies out of the closet. Brand Equality features dozens of brand logos stylized with the Human Rights Campaign’s red equal sign — giving the assumption that they support marriage equality.

Brands have the option to say nothing and let the assumption ride; confirm their support; or request that their logo be removed, implying that they do not support marriage equality.

A sort of “public shaming,” if you will; or complete transparency, if you won’t.  However, as Business Insider notes, it’s possible that these brands “don’t allow for their logos to be reproduced for legal, trademark or intellectual property reasons.”

Either way, these four brands asked to have their logos removed. Brand Equality has replaced their original comments (below) with the more equitable — “So, do these brands want to be removed? Or to replace the image sent in with a ‘neutral’ stance? Just let us know. This is all about transparency.”


Exxon is the first company to receive a negative score from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, and “is the only U.S. employer that has ever rescinded both a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation and domestic partner benefits, and is the only Fortune 10 company that does not have a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation.”


Urban Outfitters briefly removed — only to restock –T-shirts supporting gay marriage from its stores, and donated 100% of sales to pro-marriage equality groups. The retailer, however, most recently caused outrage with a “closet tranny” card. Meanwhile, president and founder Richard Hayne infamously donated $13,500 to ultra-conservative anal sex byproduct Rick Santorum over the years.

wal-martWalmart recently added trans protections to its employee non-discrimination policy, however, the mega-chain has a history of rolling back the courtesy with regards to the LGBT community, including: CEO Mike Duke signing a petition in 2008 to prevent Arkansas same-sex couples from adopting; allegedly demoting an employee and forcing him to wear a yellow vest after he came out; and receiving a 40 out of a possible 100 on HRC’s Equality Index.


We think it’s pretty safe to assume that this one legitimately doesn’t want to be associated with gay marriage, no matter how many free waffle fries it shoves down your throat.

Whether shamed or exposed in the name of transparency, do you think these brands want to purposefully distance themselves from marriage equality? Sound off in the comments.

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  • 2eo

    Great idea, it’s time we started treating these corporations as things and not people. The right, and the media with their advertising puppet masters have done a masterful job of elevating corporations to the realm reserved for stupid peoples deities.

    I’m pro anything that dehumanises corporate entities.

  • Cam

    “”However, as Business Insider notes, it’s possible that these brands “don’t allow for their logos to be reproduced for legal, trademark or intellectual property reasons.””

    And if that was the case they would have explained that when asking for their logos to be removed wouldn’t they? If they didn’t then it is clear why not.

  • hyhybt

    I don’t like the principle behind this at all. Why shouldn’t businesses be free not to take a position if they either don’t want to or aren’t ready? Why shouldn’t they be the ones to decide when to speak on a subject at all, as well as exactly how they position themselves?

    The whole thing is inherently and deliberately dishonest: using logos in that manner (especially with the knowledge which nobody can truthfully claim not to have that they will be distributed away from the site explaining their origin) is equivalent to spreading a false quote. It’s designed to make companies that ask for theirs to be taken down look bad, and they would even if they explicitly state that the reason is that they like to control how their logo is used. Meanwhile, the opposite effect can be worse: those that don’t complain are presumed to agree, even if nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Cam


    They ARE free to take a position. And we are of course free to relay their position to others and shop or not shop there as we choose. Why is it that THEY can do what they want, but us disagreeing with them is somehow verbotten? That is the same argument people like Rick Perry try to use.

  • schlukitz


    I fully agree with you.

  • Tommysole

    Why bother to force it down their throats?
    This is life not a porno film. If they support gay marriage, fine. If not, who cares? WE are here and we are not leaving, sooner or later they will have to accept that fact and deal with it.
    Of course there will always be people that hate us, blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Whites, and every other ethnicity on the planet.

  • balehead

    Just bought the wood speaker from Urban Outfitters…it is great!!….If it wasn’t for Free Speech …nobody could have promoted equal rights in the first place….boycotting is for dummies….

  • Jay

    balehead, what is a “wood speaker”?

  • hyhybt

    @Cam: Unless you totally misread my post, I cannot see any possible way to get from what I said to thinking I meant they’re not free to take a position or that people should not react according to their answer.

    My point is that they should also be free NOT to take a position, and free to take their position, if they take one at all, in the time and manner of their choosing. The whole point of this exercise, contrary to that, is to force them into taking at least a presumed position *right now,* in a specific manner, whether they want to or not.

    How can you possibly not see the difference?

  • Buzzct

    Exxon speaks for itself. I have boycotted the company since I was in college. And what would one expect from Walmart, which has been spawning so many walmartians for years, or Chickfilet, which has been long known as a homophobic company. But I’m surprised (and glad!) to learn about Urban Outfitters: I’ve bought my last piece of clothing there as of today.

    I think we should spread the word, as was done with Chickfilet.

  • TheMarc

    @hyhybt: I completely agree with your original and follow up statement. I don’t like giving credit to those who have not earned it. It’s one thing to be a Starbucks, a fierce pro-equality ally, and a completely different one to be some company who hasn’t asked for their logo to yet be removed from some blog. I prefer to acknowledge the support of those companies that ACTIVELY stand with us; such as those who have been pro-equality and have courageously (or shrewdly) stood up to say so.

    This is essentially a hard line tactic meant to force companies to agree or disagree with the current swell of support for gay marriage. I say if we have to force them; then we already know where they stand; apathy, cowardice or disagreement. And to that note, I implore people with the luxury of choice to use it. Put your money with those companies who have shown our community support, real support; whenever you can. And avoid those who actively stand against us.

  • MK Ultra

    Certainly we can’t force these corporations to do anything.
    But we can persuade them.
    That is, if these corporations truly believe in their homophobic opinions, they should have no problem with those opinions being advertised over and over and over again, and they should stand by them.

  • DuMaurier

    If the companies have anti-gay policies, then it hardly matters what they do about the logo. But if they have good policies, then I don’t think they should be expected to jump through hoops to explain why they don’t want someone using them in a promotion of any kind without their prior agreement. If I owned a business and someone did that with my product I’d ask them to cease and desist just on principle, even if I agreed with their aims.

  • eros-philia

    I work for Walmart and have done for nearly 25 years now. We have a very active LGBT group that is working with the executive leadership on LGBT issues. This group was started in the Bentonville home office about 9 years ago and we have recently started LGBT resource groups in our eCommerce office in San Francisco, in our UK office and looking to see how we expand this more. This is a slow process but it has been moving in the right direction. I’m not here to defend the organization’s progress to date only to let you know that we are making strides forward. Walmart, like a lot of America, is very conservative and like society it takes time to change opinions and attitudes. Being gay in the organization has never been an issue for me or several of my LGBT friends that have also been with the company for many years. I have been out at work for nearly 20 years which includes time working in the stores, home office and abroad. Again, I’m not here to defend the company, only to let you know that we are working on things and to let you know that there have been changes. Overall I believe in our company and the contributions that we do make to society. I also understand the frustration that the general public sees with our company which is why we are diligently working from the inside to help make changes.


    Although I can understand companies not wanting their logos tampered with, I do think that it is important to know “what side they are on.” People need to put their money where their mouth is: if a company does not support equality, then do not support that company with your money. Easy enough. However, I don’t necessarily think that not wanting a logo altered is necessarily a sign of bigotry. A lot goes into designing logos, and logos play a big role in cementing brands in people’s memories…so I could see another, less obvious side of it.

  • Kieran

    The only way to deal with anti-gay companies like URBAN OUTFITTERS is for gay consumers to BOYCOTT them until they become more responsible. Hit them where it hurts…in their pocketbooks.

  • Jerry12

    I always say: If in douet; Chicken Out! I can live without buying anything they sell. If they do not want to state that they are “Gay Friendly” and practice it, I can buy whatever they sell some where else.

  • Cyn

    Boycott is a big word. I don’t shop at stores that don’t pay and promote people fairly, or if they come right out and reveal their leadership as assholes. I do believe the Walton family has done that repeatedly, as has the nasty chicken place and others. I do spend my money according to my belief system. So fuck ’em if they want our money and then spend it against us.


    Boycott is a big word. But the only thing that makes these and all large corporations move forward is that they feel it in there pocket. And us as consumers it is the only way we really can make a difference and make them changer there minds for good.
    I am the founder of a new gay dating sight and as a gay person my corp will support gay marriage and equality for all no matter what.

  • FStratford

    I will never buy gasoline from Exxon ever again. How is Shell or BP?

  • ShowMeGuy

    I have worked for WalMart for 12 years after leaving the homophobic field of public education in Missouri.
    Each WalMart store follows all local, county, state, and federal laws as they involve LGBT issues. WalMart has had excecutives on the Board of the LGBT American Chamber of Commerce. The partner of a WalMart worker can be issued a discount card, just like an actual married spouse. A WalMart worker who buys a Sam’s Club membership in the payroll deduction purchase option can also buy a membership for their bed occupant of the same gender…..just like a str8 married WalMart worker.
    Yes, your local WalMart may not roll out the rainbow carpet for the lgbt community…but that just means your local store has a fauxmerican, homophobic little prick for a store manager.
    I’ve seen gay pride hat displays in my store in June. How do I know they were *gay pride* hats, you may ask? Simple. The back of the hat had the word *PRIDE!* printed on it in RAINBOW, the panels of the hat were in rainbow color order, and the bill….lol…it was priceless. The topside of the bill said *better on Top* and the underside of the bill said *better on bottom*
    Yeah, WalMart hates **the Gays**.


    Why buy any of their shit anyway??..

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