Wal-Mart’s love affair with the gays has come to an end. The mega-retailer joined forces with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce last year, but has again folded to conservative pressure and disavowed its gay ways. From Fortune:
“We are not currently planning corporate-level contributions to GLBT groups,” said Mona Williams, the company’s senior vice president of corporate communications. Individual stores can still donate to gay groups.
By way of explanation, Ms. Williams cited a policy adopted last fall saying that Wal-Mart would not make corporate contributions “to support or oppose highly controversial issues” unless they directly relate to the company’s ability to serve its customers.
While one would expect an outcry from gay activists, it seems even they, like the AFA, can’t quit Wal-Mart.
Selisse Berry from Out & Equal – a group that declares itself “the pre-eminent national organization devoted to the (LGBT) community in the workplace” – insisted the group will continue to support Wal-Mart:
Wal-Mart continues to engage on the issue of worker equality, and we will support them in that…This is a marathon, not a sprint, and so long as Wal-Mart keeps its doors open, we hope to give them encouragement.
Human Rights Campaign also says they’ll keep working with Wal-Mart, “With a company as large as Wal-Mart, it’s not going to happen as fast as many of us would like.”
Gay rights non-profits may be willing to look the other way, but at least one Wal-Mart employee’s not having it:
I thought the company was moving in the right direction. But last week changed everything. Pulling funding from GLBT organizations is a slap in the face to gay employees and it sends a very clear message. Diversity within Wal-Mart is only partially inclusive. They’re catering to their conservative base.
A Wal-Mart employee who’s more in step with gay rights than gay rights activists? Have we stepped into a parallel dimension?