Record number of companies make 'gay friendly' list

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A record number of U.S. companies -- including such big names as AT&T, Coca-Cola, Ford, Kraft and Walgreens -- received perfect scores this year for being "gay friendly" according to an annual report by the nation's largest homosexual activist organization.

The report, released Sept. 19 by the Human Rights Campaign, said that 138 of the 446 major American companies it surveyed achieved a perfect score of 100 -- an increase from last year, when 101 companies made the list. (A complete list of the companies that achieved a perfect score follows this story.)

And, companies apparently are fighting to get on the list. HRC officials say some companies contacted them ahead of time to make sure they knew this year's requirements. According to HRC President Joe Solmonese, companies are "actively competing to be ranked the most inclusive and fair-minded." HRC calls the report the "Corporate Equality Index."

To obtain a perfect score, a company had to meet several criteria, including:

-- offering domestic partner benefits, such as health insurance, to partners of same-sex employees.

-- providing at least one "transgender wellness benefit" (such as paying for a "sex-change" operation or offering short-term leave for it).

-- providing "diversity training" covering "sexual orientation."

-- providing "diversity training" covering "gender identity" or having "gender transition guidelines" in place (both categories protect cross-dressers and those who undergo "sex changes").

-- prohibiting discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity/expression." (The latter term referring in part to cross-dressers.)

-- engaging in advertising, marketing or philanthropy to the homosexual community.

"They're trying to buy the loyalty of gays and lesbians who have more disposable income than the average American family," Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, a conservative organization that counters the homosexual agenda, told Baptist Press. "... It's not that every gay and lesbian is wealthy. But just because of the lack of children and because of two incomes, they have a lot of money to spend."

Companies typically say their policies are in place so that they can stay competitive in the business market and also keep their homosexual employees happy. LaBarbera, though, said the companies should be asking other questions.

"What about the happiness of your faith-based employees?" he asked. "When you require diversity sessions that basically undermine their belief system? When you give to groups that are anti-Christian or have a disturbing strategy of demonizing Christians?"

Three companies -- ExxonMobil, Meijer and Perot Systems -- finished last with scores of 0, meaning they have no policies in place. LaBarbera said his wife shops at Meijer and that he goes "out of the way" to get gas at Exxon stations.

Christians who are looking for alternatives to some of the companies that made a perfect score may have a tough time. For example, while Coca-Cola made the list, so did Pepsi. AT&T is on there, but so is BellSouth. And while Ford made the list, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and Volkswagen did, too.

A handful of other household names -- the Clorox Company, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson and Levi Strauss -- made the list. Also, several computer hardware/software companies attained a perfect score, including Adobe, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

But the "perfect score" companies are just the tip of the problem. Although many companies didn't make the "perfect" list, a lot came close. A total of 388 companies offer domestic partner health insurance to the partners of homosexual employees, according to HRC. In addition, 391 provide diversity training based on "sexual orientation" and 357 engage in advertising, marketing or philanthropy to the homosexual community, HRC said.

An example of marketing took place this year at the Gay Games in Chicago, where American Airlines, Gatorade, Orbitz, Sirius and Walgreens all were sponsors.

"I think one thing we ought to do is we've got to get [companies] out of the gay funding business," LaBarbera said. "They're creating a huge amount of cash for gay activists to use, and those same activists are using it to turn around and call pro-family people haters and bigots and homophobes."

LaBarbera said it's getting "real hard" to boycott companies that support homosexual activists "because there's just too many" companies involved. He suggested targeting only a few companies, which is what the American Family Association and other companies have done with Ford, which supports homosexual causes and advertises in homosexual magazines. In June a letter was sent to Ford headquarters on behalf of 78 Texas Ford dealers, who said the boycott was "affecting [their] business."

"I think [the boycott has] really hurt Ford," LaBarbera said. "Maybe that's it -- picking one or two targets. I try not to use Kodak, because of their support for GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)."

Any boycott, though, should be accompanied by a letter or e-mail to the company expressing dissatisfaction, LaBarbera said. In addition, he said, companies such as ExxonMobil and Meijer should be contacted and thanked for their stances.

"We've got to communicate to these companies," he said. "What we have to show is that this is not the typical minority agenda. It's one thing giving to minority groups; it's another thing giving to a so-called minority group based on sexual behavior -- and not just sexual behavior, but sexual behavior which most Americans think is wrong."

Following is the list of all 138 companies that achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index:

Adobe Systems Inc. San Jose Calif.; Aetna Inc. Hartford Conn.; Agere Systems Inc., Allentown, Pa.; Agilent Technologies Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.; Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, Minneapolis, Minn.; Alston & Bird LLP, Atlanta, Ga.; American Express Co., New York, N.Y.; AMR Corp., Fort Worth, Texas; Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., St. Louis, Mo.; Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, Calif.; Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C.; AT&T Inc., San Antonio, Texas; Avaya Inc., Basking Ridge, N.J.; Bain & Company Inc., Boston, Mass.; Bank of America Corp., Charlotte, N.C.; Bausch & Lomb Inc., Rochester, N.Y.; BellSouth Corp., Atlanta, Ga.; Best Buy Co. Inc., Richfield, Minn.; Boeing Co. Chicago, Ill.; BP America, Warrenville, Ill.; Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc., Watertown, Mass.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., New York, N.Y.;

California State Automobile Association, San Francisco, Calif.; Capital One Financial Corp., McLean, Va.; Cargill Inc., Wayzata, Minn.; Carlson Companies Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.; Charles Schwab Corp., San Francisco, Calif.; Chevron Corp., San Ramon, Calif.; ChoicePoint Inc., Alpharetta, Ga.; Chubb Corp., Warren, N.J.; CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, Pa.; Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, Calif.; Citigroup Inc., New York, N.Y.; Clear Channel Communications Inc., San Antonio, Texas; Clorox Company, Oakland, Calif.; CMP Media LLC, Manhasset, N.Y.; CNA Insurance, Chicago, Ill.; Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, Ga.; Consolidated Edison Co., New York, N.Y.; Coors Brewing Company, Golden, Colo.; Corning Inc., Corning, N.Y.; Credit Suisse Securities(USA) LLC, New York, N.Y.; Cummins Inc., Columbus, Ind.;

DaimlerChrysler Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.; Dell Inc., Round Rock, Texas; Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, New York, N.Y.; Deutsche Bank, New York, N.Y.: Dorsey & Whitney, Minneapolis, Minn.; Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich.; DuPont (E. I. du Pont de Nemours), Wilmington, Del.; Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y.; Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, Ind.; Ernst & Young LLP, New York, N.Y.; Estée Lauder Companies, New York, N.Y.; Faegre & Benson, Minneapolis, Minn.; Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C.; Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.; Freescale Semiconductor Inc., Austin, Texas;

Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.; General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; General Motors Corp., Detroit, Mich.; GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Philadelphia, Pa.; Global Hyatt Corp., Chicago, Ill.; Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New York, N.Y.; Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif.; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc.; Wellesley, Mass.; Heller Ehrman LLP, San Francisco, Calif.; Hewitt Associates. Lincolnshire, Ill.; Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif; Honeywell International Inc., Morristown, N.J.; Hospira Inc., Lake Forest, Ill.; ING North America Insurance Corp., Atlanta, Ga.; Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif.; International Business Machines Corp., Armonk, N.Y.; Intuit Inc., Mountain View, Calif.; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., New York N.Y.; Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, Ill.; Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.;

Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Keyspan Corp, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group Inc., San Francisco, Calif.; KPMG LLP, New York, N.Y.; Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill.; Lehman Brothers Holdings, New York, N.Y.; Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, Calif.; Lexmark International Inc., Lexington, Ky.; Liz Claiborne Inc., North Bergen, N.J.; Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J.; McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Chicago, Ill.; McKinsey & Co. Inc., New York N.Y.; Mellon Financial Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa.; Merck & Co. Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J.; Merrill Lynch & Co., New York, N.Y.; MetLife Inc., New York, N.Y.; Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Taylorsville, N.C.; T Morgan Stanley, New York N.Y.; Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, Calif.; Motorola Inc., Schaumburg, Ill.;

Nationwide, Columbus, Ohio; NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio; New York Times Co., New York N.Y.; Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.; Nixon Peabody LLP, Rochester, N.Y.; Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, Wash.; Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, Calif; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, San Francisco, Calif.; Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio; PepsiCo Inc., Purchase N.Y.; Pfizer Inc., New York, N.Y.; PG&E Corp., San Francisco, Calif.; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, San Francisco, Calif.; Powell Goldstein LLP, Atlanta, Ga.; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, New York, N.Y.; Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J.; Raytheon Co. Waltham, Mass.; Replacements Ltd., McLeansville, N.C.; S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., Racine, Wis.;

Schering-Plough Corp., Kenilworth, N.J.; Sears Holdings Corporation, Hoffman Estates, Ill.; Sempra Energy, San Diego, Calif.; Sprint Nextel Corp., Reston, Va.; Starcom MediaVest Group, Chicago, Ill.; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, White Plains, N.Y.; State Street Corp., Boston, Mass.; Sun Microsystems Inc., Santa Clara, Calif.; SunTrust Banks Inc., Atlanta, Ga.; Tech Data Corp., Clearwater, Fla.; The Olivia Companies LLC, San Francisco, Calif.; US Airways Group Inc., Phoenix, Ariz.; Viacom Inc. New York, N.Y.; Visa International, Foster City, Calif.; Volkswagen of America Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich.; Wachovia Corp., Charlotte N.C.; Walgreens Co., Deerfield, Ill.; Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, Calif.; Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.; Xerox Corp. Stamford Conn.

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