Oh, Wal-Mart. How I love to hate them. And they just keep making it easier and easier!
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has decided to curb its support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations after conservative Christian groups threatened a boycott, and after some of its own employees expressed disapproval.
The move comes a year after Wal-Mart had put on a gay-friendly smile. The company joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It sponsored the annual convention of Out & Equal, a group that promotes gay rights in the workplace, and sold gay-themed jewelry in stores.
Is anyone really surprised that a store that regularly censors the books and CDs that it sells is caving into the religious right? Color me shocked beyond belief. *rolls eyes*
Wal-Mart's horrendous record of employee abuse, labor law violations, reliance on foreign factories employing child workers to keep costs down, and environmental neglect was enough to get us to stop shopping there ages ago. Unfortunately, many Americans don't have the luxury of shopping elsewhere. (In my small home town of Winchester, Indiana, for example, Wal-Mart is pretty much the only spot to shop anymore. Everything else has dried up or left town.)
Still, you know that respect for gay rights as civil rights has grown exponentially when the CNN Money/Fortune magazine article about the sudden change in course ends with:
The lesson here may be that it's hard to find a middle ground when it comes to gay rights in the workplace. A company either believes in workplace equality for all, and is willing to stand up and say so, or it doesn't.
It's pretty clear where Wal-Mart stands.
I couldn't agree more.