Home Depot stands firm on LGBT equalityAround the City Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Local do-it-yourselfers are joining with LGBTs nationwide in appreciating The Home Depot’s decision to stay its course in support of equal rights for our community. The world’s largest home-improvement retailer, has been under attack from the American Family Association (AFA) for some months over the company’s support of the so-called homosexual agenda.
AFA’s attack on The Home Depot is just one of many such boycotts from anti-equality advocates. Last week San Diego LGBT Weekly reported on another corporate giant which is being targeted by right-wing, National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) “Dump Starbucks” campaign, which was launched as a result of Starbuck’s policies supporting same-sex marriage.
Late in 2011, AFA launched a campaign to boycott The Home Depot over this “homosexual agenda.” The AFA Web site urged people to “take action” and boycott local stores, sign an online petition, call their local store, pray for The Home Depot Chairman Frank Blake and print and distribute an AFA paper petition at schools and churches.
“I heard about the whole AFA horseshit last week,” said Honor Garrett-Mendes, an Oceanside resident who was shopping with her wife at The Home Depot in San Diego Saturday. “To be honest, we weren’t sure whether Home Depot had caved in or not. I know; I should have gone online to find out before we drove down, but I’m relieved to hear they stood up for what’s right.”
Garrett-Mendes and her wife Maria were buying supplies for a project they are working on to improve the latter’s grandmother’s home.
“I really like the deals they have and how they are supportive of gay marriage,” said Garrett-Mendes.
AFA claimed that as a result of its boycott The Home Depot’s participation in Gay Pride events dropped significantly and that they had forbidden employees from wearing the company’s signature orange aprons to LGBT-themed functions. By early January, AFA were claiming some success stating that The Home Depot was silently dropping its public support of the LGBT community.
However, that was not the case according to The Home Depot. After the AFA had released its findings The Home Depot hit back denying they were dropping any of its policies and that they remained committed to the “inclusion of all people.”
In an email statement The Home Depot said, “We have never changed our commitment to diversity and inclusion of all people, and we have no intention of doing so. Nor have we changed our apron policy or the guidelines for our charitable giving.”
Matthew Jackson, a gay man who lives downtown said he hadn’t known about the roiling controversy surrounding the company, as he wheeled out a cache of plywood to his Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck. He was pleased to learn about The Home Depot’s decision to ignore the AFA’s pressure on the company.
“I probably would start shopping at Lowes or a lumber store if they did change that,” he said. “But I think our community should support The Home Depot. They’ve got our back.”
AFA subsequently accused The Home Depot of breaking its own written policies by continuing to sponsor Gay Pride festivals and Human Rights Campaign fundraising events.
AFA continued to urge people to “take action” stating, “Every homosexual organization The Home Depot supports has as its top priority the legalization of homosexual marriage.”
In face of The Home Depot’s kickback, AFA changed its tact and in late February went on the attack accusing The Home Depot of “forcing its pro-homosexual agenda on employees.”
Showing a picture of an employee break room notice board displaying “Celebrating Gay Pride” the AFA Web site claimed that The Home Depot was “forcing its employees to accept the company’s pro-homosexual agenda by allowing large ‘indoctrination’ posters to be placed in areas used by employees.”
As of writing the AFA Web site continues to urge people to boycott The Home Depot.
But to its credit, The Home Depot remains steadfast in its commitment to include all people. Like many other corporations including Microsoft, Apple, Google and Nike The Home Depot has not buckled under the threat of boycott and continues to be supportive and respectful of all people stating on its Web site, “In order to remain successful, our associates must work in an environment of mutual respect, free of discrimination and harassment where each associate is regarded as a part of The Home Depot team.”
In addition, The Home Depot Foundation continues to grant millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations within local communities.
Destructive boycotts of corporations who employ hundreds of thousands of people only lead to job losses for all, irrespective of race, color or sexual orientation. Similarly, corporations who bow to such pressures also create job losses and disparities. Thankfully The Home Depot is not one of those corporations.
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