Many of America’s most successful companies continue to snuggle up to homosexuals, with a record 101 firms receiving a perfect score for “gay”-friendliness, according to a new ranking by a homosexual-rights group.
“Corporate America knows that treating employees fairly is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for the bottom line,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which released its annual Corporate Equality Index.
“The enormous growth we’ve tracked in fair employee policies proves that corporate America is making good on the old adage: what’s good for business is good for America.”
HRC’s index is the nation’s only rating system for corporations on homosexual, bisexual and transgender policies, rating companies on a scale from 0 to 100 percent based on a variety of indicators, such as diversity training, equal health-care benefits, and policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Among this year’s findings:
- * A record 101 companies score 100 percent, attributed to a sharp increase in gender identity non-discrimination policies. In 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect mark.
* Today, 5.6 million people work at the 101 companies that score 100 percent. Three years ago, approximately 690,000 people were employed by the 13 companies with a perfect score.
* Eighty-one percent of scored companies offer health benefits to the domestic partners of employees, up from 70 percent in 2002.
Some companies are proudly flaunting their perfect scores, including insurance and financial giant MetLife.
“Our corporate vision to build financial freedom for everyone is all-inclusive for a reason,” said Debra Capolarello, MetLife’s senior vice president and chief talent officer. “We recognize that our employees have diverse strengths, our customers have diverse financial needs, and we are committed to ensuring that respect for diversity remains ingrained in our culture.”
Arthur Ryan of Prudential Financial
At Prudential Financial, CEO Arthur Ryan said, “Diversity continues to be key to the ongoing success of our company, and we remain committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive work environment for all people.”
Eastman Kodak, the photography company criticized several years ago for firing a 23-year veteran who objected to a pro-homosexual memo, also received a perfect 100 score for “gay”-friendliness.
Kodak president Antonio Perez
“Diversity and inclusion is a key business imperative for us,” says Kodak president Antonio Perez on the company’s website.
The index notes that in electronics retail, Best Buy offers full protections to homosexuals, while competitor Radio Shack scores a 29 percent and Circuit City holds a 43 percent score.
It says corporations “actively working against equality” include Emerson Electric with a 29 percent score, Entergy with 36 percent, ExxonMobil with 14 percent, and Perot Systems with a 14 percent score.
The HRC notes ExxonMobil “has the dubious distinction of being the only U.S. company to roll back both benefits eligibility for its employees’ domestic partners and a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy.”
In the financial sector, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase each score 100, compared to MBNA that has given money to groups opposed to special rights for homosexuals, and scores only 43 percent.
Other companies which have relatively low scores on the pro-homosexual chart include Alltel, Aquila, Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, Cracker Barrel, H.J. Heinz, Hormel Foods, May Department Stores, Maytag, Nestle Purina PetCare, Newell Rubbermaid, Nissan, Rite Aid and Rohm & Haas.
Click here to read the 2005 Corporate Equality Index. Report is in .pdf format.
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