On Wednesday (10 July), a group of 30 LGBTI advocates sent a letter to dozens of tech companies, urging them to stop donating to anti-LGBTI politicians.
These companies include Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Dell, T-Mobile, and Amazon.
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According to Buzzfeed News, the group Zeros for Zeros analyzed the contribution data between 2010 and 2019 of the top-scoring companies on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index.
It found that 49 corporate PACs gave a combined $5,837,331 [€5,171,495.84] to members of Congress who received a rating of zero on the HRC’s legislative scorecard. This includes Texas Rep. Ted Cruz. Last year, Cruz introduced legislation that would make it legal for businesses and nonprofits to discriminate against same-sex couples.
‘These corporations create welcoming and safe environments for their LGBTQ employees and market to LGBTQ customers,’ Lane Hudson, campaign manager for Zero for Zeros, told Buzzfeed. ‘But they’re still giving to members of Congress who will make an America that is unsafe for all of us. And we want them to reconcile their values with their corporate giving.’
Companies like Google gave a combined $178,500 [€158,139.40] through their corporate PAC to anti-LGBTI politicians as well. Google has faced scrutiny for refusing to crack down on hate speech, and donated $10,000 [€8,859.35] to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee. In 2014, Lee made statements in defense of religious liberty at the expense of LGBTI rights.
PACs associated with Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, and Dell gave about $15,000 [€13,289.02] total to Texas Rep. Brian Babin. Republican Babin previously called Obama’s policy on gender-neutral bathrooms ‘wrong’ and ‘misguided.’
‘The federal government should not be in the business of throwing common sense and decency out the window and forcing local schools to permit a teenage boy who “identifies” as a girl to use changing rooms, locker rooms, and bathrooms with five year-old girls,’ Babin said in a statement.
‘For over four decades we’ve been committed to the LGBTQ+ community and have led the way in adopting workplace policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,’ an AT&T representative told Buzzfeed. ‘We support candidates on both sides of the aisle who are addressing the issues that impact our business, our employees, and our customers. That doesn’t mean we support their views on every issue.’
Microsoft, Google, AT&T, and T-Mobile are among the companies that, via their PACs, have donated thousands to Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King. King ran a successful campaign to oust three of the state’s Supreme Court judges after they ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Constitution.
Amazon, Dell, Google, Microsoft, and T-Mobile did not reply to Buzzfeed’s request for comment.
‘We’re not asking for the moon,’ Hudson said. ‘We’re just asking them to not give money to the most anti-gay members of Congress. These companies are giving money to politicians who would undo all the progress they supported. It doesn’t make sense.’
This revelation comes after many responded skeptically to corporations participating in this year’s Pride. This phenomenon is known as Rainbow Capitalism. This is where, for the month of June, companies will pay lip service to the LGBTI community (for example, changing their logos to include the Pride flag) in a way to pander to LGBTI consumers.