Sometimes, as we fight for equality, we get loud, and we get in your face, and we stomp and parade and demonstrate and get angry. But, sometimes, the best thing we can do is to close our wallets. I mean, do we eat at Chick-fil-A? I don’t—though I never did even before I knew about their anti-LGBT charity work. I also wouldn’t shop at florists who won’t work with gay clients, or bakeries that have a ‘thing’ about baking a same-sex wedding cake. And I won’t be buying gas, still, from ExxonMobil.
This week, once again, ExxonMobil shareholders voted down nondiscrimination protections for LGBT employees at their annual meeting in downtown Dallas by a vote of 81% to 19%. The 19% support for the resolution was reportedly the lowest ever. It marks the 14th consecutive year in which ExxonMobil shareholders have voted down an LGBT nondiscrimination resolution.
On behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, George Wong presented the shareholders with the argument that ExxonMobil should recruit from and retain the widest possible talent pool, including those from the LGBT community. Wong called it “unacceptable” that ExxonMobil also does not accept the validity of New York state marriage licenses if the employee is gay.
And Wong stressed that a failure to do that leads to less efficient business operations, and that most Fortune 500 companies have inclusive nondiscrimination policies, including most other major oil companies; most other major oil companies who will be getting my business.
ExxonMobil is the only company to ever receive a negative score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates businesses according to policies and practices affecting the LGBT community. And, let’s also note that ExxonMobil used to have nondiscrimination protections for LGBT employees, as well as domestic partner health benefits, but that those protections were rescinded when the company merged with Mobil in 1999.
Cece Cox, Resource Center Dallas—an LGBT and HIV/AIDS service organization in North Texas—released a statement following the vote:
“The result of today’s vote by the shareholders of Exxon Mobil is sadly unsurprising. The company continues to incorrectly assert that it provides employment protections and an equitable workplace for its LGBT employees, and Exxon’s shareholders appear to believe that the company’s statement on a web page provides sufficient protections [but] the web statements fall short of true employment protections [and] the company refuses to budge. Exxon says it would comply with an executive order mandating LGBT employment protections for federal contractors if and/or when one is issued, and it is looking more and more likely that will be the only way to get the company to treat all of its employees equitably.”
And my wallet stays closed to ExxonMobil. Does yours?