Wal-Mart out of the closet and into the fray

Dateline: Thu 31 Aug 2006

I am just all mixed up.

Longtime correspondent, conservative deep thinker and friend Bob Palma of Brownsburg has sent out an email, informing us that Wal-Mart has joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Here is what Advertising Age magazine reports, in part -- Palma linked to the story in his email:

"Although Wal-Mart has never excluded homosexuals from being employees, customers, or suppliers, the company wanted to be more closely identified with promoting the homosexual agenda. Wal-Mart is now a "corporate member" of the NGLCC, putting their approval on the NGLCC's efforts to abolish the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A Wal-Mart vice president will serve as an advisor to the NGLCC, helping them promote homosexual marriage.

"Wal-Mart agreed to give $25,000 to the NGLCC and to pay for two

conferences scheduled by NGLCC. Also, Wal-Mart will give homosexual-owned businesses special treatment when making purchases.

"Companies not owned by homosexuals will be moved down the list."

See link http://www.afa.net/walmartadage.htm.

You can also check out the link to the national gay/lesbian chamber:

http://www.nglcc.org/ht/d/Home/pid/647.

That site includes a list of national big-name companies that are part of the gay/lesbian biz consortium. In Indiana, the umbrella group is the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. But it really does not have very many members. (Everybody's in the closet?)

Bob Palma is not at all happy with Wal-Mart's decision. He is urging everyone to get on the Don Wildmon American Family Association's bandwagon and let Wal-Mart know that this is a bad move. "If you ever needed a reason to stop shopping at Wal-Mart, here it is," said Bob.

While I like and respect Bob a great deal, I don't share his politics or religious beliefs when it comes to gays and lesbians. To me, it is a civil rights issue, and gay men and women should be accorded some kind of legal sanctuary if they chose to commit to one another and/or raise kids together.

But back to the confusion part.

Most of my liberal friends hate, loathe and despise Wal-Mart because of that whole walmartsucks.com mindset -- to hear them talk, Wal-Mart is to the globe what slavery was to the South. You know the drill: Wal-Mart exploits employees with pathetic wages, overtime violations and by sexually discriminating against women (valid and documented points); Wal-Mart runs mom and pop stores out of town (it does); Wal-Mart is doing more harm than good to the economy (a matter of debate).

But then Wal-Mart does this supposedly cool "liberal thing" -- embracing gays -- and what are the libs do? Give up Nordstrom? Race towards that happy little yellow smiley face? Will he trade his yellow cheeks for lilac? Sport a rainbow scarf?

Maybe the late Sam Walton's great-nephew turned up gay or something. Anyhow, I admire Wal-Mart for taking a principled stand.

I wonder why certain other companies -- say the Star -- which has actively promoted a gay agenda both in its news and editorial pages since Gannett came to town, can't also come clean and acknowledge its gay leadership?

But then there's a lawsuit that is dealing with that, isn't there? That would be the one filed by former Star employees and editorial writers Lisa Coffey and James Patterson, who allege that the Star was intolerant towards their Christian beliefs and their moral stance on homosexuality.

Coffey specifically was told to keep her concerns about the homosexual lifestyle and health issues to herself and out of the editorial pages. Coffey's and Patterson's lawyer John Price would like to see a little more honesty on the part of the Star. For now, the lawyers are exchanging whatever lawyers exchange.

Hmmm. Interesting times make for strange bed-fellows.

I remain confused, but I do believe this: If Wal-Mart can come out of the closet, so can everyone else. Or as we used to say in the 60s...let a million flowers bloom. And let the sun shine in.

Contact me:ruth@ruthholladay.com

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