things to think about


today i am thinking about: JCPENNEY’S GAY RIGHTS RECORD
February 13, 2012, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Ok guys, now I am going to be that guy, and be obsessed with something. Namely, how much JCPenney’s does or does not love gays.

Because I get it, right, there’s this shop in, it’s awesome, JCP didn’t cave when pressured by the crazy wackadoo right wing, that’s great and how it should be. But are they really so very pro-gay?

Yes, they have basic workplace protections for gay people. How much they are enforced, though, is always hard to tell. So what better way to find out than to look at their political contributions?

(Everything that follows is from opensecrets.org, linked right above.)

So in both the House and the Senate, JCP supports Republican candidates way above Democrats. Since 2006, JCP has spent $306,850 on Republican races, and $105,000 on Democrat ones. It isn’t fair to equate being Republican to being anti-gay, but it isn’t far. Some of JCP’s all-stars include Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann during their senate and house careers, respectively. A quick google scan of this year’s crop so far includes being stupid about DADT repeal, (Peter Roskam), a Planned-Parenthood-hating politician actually referred to in the lede of an article as “anti-gay” (Dean Heller), and almost everyone else at least going so far as to make a point saying that they are “pro-family” (which is basically code for “no gays please.”) The votes are anti-DADT repeal, anti-gay marriage, et cetera, et cetera. Basically standard Republican fare.

It’s not like they’re giving a lot of money, true – the largest gift I could find scanning the records (you have to pay to download/bring into a real data analysis program) was about $3,500. And yes, they gave to Dianne Feinstein, and Patty Murray, and Kirsten Gillibrand; clearly they are not evaluating their contributions and only giving to anti-gay candidates. But the thing is, they are also giving to way more candidates who aren’t good for homosexuals.

So where is THAT boycott? Where is the demand for support for a larger gay agenda? Supporting gays enough to sell to them is different than supporting gays enough to support legislators and, by extent, legislation that is homo-friendly.

The objection I feel even in writing this, however, is that of course they aren’t going to support only gay-friendly candidates. Their litmus test isn’t about gay rights. It isn’t fair to hold them to a standard that has nothing to do with their work. They’re a store! Not a gay rights organization!

To which I can only say: EXACTLY. They’re a store, not a gay rights organization. They are making business decisions. They thought it was strategic to support gays vis a vis using Ellen, and they stuck by their convictions because it was wise at the time. It makes me sad that we are lionizing a store for thinking we are worth selling to without even requiring them to support a larger gay agenda. Is that really how far our expectations have sunk?

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