The CEO of Wal-Mart, just like Mormons, can exercise his right to free speech and expression however he sees fit. I too have that right — and will exercise it by refusing to give the company that pays him my business and by saying so. Why? Well, I have many reasons for not shopping Wal-Mart, but here is the newest kick in the rubber parts: The Advocate tells us that the already-suspect discount chain’s new CEO has a problem with gay people adopting children. That being the case, Wal-Mart should expect GLBT people and their allies to have reservations about spending their money there
The new CEO of Wal-Mart was among those who signed a petition to place an initiative on the Arkansas ballot last November to ban adoption and foster parenting by gay couples, reports the group KnowThyNeighbor.org.
A signature from Mike Duke, with an address that matches the known residence and birth date of the Wal-Mart head, was verified by the state and counted to place Act 1 on the ballot. The initiative, which passed with 57% approval among voters, makes it illegal for unmarried cohabitating couples — gay or straight — to adopt or foster children.
Opponents of Act 1 charged that the true intent behind the measure was to limit the family rights of same-sex couples. The proposal included straight couples to ensure its constitutional viability, given that a previous ban targeting only same-sex couples had been struck down.
Last week, KnowThyNeighbor.org posted online the names of more than 83,000 Arkansas residents who signed the petition to place Act 1 on the ballot. The public data, which was provided by the Arkansas secretary of state, can be found here.
Act 1 is evil. No melodrama or hyperbole here: Fifty-seven percent of Arkansans hate GLBT people so much, they chose to throw unmarried hets under the bus in order to keep gays from even approaching equality in their state. Let’s call it what this is: evil.
Some advice for Arkansas do-gooders from a Baltimore progressive: Get to work on a repeal effort. And KnowThyNeighbor has a huge list of folks who could stand to endure a little free expression in return.
For Baltimoeans, Wal-Mart is here too. So are bigots. And we too can send a message to the Arkansans who took such pains to stick it to the queers by boycotting bigoted people and institutions in Arkansas. Be kind and dignified — do not do a Perez Hilton, please — but, from the high road, let the bigots of Bill Clinton’s home state know in no uncertain terms: The final day for legalized discrimination in this country is coming sooner than they think. Let them know that decent people will not support the discriminators with gay and allied dollars. In other words, until this evil wrong is redressed, boycott Wal-Mart. Boycott bigoted Arkansas.