Target: Exxon Mobil shareholders
Goal: Include sexual orientation in Exxon Mobil’s official equal employment opportunity statement.
Gay rights has evolved into one of this generation’s most definitive sociopolitical issues. The scientific consensus is that we do not determine our sexualities but rather are born with them. Around the world, most multinational, publicly owned companies have recognized this truth and have moved to give their representatives from the LGBT community the proper legal protections. Unfortunately, there is one devastating exception: oil juggernaut Exxon Mobil.
Exxon Mobil is arguably the world’s most powerful corporation. It is the largest corporation by both revenue and market capital, and of the world’s six oil supermajors, it is the largest refiner, producing almost 4 million barrels a day. Its influence is broad-spanning, and its conservative attitude towards homosexuality is equally legendary. According to the New York Times, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies acknowledge sexual orientation in their equal employment opportunity statements, officially protecting their gay work force from discrimination and harassment and giving them the necessary legal benefits. Exxon Mobil has repeatedly refused to do this.
This staunch position has proven to be counterproductive. While the company provides its LGBT laborers abroad with the minimum legal protections as assured by the laws of foreign countries, it has lobbied to roll back those protections, particularly in the U.S. Furthermore, most of today’s industries have turned into Pac Man-like oligopolies, with big businesses constantly acquiring small ones for the sake of capitalist competition. As Exxon has consumed such valuable acquisitions as Mobil and XTO Energy, it has forced them to take back their official support of gay rights by replacing their liberal equal employment opportunity statement with its conservative one. Exxon spokespersons insist that the company is not prejudiced against homosexuality, but they cannot hide this reversal of decades’ worth of social progress.
Recently, Exxon Mobil held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Dallas, Texas, and gay rights was on the agenda, as it has been at every meeting for over a decade, to no avail. As it was, according to numerous news sources, only 20 percent of shareholders voted in favor of officially recognizing gay rights. Corporate America as a whole could have taken a huge step towards breaking down the barrier between sexual orientations, but four-fifths of Exxon Mobil clearly does not want that to happen. By signing the petition below, you can openly censure Exxon Mobil for refusing to give its LGBT workers official legal support, perhaps in the hopes that by the next shareholders’ meeting, a majority of them will change their minds.
Dear Exxon Mobil Shareholders,
The new millennium has seen the West grow rapidly more accepting of and welcoming to homosexuality. Fifteen nations and twelve states in America have legalized same-sex marriage, and that number will only increase; science has determined that sexuality is inborn and not consciously decided. (Doubters, honestly ask yourselves: Did you choose one day to be straight, or do you simply feel attraction towards the opposite sex?) Much less, big businesses throughout the U.S. are recognizing LGBT persons as a minority vulnerable to prejudice, no different from women, non-whites, youths, the elderly, the poor and the disabled, and have taken the necessary steps to protect them from workplace harassment and employment discrimination.
Exxon Mobil, sadly, cannot be included in this trend. Time and again, you have been offered the chance to add sexual orientation to your official equal employment opportunity statement, and time and again, you have forsaken that chance. You are in a narrowing minority on this issue. Most Fortune 500 companies, including all other oil giants, officially prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. You have forced smaller companies you’ve acquired to reverse their progressive positions, and you continue to balk at gay rights in U.S. states that recognize gay marital unions and/or have laws providing gays with equality in the workplace. This is despite the fact that the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which permits you to subvert state law, is now in serious question. If you remain stubborn in your stance, you risk the decrease of your market share, consumer boycotts, and other such public reactions.
You recently met in Dallas, Texas, to once again discuss–among other issues–the addition of sexuality to your EEO statement, and as usual, you struck it down. Frankly, you should be ashamed of yourselves. If you do not eventually make the right choice and vote to officially give gays the legal protections that they deserve for merely being human, your business may face serious repercussions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo by lightfoot via morgueFile.