WASHINGTON (BP) -- Led by such big names as Verizon, AT&T, General Motors and Ford, 252 U.S. businesses received a perfect score for their policies affirming homosexuality, according to a yearly ranking from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay group.
The businesses achieved a score of 100 despite the fact that the 2013 survey -- known as the Corporate Equality Index -- added criteria to make it more comprehensive. This year, for the first time, in order to achieve a perfect score a company had to provide equal benefits to the spouses of same-sex employees, offer "transgender-inclusive" health insurance, and demonstrate public support for the gay community. The latter could be done by: 1) catering ads to the gay community, 2) donating to gay organization or events or 3) supporting initiatives or laws -- such as gay marriage laws -- that are backed by the gay community.
The more stringent criteria meant that the number of businesses achieving a perfect score actually fell from the 2012 survey, when it was 337. When the survey was launched in 2002, only 13 businesses scored a 100.
Many businesses actually compete to achieve a perfect score, and they send out press releases once the report is released.
"We've learned over the past decade that many companies are ready and eager to do the right thing," HRC President Chad Griffin said in the report.
In addition to the new criteria, to achieve a perfect score, businesses also had to offer diversity training or recourses to their employees.
The list shows the difficulty that social conservatives and Christians will encounter if they want to avoid businesses who support homosexuality.
For instance, among car manufacturers, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota and Volkswagen all made perfect scores while Subaru made an 85 and Nissan a 75.
American Express and MasterCard got perfect scores while Visa received a 90.
Computer hardware companies also led the list, with Apple, Dell and Xerox receiving perfect scores. Software companies Microsoft, Oracle and Electronic Arts (EA) also scored 100s.
Coca-Cola received a perfect score as did PepsiCo. (Dr. Pepper made a 70.) Big food names such as General Mills, Kellogg's and Kraft made 100s. Scores for popular restaurant companies were: Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster -- 100), Starbucks (90), McDonald's (75), Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell -- 70), Bob Evans (75), Burger King (55), Cracker Barrel (35) and Domino's Pizza (35).
Several popular stores achieved perfect scores: Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Gap, Nordstrom, Sears, Staples, Target and Walgreen's. Home Depot made a 75, Lowe's a 15. Wal-Mart scored a 60.
EBay, Google and Yahoo all scored perfect, while Amazon.com made a 90.
Among airlines, United Airlines achieved a perfect score of 100 while Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and U.S. Airways received a 90.
The HRC report also listed companies that in the past year have supported gay marriage or opposed traditional marriage laws. Among them: Aetna, Amazon.com, eBay, Electronic Arts, Expedia, Gap, General Mills, Google, Levi Strauss, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft, New Balance, Nike, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Time Warner, T-Mobile, Viacom and Xerox.
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. The full report is online at http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/CorporateEqualityIndex_2013.pdf. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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