Walmart and the Walton Family: Enemies of LGBT Equality
Hundreds of corporations filed briefs with the Supreme Court in support of same sex marriage in 2013, but Walmart was not among them. In fact, Walmart finds itself near the bottom of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 2013. Among other things, the report notes that Walmart does not offer health, dental, or vision benefits to same sex partners; does not offer transgender-inclusive health insurance; and does not have company-wide organizational competency programs highlighting sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Waltons appear to be similarly-minded when it comes to blocking progress. In 2008, Jim Walton gave $75,000 to the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee, which at the time was supporting a ballot measure to prevent gay families from adopting. Walton’s contribution amounted to over 55% of all the money the group raised that cycle.
A flyer the group produced at the time described their intent to “blunt the gay agenda.” It reads: “Arkansas has no law to prevent adoptive or foster children from being placed with homosexual couples. Act One prevents gay activists from using Arkansas’ children to advance their agenda.”
The measure passed but has since been struck down by the Arkansas State Supreme Court. Walmart CEO Mike Duke signed the original petition to put the initiative on the ballot.
Meanwhile, every year since 2002, the Walton Family Foundation has made grants to the Christian missionary group Young Life. The group specifically prohibits gays and lesbians from serving as staff or volunteers with the organization.
On their 2012 Congressional Scorecard, the Human Rights Campaign notes which members of Congress support marriage equality and which ones oppose it or are silent on the issue. Among those included on the scorecard, the overwhelming majority of the Waltons’ campaign contributions from 2005 to 2012 went to members of Congress who either oppose or are silent on gay marriage. Only 6% of their contributions went to members of Congress who support gay marriage, even though more than half the public and 35% of Congress do.
The Walmart PAC doesn’t fare much better. Their contributions don’t stack up well against the Human Rights Campaign’s overall scorecard or on the issue of gay marriage, in particular. The majority of the Walmart PAC’s contributions went to candidates with scores of 25 and less out of 100. In fact, the PAC gave over $1.5 million between 2005 and 2012 to candidates with scores of 0 alone. Over the same time period, 77% of the PAC’s contributions went to those who either oppose or are silent on gay marriage. Combined, only 21% of Walmart and the Waltons’ contributions over this time period went to proponents of equality.
The largest recipient of political contributions from the Walton family, Senator John Boozman (R-AR), has received a score of 0 from HRC for every session of Congress since he joined. Boozman has voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual preference and voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to define “traditional marriage.” Former Arkansas Congressman Jay Dickey has also been among the top recipients of campaign contributions from the Waltons. Dickey famously claimed that there were no homosexuals in his district. Dickey told Spy magazine, “You know, we have a whole lot of dirt roads and gravel roads here in Arkansas. And you don’t find a whole lot of tolerance for homosexuals on dirt roads.”
 Data from Walton Family Foundation IRS Form 990, reviewed at Guidestar.org
 Analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and comparison of scorecard data from the Human Rights Campaign, http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/112thCongressionalScorecard_2012.pdf