Walgreens Takes Heat for Gay Games Sponsorship
By George Anderson
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) in Glen Ellyn, Ill. says homosexuality is against God’s law and it has references to support its position: Genesis 19, Jude 7, Leviticus 18
and 20, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.
That’s why the organization is coming out against Walgreens and others for their sponsorship of the upcoming 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.
“The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it’s wrong for Walgreens to sponsor it,” Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the group told the Chicago Tribune.
“They’ve taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event.”
The drugstore chain, for its part, said it is involved in sponsoring the event to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.
Michael Polzin, a Walgreens spokespeson, said the situation is similar to work the company does in other areas. “Each year, we raise millions of dollars in our stores for research
education and building awareness for heart disease, diabetes and cancer,” he said. “This is one way of giving back to the community.”
Mr. LaBarbera doesn’t take issue with addressing the health issue of HIV/AIDS but says, “If they want to donate HIV drugs, that’s one thing. Homosexual behavior itself is a leading
cause of HIV.”
Tracy Baim, co-vice chair of the Chicago Games, said the protest by the IFI is nothing new. “They keep doing this, and corporate America keeps coming. When we meet with [potential]
sponsors, we are very upfront with being targeted by the IFI. It brings a higher visibility to the discrimination we face.”
Moderator’s Comment: Do the protests over Walgreens and other companies’ sponsorship of gay events have a negative impact on their bottom line performance?
Do most consumers see such sponsorships as an endorsement of a lifestyle or simply the act of attracting another customer group without moral judgments thrown in? –
George Anderson – Moderator