According to a report published on Tuesday by the UK-based political activist group OpenDemocracy, Amazon’s charity platform has allowed dozens of LGBTQ organizations to receive donations.
Launched in 2013, the AmazonSmile program allows users to select a nonprofit to receive 0.5 percent of income from eligible purchases.
According to the online retail giant, more than one million nonprofits are listed with the program, while Amazon does not reveal how much individual groups have raised, with the program raising more than $ 215 million since its inception. Has generated.
The AmazonSmile Partnership Agreement states organizations that promote “intolerance, hatred, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities”. However, the retailer maintains it “cannot guarantee the good and / or conduct of any charitable organization” and relies on determinations by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the US Office of Foreign Asset Control. At a Senate subcommittee hearing in July, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called the vetting process an “incomplete system”.
Earlier, two SPLC-designated anti-LGBTQ “hate groups,” Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council, were removed from the AmazonSmile platform following complaints by human rights groups.
But according to OpenDemocracy, more than 40 organizations listed on the US AmazonSmile platform still operate openly against LGBTQ rights.
The Indiana Chapter of the American Family Association is one such group, even though the SPLC classifies the association as a hate group.
The Mississippi-based national organization has endorsed Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014, which allows same-sex relationships up to prison sentences, and anti-bullying to promote homosexual lifestyles in American schools “across the country” Opposed to public campaigns, “according to the New York Times.
In 2010, the American Family Association announced a boycott of Home Depot, claiming that, by supporting the Pride Parade, a series of home repairs “exposing children to erotic displays of intentional sexual conduct by homosexuals”. ” Six years later, it called for Superstore to boycott Superstore’s policy of allowing transgender people to use store bathrooms, which align with their gender identity.
Another AmazonSmile beneficiary, the family leader, has called homosexuality a “public health risk”.
Family Leader Bob Vander Platz said in a 2011 interview, “If we let the kids ‘not smoke’ it is a risky health style, it can also be true.” For Iowa’s governor, Platz appeared in a 2010 letter calling for a ban on same-sex marriage in the state.
The memo, signed by 485 Iowa clergy and ministry leaders, states “homosexual behavior … is harmful to both the person choosing to participate in it and the society accepting it”. Following the landmark same-sex decision of the Supreme Court in 2015, Platz claimed that the decision opened the door to legalization and decriminalization of pedophilia to polygamy.
He has also called for allowing transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity “waiting for a train wreck” and has predicted that this policy would allow adult male girls in the toilet of 12-year-olds Will try to beat the children.
Neither the family leader nor the American Family Association immediately responded to NBC News’ request for comment.
The Human Rights Campaign of the country’s largest LGBTQ rights group has called another AmazonSmile recipient, Focus on the Family, “one of the most well-funded LGBT organizations in America.”
In a 2005 report, the SPLC stated, “No one has spread anti-gay evangelism as widely or as politically as James Dobson with political influence,” note the family founder. The group has supported the so-called conversion therapy and the infamous practice of rights for businesses to drive away LGBTQ customers.
Paul J. Batura, the vice president of communications for Focus for the Family, said that millions of Americans have purchased “multi-centuries-old beliefs found in the Bible” regularly on Amazon.
“In a pluralistic country like America, why shouldn’t those people have the same privilege of participating in Amazon’s charity program and be allowed to directly fund organizations and causes that share their deeply held commitment? ” he said.
Other Smile Program recipients include both the National Organization for Marriage and the American Center for Law and Justice, which have opposed equal marriages in US and international court cases, and Human Life International has claimed “anything more direct Is not a threat to our God-given freedom as a gay rights movement. The OpenDemocracy also alleges that eight groups in the AmazonSmile event have partnered with the World Congress of Families, an SPLC-designated het group that has launched Russia , Has promoted LGBTQ legislation in Europe and Africa.
“For many years, LGBTQ groups such as Focus on Family and the National Organization for Marriage have used their platforms to demean LGBTQ people and spread hate and misinformation about LGBTQ families,” said GLAADER Sarah Kate Ellis . “Delivering messages in the form of donations,” these LGBTQ organizations are shamefully taking advantage of programs that help organizations that actually help vulnerable people. “
While Focus on the Family compared its LGBTQ views to long-held biblical beliefs, the National Marriage Organization did not respond to NBC News ‘request for comment about critics’ claims that sparked LGBTQ hostility.
Amazon has regularly received an absolute score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equity Index, which rates companies for workplace safety, inclusive benefits, and responsible corporate citizenship. The corporation has also supported the Equality Act, a federal law that would ban LGBTQ discrimination in housing, employment, education and other areas.
In 2012, Bezos and his then wife McKenzie Scott pledged $ 2.5 million to support same-sex marriage in Washington State. In 2017, Bezos received the Human Rights Campaign’s National Equality Award.
SPLC Chief Strategy Officer Seth Levy urged Amazon to “use any of its platforms, including retail, web services and entertainment, to openly support and / or endorse hateful and hateful content in accordance with democracy Is not done. “
When asked by LGBTQ organizations to comment on how to make money from their charity platform, an Amazon spokesperson referred the AmazonSmile Partnership Agreement to NBC News.
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