Bank of America, Cisco back down after firing traditional marriage supporter
WASHINGTON, November 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) — In a rare successful pushback against the pro-gay rights corporate culture, customers of Bank of America and the Cisco Corporation have won a promise from the two companies not to discriminate against employees or vendors who publicly oppose same-sex “marriage.”
The National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Corporate Fairness Project announced Nov. 7 that both companies, which the leading gay rights group Human Rights Campaign had rated favorably, backtracked on a decision to cancel seminars by Frank Turek, who is a traditional marriage advocate.
Earlier this year, Cisco had cancelled its contract with Dr. Frank Turek, its leadership and teambuilding program co-ordinator, after receiving complaints from a homosexual manager with the company regarding Turek’s authorship of a book on homosexuality and marriage, entitled “Correct, not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.”
Months later, a seminar Turek was scheduled to give for Bank of America employees was also cancelled because of his pro-marriage views.
Cisco has now admitted it was “incorrect” to “discriminate against vendors such as Frank Turek,” while Bank of America announced that “Dr. Turek remains a vendor in good standing with us.”
Jonathan Baker, Director of NOM’s Corporate Fairness Project, said that his organization had written the boards of both companies “raising our concern and asking if company policy really permits otherwise qualified employees and vendors to be punished for speaking out on a public issue like same-sex marriage.”
Baker said that his group also encouraged Bank of America customers to urge the company not to discriminate against same-sex “marriage” supporters, resulting in 1,400 calls to the corporate complaint line.
“We received assurances from both corporations that this kind of discriminatory treatment violates corporate policy and will not happen again,” he said.
In a November 4, 2011 letter to the National Organization for Marriage, Cisco Corporation Senior Vice President for Legal Services Mark Chandler said, “Cisco was incorrect in dealing with Dr. Turek and the Austin Group. Specifically Cisco concluded that the Austin Group’s contract should not have been summarily ended.”
Cisco attributed the situation to “an unfortunate, but isolated breakdown in Cisco’s process” and asserted that supporting traditional marriage is not an acceptable reason to terminate a business relationship.
“It is not Cisco’s policy, nor is it ‘acceptable to discriminate against vendors such as Frank Turek or employees who, outside the work context, have taken a position supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman,’” wrote a Cisco executive in a letter to NOM.
The Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Bank of America also distanced Bank of America from the firing of Dr. Turek, saying that differences in “thought, style, culture, ethnicity, and experience” is beneficial for the company, which has moved to “address” the matter of Turek’s firing.
NOM president Brian Brown said the success was just the start of the group’s campaign “to make sure decent law abiding people who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman are not treated as outcasts or racists.”
“It is not bigotry to say that marriage is the union of a husband and wife, it’s common sense; corporations need to respect the diverse views of their employees and customers,” said Brown.
Gay news outlets lambasted the two companies for the shift, and called for action against them for siding with NOM and the “hate monger” Turek.
“The National Organization for Marriage has become one of the biggest bullies against same-sex families, but the organization shrouds its propaganda in a devious self-victimizing campaign,” wrote Zack Ford of ThinkProgress.org. “There is no right to spread stigma, and companies who affiliate with NOM should be held accountable for endorsing such an idea.”