WASHINGTON — On the eve of New York City's LGBT pride weekend, state and city officials are making a move to use their pension funds' investments to advance LGBT rights internationally.
New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer are sending letters Friday to 20 major U.S. companies — including Coca-Cola and McDonald's — asking about "the international application of your equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies as they relate to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community."
DiNapoli and Stringer manage combined investments of $13 billion in the 20 companies and are asking them to explain "how [they] apply and enforce [their] anti-discrimination policies to LGBT employees in [their] international operations, especially in those countries where discriminatory legislation is in place or being considered." Specifically, in the letter, they note recent anti-LGBT laws passed in Russia and some African counties.
In addition to Coca-Cola and McDonald's, the letter also was sent to Accenture, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Corning, Dow Chemical, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, Pepsico, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Yum! Brands.
A second letter was sent to the Russian internet firm, Mail.RU. According to the letter, "Mail.RU currently holds a 52% interest in the Russian company, VKontakte (VK.com), a social network service provider in Europe." The letter goes on to detail the "growing controversy surrounding VK.com's hosting of sites advocating and depicting violence against members of the Russian gay community."
Noting that the funds managed by DiNapoli and Stringer hold more than $9.2 million in Mail.RU, they ask the company to "inform us of the efforts [their] company has undertaken, or will undertake, to investigate public reports of the conduct described above and, if such reports are accurate, to mitigate risks arising from [their] association with and majority ownership of VK.com.
Read a sample of the letter sent to the 20 companies:
Read the letter sent to Mail RU:
Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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