BY Neal Broverman
February 25 2010 4:30 PM ET
"We've been running these contests where we ask readers of the blog to
talk about their life and what it means to be gay," Socarides said.
"Because the readers are so tech-savvy, we’ve seen these remarkable
videos from young people about what it’s like to be out. Maybe it was a
bit jarring [for Citibank] to see young people coming out with an
openness and an honesty. I'm just surmising, though."
Socarides acknowledged that Citibank's record on gay issues is
stellar — the bank scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. "But if the frontline customer service people at the
bank are not educated on these [gay-inclusive] policies, it doesn’t do
anyone good," he says. "It might be a case of the bank not following its
own policies. It’s fishy."
Aside from the homophobic
implications, Citibank's actions call into question why a bank would
police its clients' products or content. Citibank did not furnish
Goldberg, the gay creator of Jobster.com, with a loan, just an account.
Socarides said the site, which is set to launch in the coming months,
began with $625,000 in seed money, mostly from the Washington Post
"There are important issues relating to First Amendment rights, and technology and banking issues," Socarides says. "Since when does a bank need to pre-approve of a client’s business? I’m sure they don’t pass judgement on stories in the publications of their newspaper clients, or the work in an art museum."