ExxonMobil Shareholders Voice Increased Support for Pro-Gay Resolution

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 29 2003 12:00 AM ET

A significantly larger number of ExxonMobil shareholders than last year have voted to support a shareholder resolution to amend the company's written Equal Employment Opportunity policy to include the category of sexual orientation. According to preliminary results released at the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, 27.1% of ExxonMobil shares were voted in support of the resolution. This is an increase of 15% over last year's vote and represents more than $55 billion worth of shares voted. According to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group, ExxonMobil's continued resistance to adding sexual orientation to its EEO policy leaves it increasingly isolated in corporate America. It is one of only 10 companies in the Fortune 100 and one of only three companies in the Fortune 50 without such a policy. "Each year ExxonMobil gets more and more marginalized as an increasing number of smart and successful companies add these policies," said Kim I. Mills, education director for HRC. "Every ExxonMobil director comes from a company with such a policy. CEO Lee Raymond even sits on the board of one company that has such a policy--J.P. Morgan Chase. There is no logical reason for ExxonMobil to resist this very reasonable request." An ongoing boycott of the company by HRC has sought to put pressure on the oil giant and its shareholders to establish a company policy of nondiscrimination against gays and lesbians and to provide benefits to the domestic partners of its employees. Such policies were in place at Mobil before the company merged with Exxon and the policies were then eliminated.