Grammy-nominated singer Ellie Goulding is demanding the Salvation Army make a donation to LGBTQ organizations or else she’ll pull out of performing at the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills Thanksgiving game halftime show. The move comes after fan outcry about the organization’s reputation as anti-LGBTQ when she posted Instagram photos of her visit to the Salvation Army, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“Upon researching this, I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice but to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community," Goulding wrote. "I am a committed philanthropist as you probably know, and my heart has always been in helping the homeless, but supporting an anti-LGBTQ charity is clearly not something I would ever intentionally do. Thank you for drawing my attention to this.”
The halftime show headed by the “Lights” and “Love Me Like You Do” singer was intended to be the kickoff of the Salvation Army’s yearly Red Kettle Campaign for the holidays.
Over the years, the Salvation Army, which is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, according to its mission statement, has been accused of forcing a gay man, now a journalist, to break up with his boyfriend if he wished to receive its services.
Its members believe only in the “biblical” definition of marriage, “between a man and a woman,” according to its FAQ page.
In 2012 leaders of the Salvation Army and other faith groups issued an open letter denouncing marriage equality as a threat to religious freedom. Once marriage equality passed nationally in 2015, the organization said it would not invest in lobbying efforts to undermine the law.
A few years ago, the Commission on Human Rights filed a complaint against a New York City-based substance abuse treatment center funded by the organization for discriminating against transgender people in its intake policies.
The commission filed complaints in July against four centers, one affiliated with the Salvation Army. The complaints “charge the centers with gender identity discrimination for refusing to accept transgender patients and for discriminatory housing policies, including assigning rooms based on a patient’s gender assigned at birth rather than their gender identity, subjecting patients to physical examinations, and forcing transgender patients into separate rooms.”
In a 2017 interview with The Advocate, the organization’s national spokesman Lt. Col. Ron Busroe disputed claims of discrimination against LGBTQ people, saying that the organization had “evolved.”
“All of us have evolved on a number of issues. We’ve all made a paradigm shift over the last 30 or 40 years,” Busroe said.