subsidiary jumps into same-sex wedding market

Despite the
company's more conservative policies in the United States, a
British subsidiary of retail giant Wal-Mart is jumping
into the same-sex wedding market. As U.K. gay and
lesbian couples lined up to register under the
country's new Civil Partnership Act on Monday, Asda,
which is wholly owned by Wal-Mart, was introducing a line of
wedding cards and commitment rings for same-sex
unions. "Ever since gay weddings were given the
official go-ahead, we've had a number of customers
asking if we could introduce gay cards," Asda spokesman Ed
Watson told The New York Times. "With the
launch of our new range, we can ensure that our customers
can celebrate every marriage-—whether it is
between him and her, him and him, or her and her."

Wal-Mart critics,
however, are accusing the company of hypocrisy
given its strict policies in the United States, where the
retailer, which tries to pitch itself as a
family-friendly store, pulled a few racy magazines
from its shelves or refused to sell some popular books such
as When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops by
George Carlin because of controversial content. Tracy
Sefl of the Washington-based advocacy group Wal-Mart
Watch told the Times that Wal-Mart is trying to be
"all things to all people anywhere but in the United
States," adding, "In the United States they have a
conservative, right-leaning business model."

The first legally
recognized same-sex civil partnership
ceremonies in the United Kingdom will take place
December 21. Asda, a food and clothing superstore,
this week began selling cards that read, "Wedding day
wishes, Mrs. & Mrs." and "Congratulations, Mr.
& Mr." Asda will also sell a line of matching gold
and diamond rings for about $104 each, the
Times said. (Advocate.com)

Tags: World, World

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