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pro-gay policies may spark boycotts

pro-gay policies may spark boycotts

National conservative Christian organization Operation Rescue/Operation Save America plans to boycott retail chain Wal-Mart's bid to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, its director said Friday.

"We're dealing with a corporation that was built on family-friendly principles," said the Reverend Flip Benham, the group's director. "What we as the church have to do is help Wal-Mart do what's right." This decision came shortly after the Missouri Baptist Convention announced its own plans for a boycott of Wal-Mart due to its efforts to reach out to gay and lesbian consumers as well its decision to stock the Plan B contraceptive pill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week.

Wal-Mart has also been under attack from more liberal groups who claim the chain should raise wages and improve working conditions. Just a day before Benham's announcement, the company reported that November may be the worst sales month in more than 10 years, despite the post-Thanksgiving holiday rush at the end of the month.

Should either of these boycotts occur, their effectiveness remains to be seen. Patricia Edwards, a money manager at the Seattle firm Wentworth, Hauser, and Violich, warned that boycotts "have not been as effective as some of these groups would have liked." Large chains like Wal-Mart are often the only choice for customers on a tight budget or for those in rural areas. (The Advocate)

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