NYC

Gay Rights Task Force Fights New York Wal-Mart

03/02/2011 03:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A gay advocacy group says Wal-Mart has a shameful record when it comes to protecting the rights of LGBT employees.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force joins labor unions, several public officials and small business owners that oppose the company's plans to open stores in New York City.

"With the expansion of Wal-Mart stores comes the expansion of antiquated employment policies that provide little to no protections for, and at times even hostility toward, their L.G.B.T. employees," a statement from the task force said.

From City Room:

The task force criticized Wal-Mart for denying employee benefits to same-sex partners and for failing to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. By comparison, the group said two other chain stores with a strong presence in New York, Costco and Walgreens, did much better.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart claimed the retail giant was sensitive to the rights and needs of gay employees.

"Diversity and inclusion are enduring values that are fundamental to our culture, which includes a focus on having respect for our colleagues and customers," Steven Restivo said.

Wal-Mart has been gearing up to expand into New York City since December.

The company is reportedly interested in a location in East New York, Brooklyn.

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio released a report indicating that, if Wal-Mart were to come to New York, the retailer would kill jobs by forcing small businesses to close.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart funded a study that said New Yorkers overwhelmingly support the chain moving into the city.

Several public officials remain unconvinced, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is staunchly opposed to Wal-Mart's proposed expansion.

In February, the City Council held a hearing to discuss Wal-Mart's plans. New Yorkers adamantly for and against Wal-Mart showed up to angrily voice their opinions.

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