Senator Chris Coons questioned ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson yesterday in his confirmation hearings for Secretary of State if he believes that LGBTQ rights are human rights, that “gay rights are human rights.”
“I believe that LGBTQ rights are human rights, that gay rights are human rights. In a number of meetings with African heads of state, I’ve advocated for them to push back on actions where they have engaged in preventing people from meeting, from advocating, where they’ve been physically abused or tortured. I’ll never forget a meeting in my office in Delaware with a woman from Zimbabwe who had been given asylum in the United States after being tortured in Zimbabwe because of who she loved. Do you believe gay rights are human rights and is that a piece of our human rights advocacy agenda around the world?”
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“American values don’t accommodate violence or discrimination against anyone. That’s part of that American values that we project.”
When pressed for more specifics, Tillerson shrugged.
“I was encouraged by your tough leadership moment at the Boy Scouts and I simply wanted to reassert that in my work around the world although not easy or comfortable I think that it is important that we include respect for the whole range of people’s relations in our menu of how we define human rights.”
(clip via TNCRM)
When Exxon () merged with Mobil in 1999, it eliminated Mobil’s domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian employees and removed a policy preventing discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation, according to HRC. At the time, Tillerson was a senior executive responsible for the company’s operations in Russia.
When the Human Rights Campaign launched its Corporate Equality Index in 2002, Exxon received a score of 14%. The survey rates companies on policies, benefits and practices for LGBTQ employees and their families.
Tillerson, now 64, became chief executive in 2006. That year, the index changed its criteria, and Exxon’s score went down to 0%.
Since Tillerson took over, ExxonMobil has slowly made improvements — though that may have more to do with federal policy changes than moral leadership.
Ironically, Tony Perkins, the leader of the hate group Family Research Council and an evangelical ally of Donald Trump, is roiling over Trump’s decision to pick ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Why? Not for the reasons most are troubled. Tillerson was for gay troop leaders in the Boy Scouts.