After voting to boycott Walt Disney Co. because of what it calls “gay-friendly” policies, the Southern Baptist Convention has condemned corporate policies that extend health-care benefits to employees’ same-sex partners. President Clinton, a Southern Baptist, responded simply “No” when asked by a reporter if he would support the Disney boycott. Another resolution adopted by the Southern Baptists during their three-day convention in Dallas opposed a gender-neutral Bible and human cloning.
Disney executives said the boycott did not come as a surprise and that they had the impression a boycott had already begun. Other Hollywood studios and companies such as Universal Studios and Viacom (owner of Nickelodeon) already offers same-sex benefits. In fact, Twentieth Century Fox was the only major Hollywood studio to adopt health benefits after Disney. Disney adopted the benefits in October 1995 after three years of “intense lobbying,” according to Richard Jennings of Hollywood Supports, a clearinghouse in the entertainment industry for AIDS issues and lesbian and gay concerns. As competition for talent increased, it was a disadvantage to Disney not to offer same-sex benefits, and Disney had little other choice when it acquired ABC which already offered same-sex benefits.