Out & Equal summit brings Berry to Orlando, sparks boycott

By : AnitaHeading
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Some of the worlds most influential business leaders – including John Berry, the highest-ranking gay person in President Obama’s administration – are coming to Orlando for the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit. Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a non-profit organization dedicated to workplace equality for LGBTs by encouraging organizations to value diversity and advance policies that promote equality.

“Work is a place where different people from diverse backgrounds come together for a common goal,” said J. Kevin Jones, Out & Equal deputy director. “The best organizations recognize the importance of attracting the brightest workforce, and providing environments where those employees can succeed as individuals and as a team.”

The Summit is set for October 6-9, 2009, at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Berry, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address that Friday afternoon. The Summit will also feature leadership seminars, networking receptions and the Gala where Out & Equal’s “Outies,” are presented, awards for exemplary individuals and organizations. 

The event is attracting some negative attention from anti-gay group the American Family Association (AFA). The AFA has been calling for a boycott of PepsiCo since January, saying “AFA asked Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war, but the company refused — choosing to support the homosexual activists. Pepsi has made no effort to hide their support for the homosexual agenda.” That’s according to the AFA’s web site, which goes on to list PepsiCo’s financial contributions to LGBT organizations and other LGBT-friendly actions, such as gay pride sponsorships and gender identity diversity training for employees.

PepsiCo’s decision to sponsor the Workplace Summit seems to have given the AFA more fuel, and they are using the sponsorship as a call to action to renew their push for a boycott.

According to the AFA website: “The Out & Equal Workshop meetings are designed to show corporate leaders how they can promote the homosexual agenda in their corporation. In becoming a sponsor of the Out & Equal conference PepsiCo has once again refused to give any support to those who are hurting and want to come out of this destructive and aberrant lifestyle. In fact, homosexual activists continually tell corporate leaders (including PepsiCo) that it is impossible for an individual to leave the gay lifestyle. By helping fund the meeting, PepsiCo has decided to support that premise. PepsiCo gives thousands of dollars to promote homosexuality, but not one penny to help those who want out.”

“Companies who sponsor the Workplace Summit recognize it as a valuable investment and good business,” said Jones, in response to the AFA’s call to action. “Out & Equal is proud and grateful for their leadership.”

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