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Amazon hosting anti-LGBT groups on online donations platform

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Amazon hosting anti-LGBT groups on online donations platform

Anti-LGBT groups are using the online donations platform of Amazon to raise funds for their activities, a report by OpenDemocracy revealed.

This despite the online company’s policies stating that charities that use the AmazonSmile programme cannot take part in discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Amazon platform hosting anti-LGBT groups

The AmazonSmile program allows customers to donate to charities while they shop online. Since its launch in 2013, the programme has facilitated US$215 million in donations.

Charities that participate cannot “engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”

According to openDemocracy, more than 40 organizations that are listed in the US AmazonSmile platform are publicly opposed to LGBT rights and equality.

Evelyne Paradis, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group ILGA-Europe, said companies “shouldn’t be giving their platform to organisations that are working to limit the rights of other people.”

Paradis said that if Amazon wants to “walk the talk” in being inclusive, they shouldn’t give space to groups that are “actively fuelling hatred and/or working against the rights of other people.”

Anti-LGBT groups raising funds online

Previously, the company had removed two major US Christian organizations from the online programme for their advocacy against LGBT equality.

These two groups were the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC). However, openDemocracy said other organizations with similar anti-LGBT track records are still on the platform.

One group, Human Life International (HLI), supported anti-abortion projects in Latin America that were reportedly spreading misinformation about women’s health and rights.

Likewise, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) was also listed on the platform. This group has participated in US court cases involving and opposing LGBT marriage equality.

A third group is the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, whose president, Franklin Graham, has said Satan is the architect of same-sex marriage and said Islam is “evil” and wicked.”

Amazon reiterates policy on groups

The programme lets customers donate 0.5 percent of their eligible purchases to charities of their choice, with more than one million groups listed on the platform.

However, no information is available on how much money the anti-LGBT groups have raised from the programme. When pressed for comment, an Amazon spokesperson only reiterated their policy.

“Charitable organisations must meet the requirements outlined in our participation agreement to be eligible for AmazonSmile,” the spokesperson said.

“If at any point an organisation violates this agreement, its eligibility will be revoked,” the spokesperson added. But the company did not say whether this will happen to the anti-LGBT groups.

They also explained that the company relies on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) since 2013 “to provide the data for these determinations.”

Seth Levi, the SPLC’s chief strategy officer, confirmed that Amazon utilizes the SPLC’s “hate group designations” in identifying groups “that do not align with the values and requirements of the Smile program.”

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