Corporation had pulled Out & About from its shelves, citing policy prohibiting political, religious or other specific agendas
The Kroger Corp. has agreed to allow a gay newspaper in some of its Nashville stores.
Kroger had removed copies of the free publication Out & About from 34 Nashville stores last month. At the time, the corporation cited a policy against displaying publications that promote “political, religious or other specific agendas.”
On July 2, Kroger announced it would be allowing Out & About in eight Nashville stores in areas that have high readership.
“We welcome everyone as customers. The free publications in our stores are intended as a convenience and service to customers,” Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement. “Nashville is a diverse city, similar to Atlanta, Dallas and other major metropolitan areas. Having free special interest publications, for example for seniors, families with young children or the GLBT community, is a way of serving local nterests.”
Kroger’s decision to remove Out & About was met with public outcry and led to a “save your receipts” campaign by several local community organizations, according to the newspaper.
The decision did not effect Kroger’s policy in Dallas, where it allows Dallas Voice to be distributed at its Cedar Springs Road store.
Locally, Kroger’s employment policies became an issue recently after the Voice ran a story about the Human Rights Campaign’s recommendation that people avoid shopping in the corporation’s stores.
The national gay civil rights group gave Kroger a score of 35 out of 100 in the annual Corporate Equality Index. That ranked the chain 38th or sixth from last, in the food, beverages and groceries category.
Although Kroger has an equal employment opportunity policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the policy does not include gender identity. Also, Cincinnati-based Kroger, which is ranked 21st in the Fortune 500, does not offer domestic partner benefits and does not support an LGBT employee resource group, according to HRC.
The Voice story prompted an outcry from employees of the Cedar Springs Kroger widely known as the “gay Kroger” due to its location in the heart of Oak Lawn who said the corporation has always been supportive of the local LGBT community.
For example, the Cedar Springs Kroger has participated in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 11 years running; has attended every annual LGBT job expo; and makes daily donations to the food pantry at the Resource Center.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 6, 2007.