Washington, DC — More than 160,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org launched three days ago by Collin Burton, a gay Citibank customer from Washington, D.C., calling on Citibank and Barclays to protest a piece of legislation in Uganda that would allow gay people to be executed for their sexual orientation.
Citibank and Barclays have heavily invested in Uganda. Burton says he launched the campaign on Change.org because he does not want his money to support a government that would execute people for being gay.
"I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites," said Burton.
"Protecting gay and lesbian Ugandans from the 'kill the gays' bill shouldn't just be a battle waged by global citizens - it should also be the responsibility of the international business community."
The recently introduced Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda could allow gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Ugandans to be killed or sentenced to life in prison solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to 2010 financial reports, Citibank has almost $300 million in assets invested in Uganda and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce based in Kampala, Uganda's capital city.
Barclays, Uganda's third largest bank, has more than 1,000 employees and 51 branches throughout the country.
"Given their commitments to diversity and the severity of the proposed legislation, condemning this dangerous bill is the least Citibank and Barclays can do to help save lives in Uganda," Burton added. "The 160,000 people who've signed the petition over the last few days agree with me."
In the U.S. and U.K. respectively, Citibank and Barclays have been strong supporters of LGBT rights. Both companies have non-discrimination and harassment policies, both offer health insurance benefits to domestic partners, and both have resource groups to help their LGBT employees. Citibank has received a 100% rating from the
Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, and Barclays was recently named the most LGBT-friendly company in all of Scotland by Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index.
"Collin is asking Citibank and Barclays to follow the corporate values they support around the world, and his campaign on Change.org has inspired 160,000 others to join him," said Change.org Campaign Manager Mark Anthony Dingbaum.
"Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to take action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Collin mobilize people around the globe to prevent the potential incarceration and execution of gay people in Uganda."