Huge Wins For LGBT Rights & Homophobic Automaker Suzuki Bites The Dust

As you’ve no doubt heard, yesterday was an historic day for LGBT Americans:

  • Despite bigoted, hateful, homophobic attacks from the far-right of the political spectrum, America re-elected a president (and vice president) who came out in support of marriage equality.
  • We elected a majority of Democrats to the U.S. Senate — Democrats who have enshrined marriage equality in their official party platform.
  • We elected the first openly gay person to the U.S. Senate.
  • After many failures at the polls, voters expressed their support for marriage equality in at least three states (and possibly four).
  • Iowa  Justice David Wiggins, who sided with LGBT Americans and brought marriage equality to that state, was retained.

Clearly, the 2012 election showed that we are a divided nation in many ways. But it was a great day for civil rights — and, we would argue, for the economy, since for many of us, the two are inextricable.

But there’s another bit of good news you might’ve missed, which had nothing to do with the election: Gaywheels’ list of homophobic automakers has been reduced from four to three.

That’s because yesterday morning, Suzuki announced that it was shutting down its U.S. automotive division and filing for bankruptcy protection. The company will refocus its attention on ATV, boat, and motorcycle units, which have historically performed much stronger with U.S. consumers than Suzuki cars.

We’d like to think that this has something to do with Suzuki’s homophobic workplace policies, but in fact, the blame falls squarely on Suzuki’s quirky vehicle lineup, which never captured the American imagination. Suzukis were oddly designed, and their build quality wasn’t up to par. Frankly, we wonder how the company lasted as long as it did.

There are a couple of downsides to Suzuki going under, though.

For starters, Suzuki employees will be forced to find other jobs. We hope that many on the auto side will be wrapped into the company’s ATV, boat, and motorcycle divisions — or hired by the many, many gay-friendly automakers who are faring well in the U.S. right now. However, being fired is never a good thing, and we wouldn’t wish the uncertainty of finding a new job on anyone. (Well, except certain bigoted politicians who lost their jobs last night.)

The other problem is that Suzuki owns such a tiny share of the U.S. auto market. Yes, it’s nice to scratch one homophobic automaker off our gay-unfriendly list, but it would’ve been much nicer if we’d reported that a bigger, better-known company like Hyundai, Kia, or Porsche had finally come to its senses and drafted workplace protections for its LGBT employees.

Still, we’ll take victories where we can.

Onward, upward, and forward, ladies and gentlemen.

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