After Mozilla, will Facebook be next on the LGBT hit list? Social networking site donated 41% to politicians opposing gay causes
Will Mark Zuckerberg be asked to step down? LGBT activists may have another executive to take to task over their stance on gay issues.
NorthStar Asset Management, a Facebook shareholder, exposed the controversial spending of Facebook's Political Action Committee (FB PAC) in a March 2014 stockholder proposal.
"FB PAC has contributed over 41% of its contributions since its inception to politicians voting against hate crimes legislation and the repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell, as well as FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment, which sought to prohibit equal marriage rights across the nation," NorthStar wrote in the proposal.
Indeed, a look at FB PAC's 2012 campaign contributions show that the group has donated thousands of dollars to House Speaker John Boehner, who has repeatedly made clear his opposition to gay marriage.
"I believe that marriage is a union of a man and a woman," Boehner told ABC News last year. He also stated that he "can't imagine" his position changing on the subject.
FB PAC also contributed thousands to Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who states that he was "troubled" by President Obama's actions against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and opposes attempts to redefine marriage.
"As a Southern Baptist, I am a strong supporter of Christian family values," Wicker's website reads. "I do not support gay marriage and believe in the traditional definition of marriage."
One of the most vocal gay marriage opposers in Congress is US Rep Marsha Blackburn. She fought the same-sex marriage law and voted against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. FB PAC donated $3,000 to the "Marsha Blackburn for Congress" campaign in 2012.
There are 11 other examples from 2012 of FB PAC donating to politicians who supported DOMA, uphold the biblical definition of marriage, oppose gay adoptions, or take a stance against homosexuality in other ways.
In its proposal, NorthStar asked Facebook to bring its political contributions in line with its publicized corporate values.
"Our website proclaims that 'we're dedicated to creating an environment where people can be their authentic selves and share their own diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas,'" the proposal reads.
"Shareholders request that the Board of Directors create and implement a policy with consistent incorporation of corporate values as defined by Facebook's policies and public affirmations into Company and FB PAC political and electioneering contribution decisions."
NorthStar also wants Facebook to report to shareholders "any electioneering or political contribution expenditures occurring during the prior quarter, identifying any contributions that raised an issue of congruency with corporate values, and stating the justification for any such exceptions".
Facebook's board of directors recommends a vote against the proposal, stating that such disclosures would be "cumbersome".
"We believe it is our responsibility to engage in political, legislative, and regulatory processes to advance laws and policies that are in the best interests of our company, our stockholders, the people who use our services, and our partners," Facebook wrote in their opposing statement.
"This proposal seeks to impose requirements on us that would be cumbersome to apply, are not required by law and are not standard amongst other companies, including our competitors."
NorthStar's proposal will be up for vote at Facebook's Annual Meeting of Stockholders on May 22 in Redwood City, California. Votes can also be cast online, by telephone, or by mail.
The political views of corporate figures have been a talking point since the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich amid intense pressure from LGBT activists over his opposition to gay marriage.
Eich's departure from the company has been seen as something of a gamechanger in the debate on religious freedom and particularly freedom of expression, prompting fears that more heads may roll among those who do not toe the liberal line.