Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, a corporate leader in LGBT equality efforts, reversed course and hired back the anti-gay real estate duo David and Jason Benham that a day earlier the bank distanced itself from.
On Friday, LGBT fans applauded the bank for canning the Benhams, who earlier this month were also dropped by HGTV. The network canned "Flip It Forward," set to debut in October, when their past anti-gay statements and actions were made public. But late Friday, SunTrust issued a three-paragraph statement clarifying that it would again carry the real estate listings of Benham Real Estate, which markets and manages homes that banks repossess.
SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion.
In mid-2013, we consolidated the management of certain residential assets with a third party vendor, which has the relationship with Benham Real Estate. While we do not publicly comment on specific vendor relationships, we don't make choices on suppliers or base business decisions on political factors, nor do we direct our third party vendors to do so.
We contacted our third party supplier who works with Benham Real Estate regarding our non-discriminatory policies. As of this afternoon, the issue is resolved and the real estate listings have been reinstated.
Jason Benham thanked supporters and cheered SunTrust's apparent change of heart.
Faith Driven Consumer, which launched an online petition calling on HGTV to reverse course, also applauded SunTrust on Friday.
Following a swift and unified outcry by Faith Driven Consumers and fair-minded Americans across the nation, SunTrust today reversed its earlier decision to drop the Benham brothers – citing respect for the fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans. Faith Driven Consumer is grateful to all who collectively raised their voices against religious viewpoint discrimination in a united call for tolerance, fairness, and equality for all Americans. This also applies to those who hold to a biblical worldview, which includes respect for life and natural marriage.