The bargain retailer that claims “unwavering” support for gay rights — it contributes annually to the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival in Minneapolis, where Target is based, and has lines by the likes of gay designer Issac Mizrahi — has been tagged for contributing at least $150,000 to a a group supporting a Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota who is considered right wing even by Texas standards: He supports Arizona’s strict immigration law and opposes same-sex marriage. (Some people are even more pissed because the candidate, Tom Emmer, has also supported a ministry by an anti-gay Christian rocker named Bradlee Dean.)
Naturally, the gay community is incensed, even though the contribution is completely legal. Some activists and Democrats are calling for a boycott of the store. My question is: Why are we surprised?
I don’t believe for one minute that Target is, as a corporation, supporting this candidate because it believes gay marriage would be bad for business. Nah, they support him because he would run their home state and have a say in cutting taxes, etc. It’s a business decision.
Should we be angry? Support a boycott? I’m not sure. After all, what would we say if conservatives tried to boycott Target for its support of gay pride events? What if those protesters were successful? I’m not happy about it, but to me, the support is directed not at a single issue (for instance, gay marriage) but a candidate with a wide range of positions — none of which I agree with, but there you go. Keep in mind: Candidtae Barack Obama didn’t support gay marriage … nor did almost all other candidates on the Dems’ side (almost — Clinton and Gore came out in favor… in 2009; too little, too late). Now, if Target contributed to, say, enacting Prop 8, or donated to Westboro Baptist, well, that’s different. And the Bradlee Dean connection? Do we now base our decision on Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Anyway, what do you think? Will a contribution to a political candidate in another state affect your shopping habits? Should it affect mine?