Target refuses to make nice with the gays

Posted on 16 Aug 2010 at 6:00pm

Expect to see more protests like the one above in West Hollywood.

Just hours after we posted this story from the Associated Press about conservatives pressuring Target not to make a donation in support of LGBT equality, the Human Rights Campaign announced Monday afternoon that the company has decided it will take “no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing $150,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people.”

In a press release, HRC said the company’s decision came after two weeks of discussions and two tentative agreements.

“All fair-minded Americans will now rightly question Target’s commitment to equality. If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “However, with full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it’s important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates.”

HRC goes on to say that it will devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect pro-equality candidates in Minnesota. HRC is still awaiting a response from Best Buy, which also contributed money to MN Forward, the group supporting anti-gay Republican Tim Emmer in the governor’s race.

“Target and Best Buy have — and no doubt will continue to have — model employment policies for LGBT people. We will continue to support those efforts. But before they can regain that exalted status among their consumers, they need to make things right in Minnesota,” said Solmonese. “The nation’s LGBT community has shown these two companies enormous customer loyalty. Now it’s time for that faithfulness to be returned.”

Going back to the AP story, it sounds like Target was ultimately more faithful to the almighty dollar:

Conservatives are watching to see whether Target bends to the pressure, said Kelly O’Keefe, a brand expert at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

“They’re likely to raise the ire of a different constituency of customers and get themselves in a never-ending cycle of alienating people,” he said. “A better thing is for them to swear off any future investment in elections.”

The full HRC press release is after the jump.

UPDATE: For your further viewing pleasure, check out this inspiring in-store flash mob protest:

Target Corporation Message to LGBT Community: We Won’t Make it Right
HRC to Devote $150,000 in Minnesota to Elect Pro-Equality Candidates

WASHINGTON – After two weeks of good-faith discussions – and two tentative agreements – with Target Corporation, the company has informed the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, that it will take no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing $150,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people. In response, HRC announced that it will devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect a pro-equality governor and legislature in Minnesota. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation in the North Star State.

“All fair-minded Americans will now rightly question Target’s commitment to equality. If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “However, with full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it’s important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates.”

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, corporations are now permitted to give unlimited amounts of shareholder cash to certain political committees. Target has made a conscious decision to place stores in LGBT communities throughout the nation. In fact, two stores are currently under development in the City of San Francisco.

All eyes are now on Best Buy, another Minnesota-based company, that also made a political contribution to MN Forward, the group supporting Tom Emmer, one of the most strident opponents of equality in Minnesota to vie for the governor’s mansion. Best Buy has yet to respond.

“Target and Best Buy have – and no doubt will continue to have – model employment policies for LGBT people. We will continue to support those efforts. But before they can regain that exalted status among their consumers, they need to make things right in Minnesota,” said Solmonese. “The nation’s LGBT community has shown these two companies enormous customer loyalty. Now it’s time for that faithfulness to be returned.”

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