A Controversial Political Donation
Target Corporation issued an apology today over its $150,000 contribution to MN Forward, which is running ads for Tom Emmer, a Republican candidate who opposes same-sex marriage. Emmer is running for governor of Minnesota and states on his website that he believes that ‘marriage is the union between one man and one woman.’ He further notes that he has, as a legislator, ‘consistently supported the constitutional marriage amendment that protects traditional marriage.’
Consumers have been outraged at the mega-retailer for supporting—however indirectly—anti-gay politics and have called for a boycott on Target. Randi Reitan, whose son is gay, protested by cutting up a Target card and returning merchandise (and making a YouTube video about it). More than a few groups (like this one on Facebook) have sprung up; a national day of protest is scheduled for August 14th.
Target’s Reputation as an Ally in the Gay Rights Movement in Jeopardy
Target’s contributions to MN Forward have been all the more jarring because, as CBS News reported on July 28th, the company ‘long been seen as an ally by the gay rights movement.’ Indeed, Reitan says in her video,
‘The Target I know was a Target that embraced its gay employees’
Target had tried to justify the donations by saying they were meant to support Emmer’s positions about creating a positive environment for businesses and not his views on social and cultural issues.
But what kind of a ‘positive environment’ is it, when behind those views is someone (someone who could potentially hold political office) who supports anti-gay politics?
Proposition 8 Struck Down on August 4th; What Was Target Thinking?
Yesterday the ban on gay marriage in California was struck down after Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated both the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Seems to me that Target has done the right thing to apologize. Chairman and Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel states that Target will now ‘set up a review process for future political donations.’
But it also seems to me that Target should already have such a process in place?
For one thing, shouldn’t someone at Target have seen and read those statements on Emmer’s website about marriage as ‘the union between one man and one woman’ etc. etc.?
What other organizations and ’causes’ might Target, have given donations too—is the company really ‘on target’ with supporting gay rights, supporting the civil rights of all of its employees?
Photo by mmtzjr69out.