Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Truth and Consequences: Will Gay Consumers and Political Groups Hold Companies to a Higher Standard after the Target Debacle?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Truth and Consequences: Will Gay Consumers and Political Groups Hold Companies to a Higher Standard after the Target Debacle?

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A NATIONAL OUTCRY OVER TARGET CORP. and Best Buy's donations to a political group supporting a homophobic candidate may force a reevaluation of what makes a company gay-friendly--and force corporations to be careful about campaign contributions.

When news of the Minnesota-based companies' donations to MN Forward, which is backing antigay Republican Tom Emmer in that state's gubernatorial race, broke this past summer, the response was immediate and intense. Gay consumers and allies organized protests and boycotts, while the Human Rights Campaign, which has given discount retailer Target and electronics superstore Best Buy perfect ratings in its Corporate Equality Index because of their pro-gay workplace policies, urged the companies to "make it right" by donating equal amounts to gay-supportive candidates. As of press time, Target had declined the suggestion, making the HRC's threat to prevent construction of two new Target stores in San Francisco more realistic.

The uproar reflects life "in a post-Citizens United world," notes HRC press secretary Michael Cole, referring to the January U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down many restrictions on corporate funding of electoral campaigns and made the donations possible.

Target and Best Buy previously had a stellar reputation among gays not just for their workplace policies--discrimination prohibitions, domestic-partner benefits--but also for their support of local and national gay groups. These factors won Target the Twin Cities Pride Corporate Achievement Award this year, and Best Buy has received it twice. …

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