On July 27, Target Corp. chief executive Gregg Steinhafel said the company’s support of the gay community is “unwavering.”
This came after the Associated Press reported on a $150,000 donation the Minnesota-based retail chain made to a group supporting the gubernatorial candidacy of a conservative, antigay Minnesota state representative, Tom Emmer.
How antigay is Emmer?
He’s the only Minnesota candidate for governor who opposes gay marriage. In 2007, he wrote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions, which didn’t pass. He tried to narrow LGBT rights by (unsuccessfully) attempting to replace the word “parents” with “mother and father” in a surrogacy bill. He’s also contributed to an antigay Christian rock band that lauded the execution of gays in Muslim countries on its radio program (though the band later retracted its statements).
In all fairness to Target, the corporation does extend domestic-partner benefits to gays and lesbians, and has sponsored Pride and other LGBT-related events in the state. Also, Target’s support of Emmer on the surface seems to be more of a business move than an endorsement of the man’s political views.
But when Steinhafel used the word “unwavering?”
Even if we didn’t know what “unwavering” meant, we can look it up.
unwavering; un·wa·ver·ing — adj — firm in your view or purpose and unable to be swayed or diverted from it.
Supporting a politician who is somewhere between Anita Bryant and Fred Phelps is a serious diversion from purpose. Target, as a corporation, is supporting a man who wants to strip a supposedly valued portion of its customer base of rights that the rest of its customers freely enjoy. Then has the audacity to ask the LGBT community to give it a pass on it?
Unfortunately, the company cannot openly support a bigot without some kind of blowback.
Recently, the total buying power of the adult LGBT community in the U.S. was estimated to be $743 billion. And frankly, there is a huge chunk of the community that sees right through calculated public-relations buzzwords like “unwavering” — and they’re pissed off and ready to take their piece of that buying power elsewhere.
But the most heinous outcome of this turn of events is that the LGBT community, with the right-leaning conservative specter of Wal-Mart and the wavering of Target, now has to consider whether to start shopping at Kmart.
And really, nobody should have to make that choice.