Pro-family groups are taking major U.S. merchandiser Target Corporation to task for its recently announced initiative to raise money for homosexual activism. Two years after getting into hot water with homosexual groups for backing Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who supported a state amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, the Minnesota-based Target Corp. is now “inching into the gay-pride market,” reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “offering 10 rainbow-themed T-shirts for sale online and promising to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Family Equality Council [FEC], a group for gay and lesbian families.”
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said that the company “supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business and has a long history of supporting the LGBT community through giving, volunteerism, and event sponsorship and participation.” Snyder told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the “gay pride” promotion was sparked by an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) group among Target’s employees, and snowballed into a line of merchandise promoting the politically and culturally polarizing cause. “Over the past year, we heard from our team members and guests that they’d like to see an assortment of Pride merchandise available at Target,” Snyder said.
That assortment includes a collection of ten “gay pride” T-shirts, each retailing for $12.99, with up to $120,000 of the profits going to help the FEC push for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the United States. Snyder explained that the T-shirt promotion will coincide with Minneapolis’ annual homosexual “pride” festival in late June — a two-day event notorious for the in-your-face public displays of debauchery by many of its participants.
Just two years ago Target contributed $150,000 to conservative political action group MN Forward, which was supporting Emmer for Governor. While Emmer had come out publicly in favor of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, Target said its decision to support him was based instead on MN Forward’s pro-business tax and jobs platform.
The FEC’s director Jennifer Chrisler acknowledged the brouhaha over Target’s endorsement of Emmer, but added that “here’s what I know about Target and their work with us: They’re 100 percent committed to the goal of families being respected in all communities, including parents who happen to be LGBT. This is just a continuation of that support.”
In announcing the Target initiative, Snyder insisted that the company is remaining neutral on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, on which state residents will vote in November. “We recognize that there is a broad range of strongly held views on the MN Marriage amendment,” Snyder wrote in a recent e-mail. “While Target has not taken a role in the public debate on this issue, consistent with our longstanding support of civic engagement, we strongly encourage our team members to exercise their right to vote in November.”
Pro-family groups, however, read Target’s initiative as a not-too-subtle endorsement of same-sex marriage, and an implicit statement of opposition to the marriage amendment. Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association (AFA), noted that a rainbow colored flag on Target’s website declares that “June is Pride Month.” Said the pro-family leader: “Really what Target is saying is that we’re going to take sides in this social agenda and we’re not going to support natural marriage. We’re going to support homosexual marriage.”
Sharp observed that the Family Equality Council is well known for its aggressive efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. “Target has basically decided that they’re going to endorse this organization, that they’re going to endorse gay marriage laws in the United States, and they’re going to back it up with $120,000 cash,” he said.
The AFA is urging consumers to contact the Target corporate office and let CEO Gregg Steinhafel know that they will take their business elsewhere if Target insists on backing campaigns that are destructive to America’s families. “I believe that’s going to send a strong message to the company that they should remain neutral in this culture war,” Sharp said. “What Target needs to do is do what they do — and that is sell good, quality products at a low price to help families live a better life.”
Andy Parrish of Minnesota for Marriage, a pro-family group leading the fight for traditional marriage in Minnesota, argued that Target’s T-shirt campaign is little more than a conciliatory gesture to the homosexual community as penance for its past support of the pro-family Emmer. “It’s wrong for a mega-corporation to take sides in an important social issue that has nothing to do with its business objectives,” Parrish said in an e-mail to amendment supporters. “In doing so, Target has alienated the strong majority of Minnesotans who support traditional marriage. They also risk alienating the overwhelming majority of their customers in the 32 states in this country that have voted to support traditional marriage.”
Chuck Darrell, communications director for Minnesota for Marriage, told LifeSiteNews.com that it would actually “make a lot more sense for Target to help raise money for traditional marriage, as a new study on social trends shows huge sectors of our economy benefit from traditional marriage with children. That includes corporations like Target.”
Darrel was referring to a recent study by the Social Trends Institute, which found that a traditionally married couple with children spends at least than three times more on households products and services than single individuals, and significantly more than married couples with no children. “Companies as varied as Home Depot … and Target … are probably more likely to profit when men and women marry and have children,” the study concluded.