The political fallout from the post-Citizens United spending by Target and other Minnesota companies on the state’s gubernatorial race continues, with gay-rights activists attacking business interests for supporting the anti-gay Republican Tom Emmer.
As we noted last week, Target’s donation of $150,000 to MN Forward, a business group supporting Emmer, has been causing a backlash among gay rights activists in the state, due to Emmer’s support for a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and his close associations with the religious right.
Target and other companies supporting MN Forward and Emmer have made it clear that their support is based on Emmer’s position on economic issues, and that the companies remain committed to their own pro-LGBT business policies. Still, that hasn’t stopped pro-gay rights Minnesotans from boycotting Target and returning already purchased goods.
Now the Human Rights Campaign has entered the fray, taking out a full-page ad in the Star Tribune — directed at both Target and Best Buy, which contributed another $100,000 to MN Forward, and signaling that the companies’ support for Emmer could be a “horribly short-sighted business decision.” See the ad here.Key quote:
No matter your motivations in making these donations, they didn’t occur in a vacuum. Same-sex couples in your home state are denied the equality given to other couples in marriage and many state leaders are poised to right that inequity very soon. $250,000 in contributions to those who would stand in the way is a punch in the gut to those of us who want to see all families treated fairly. What may have sounded like a “good business decision” in the board room turns out to be a horribly short-sighted business decision when millions of consumers lose respect for your companies.
With the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the landscape for political contributions has changed in ways that no one fully appreciates yet. Your foray into this uncharted water has proved choppy and should serve as a warning to other corporations mindful of the perceptions of LGBT and allied consumers.
Of course, Emmer has had his share of other problems, too. He has also faced attacks over his past DWI arrests. And of course, his claim that waiters were making over $100,000 in tips and hurting their employers led to some highly amusing attempts at damage control.