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Dear Target: Better never than late

So four years after Target Corporation backed fiercely anti-gay rights candidate Tom Emmer for Minnesota Governor, and three years after it refused to oppose Republicans’ mean-spirited ballot measure to enshrine a gay marriage ban in the Minnesota Constitution, corporate executives have apparently read rapidly changing public opinion surveys and are consequently endorsing a legal brief backing  marriage equality.

“It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage,” ­Target’s human resource chief, Jodee Kozlak, said in a posting on the company’s blog.

What next? Perhaps Target Corporation will come out against Jim Crow laws half a century after they were struck down. Maybe they will reveal their newfound love of the Magna Carta.

I know, I know, that’s not very gracious. Marriage equality supporters are supposed to celebrate Target now. As a marriage equality supporter, I’m tempted to say “better late than never.”

But the more I think about it, I’m going with “never.”

In other words, I wish Target and its corporate brethren would just get out of politics, even when they agree with me. Target, stop judging our bedroom choices. Hobby Lobby, stop judging our birth control choices. All of you, stop funnelling dark money to bankroll any brainless politician who promises to free you from all corporate responsibility.

Just stop it.

Target’s latest public policy pronouncement is not better late than never. It would be better if Target never again put its valuable retail brand in the middle of divisive politics. I don’t need Target to be a policymaker or kingmaker. Leave that to the voters. I need Target to supply me with a steady stream of cheap, stylish crap that I don’t need. They’re better at that than they will ever will be at politics, so they should stick to their “core competency,” as the C-Suiters  say.

That would be infinitely better for their brand, and our country.

This post was written by Joe Loveland and originally published on Wry Wing Politics.

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 08/06/2014 - 11:23 am.

    Your thoughts?


    When are the gay rights activists going to “target” churches and religious schools who speak against gay marriage?

    Religious institutions, who do not pay for their employees abortions or do not accept gay marriage, should donors to these groups receive a tax break for supporting “intolerance” and “ hate speech?”

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/06/2014 - 12:02 pm.

    “When are the gay rights activists going to “target” churches and religious schools who speak against gay marriage?”

    When? Pffft. Minnpost; ever read it?

  3. Submitted by Joe Loveland on 08/06/2014 - 12:51 pm.


    Plenty of church goers are voting with their feet based on church positions on marriage equality. My church has had a vigorous discussion on that issue.

    I can understand why a church feels the need to take a position on marriage equality. After all, they’re in the wedding business.

    But I don’t understand why a retailer feels the need to take a position on marriage equality. None of their business.

    • Submitted by Pat McGee on 08/06/2014 - 01:04 pm.

      Retailers and weddings

      Weddings are a HUGE business/industry.I’d like to think that Target saw the light, but I’m afraid all they see are the dollar signs. Support gay marraige and they’ve opened up a whole new market that has been avoiding them.

  4. Submitted by Joe Loveland on 08/06/2014 - 02:11 pm.

    Two-faced Target

    Target Corporation issues statements in support marriage equality while still giving big campaign donations to politicians pushing to ban marriage equality. As long as Target tries to have it both ways, they’re going to get caught in the political crossfire. They need to just get out of politics.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 08/06/2014 - 06:01 pm.

      Why the hate towards target?

      So you are saying that only the all tax paying, highly regulated public corporations should not have a say in politics, or just the coporations that agree with you should be free to speak?

      Should unions be out of politics as well?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 08/06/2014 - 08:10 pm.

        In a word (again)


      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 08/06/2014 - 08:12 pm.

        To expound

        The only money in elections should come from a pooled public till from which all candidates get equal access. No donors, no outside “shadow” funds, no self financing. Easy enough to follow?

      • Submitted by Joe Loveland on 08/07/2014 - 04:27 pm.

        To clarify

        From a brand management standpoint, I’m saying that it’s stupid to continually place a multi-billion dollar retail brand in the middle of the most polarizing issues of our times. It just causes the brand to get monkey poo on it from both directions.

        From a consumer standpoint, I’m saying I’d love Target more if they just got out of politics altogether. Since Target spends millions trying to get consumers like me to love them, they might want to consider that.

        From a citizens standpoint, I’m not saying Target should be gagged. They have the write to speak out. I’m just saying, our democracy would be healthier if corporate influence were weaker and voter influencer more stronger.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 08/07/2014 - 11:41 am.

    Before we go on beating Target for being open about a stance on a hot-button political issue, we should consider: Do we want them just to go underground with their advocacy?

    At least Target’s halting, faltering steps are out there for us all to criticize, condemn, praise, whatever. Can you say that about the Koch industries? Can you tell us where the companies in which you invest (stocks or mutual funds) place money behind political bets? Your money, incidentally. Which is a problem I have with corporations spending on political causes backed by the corporation’s executives and board: It ain’t your money, boys! it’s the stockholders’ money, and a lot of them probably disagree with the execs on what to back.

    The CEOs of the world can do with their private money what they will (preferably listed publicly, of course). They just should stay out of politics with shareholders’ money.

    • Submitted by Joe Loveland on 08/07/2014 - 04:40 pm.

      Transparent advocacy

      You make a good point, but Target already plays shell games with their money anyway. For example A Minnesotans for A Fair Economy (pro-minimum wage increase group) report says:

      Although Target and Walmart maintain they have not taken a position on increasing the minimum wage, their political contributions and leadership in trade associations make it clear they oppose raising the minimum wage at either the federal or state level. Key findings from the report are:

      • Target executives have made 65% of all contributions to the Minnesota Retailers Association’s PAC since 2000.

      • Target executives, their family members, and the company’s PAC have been the largest source of campaign funds for Rep. John Kline, who led the opposition to a bill the US House of Representatives rejected last year to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Since 2005, they have contributed $125,000 to Kline, more than to any other current member of congress.

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