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Target rejects HRC call for ‘make it right’ donation to gay causes

Monday, August 16, 2010
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Target Corp. said Monday it has no plans to donate money to gay-friendly causes to quiet the protests over a $150,000 donation that helped support a Minnesota governor candidate who opposes gay marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said the Minneapolis-based retailer had effectively rejected the group’s proposals to donate to gay rights organizations to offset the earlier donation.

In a statement, Target said:

“Given the current political and emotionally charged environment, we have concluded that it is best to wait before taking further external action regarding our MN Forward contribution. We believe that it is impossible to avoid turning any further actions into a political issue and will use the benefit of time to make thoughtful, careful decisions on how best to move forward.”

The HRC issued this statement:

“After two weeks of good-faith discussions -– and two tentative agreements –- with Target Corporation, the company has informed the HRC that it will take no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing $150,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people. In response, HRC announced that it will devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect a pro-equality governor and legislature in Minnesota. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation in the North Star State.

“All fair-minded Americans will now rightly question Target’s commitment to equality. If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

The HRC also is in private talks with Best Buy, which gave $100,000 to MN Forward, a political action committee founded by Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s chief of staff and backed by Republican-leaning business groups.

MN Forward has produced television ads for Emmer, who is opposed to gay marriage and is running on a pro-business, anti-tax platform.

The HRC indicated it is considering whether to suspend Target’s 100 percent rating on its “Corporate Equality Index,” a measurement of corporate hiring diversity policies on a scale of 0 to 100.

“Target and Best Buy have – and no doubt will continue to have – model employment policies for LGBT people. We will continue to support those efforts. But before they can regain that exalted status among their consumers, they need to make things right in Minnesota,” said Solmonese. “The nation’s LGBT community has shown these two companies enormous customer loyalty. Now it’s time for that faithfulness to be returned.”

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