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Starbucks CEO: We support marriage equality, and if you don’t like it, sell your stock

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz on Wednesday defended the company’s decision to support marriage equality, and told investors that if they weren’t on board, they could sell their stock and go elsewhere.

Howard Schultz

Last year, the Seattle-based company announced its support for legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state, prompting opponents of the measure — notably the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage — to launch a boycott of Starbucks.

At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, shareholder Tom Strobhar described Starbucks’ first-quarter performance as disappointing, and suggested that was due in part to the boycott.

“In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” Strobhar said.

Unfazed, Schultz replied that the company’s decision to support marriage equality was not the bottom line, but about respecting diversity, reported KPLU.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” he said, to loud applause from the audience.

He said the company had delivered a healthy return last year, regardless of the boycott.

For 2012, Starbucks delivered a 14 percent increase in net revenues over the prior year, reaching a record $13.3 billion. The company returned approximately $1.1 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments.

In February, Starbucks joined nearly 300 other companies in filing a brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits and recognition to same-sex couples.

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79 more reader comments:

  1. Thank your for your support. :)

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:00pm
  2. l♥ve a skinny caramel frap :) g♥♥d j♥b Starbucks

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:00pm
  3. NICE!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:02pm
  4. Yep, all the people and pension funds dumping gun manufacturers’ stock could buy this instead. Responsibile investing!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:02pm
  5. and thats why i love their coffees!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:02pm
  6. Praise Starbucks.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:02pm
  7. Kinda makes me want to go to Starbucks now… I’ll still troll by ordering a medium (Because that sizing system they have is ridiculous) but otherwise they’ll get my business.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:03pm
  8. Ill be going to Starbucks more!,,

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:03pm
  9. Hooyah!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:04pm
  10. Three thumbs up

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:04pm
  11. 10 thumbs up! Yet another reason to go to Starbucks!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:05pm
  12. but they still put small business owners out of business

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:07pm
  13. yes thanks for your support but i cannot support you

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:07pm
  14. high five’s all the way around!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:07pm
  15. Finally! Someone with balls!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:08pm
  16. :))

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:09pm
  17. Kudos on your stand! More companies should follow your lead.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:09pm
  18. U will see me @ Starbucks!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:09pm
  19. I’ll go work for Starbucks

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:10pm
  20. oh “they put small business owners out of business” i think it’s time we move beyond that thinking. every large corporation puts the small guys out of business. Sears, homedepot, lowes, kohls, walmart, target, costco, sams club. the large food chains have put all the individual food markets out of business years ago. I also know a lot of small businesses that are still in busienss because they new how to adapt and change with the times.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:11pm
  21. Starbucks doesn’t support our troops

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:12pm
  22. “For 2012, Starbucks delivered a 14 percent increase in net revenues over the prior year, reaching a record $13.3 billion. The company returned approximately $1.1 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments.” — The shareholder is harping on Q1, but I’m sure he cashed that fat dividend check he received.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:16pm
  23. great company

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:16pm
  24. They know who buys their coffee. Well, I don’t, but I’m sure there’s a significant queer and queer-ally clientele in the big cities that does.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:17pm
  25. Their coffee is still awful, but I like appreciate their stance on this issue.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:18pm
  26. God bless you Starbucks and your prophetic stand for Gay and lesbian rights including the right of marriage. This liberal Christian and his fiancé supports your company 110 percent

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:18pm
  27. Whoa! WTG! Gee, what a classy person you are, Stephanie, throwing those “queer” remarks around. NOT

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:19pm
  28. Awesome! I just had some Starbucks coffee in honor of the CEO and his belief in the Gay’s! Thanx y’all! Werk…

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:19pm
  29. Whoo hoo!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:22pm
  30. love u starbucks

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:24pm
  31. Well said!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:25pm
  32. I think Starbucks with worth admiring as a large corporation more so than most other large corporations. They have a strong stance on LGBT rights and they spend more money on healthcare for their employees than they do on coffee beans.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:25pm
  33. Another reason I love them!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:26pm
  34. Thank you, Mr. Schultz!! Starbucks keeps making us proud! Can we have 100% Fair Trade coffee now? :-)

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:26pm
  35. Starbucks is* (not with)
    Weird autocorrect moment.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:26pm
  36. May I need to start buying coffee from starbucks.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:27pm
  37. Overpriced coffee, illogical names. I’ll never go there, but at least I they aren’t stupid either.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:28pm
  38. That’s great but they don’t support our troops.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:29pm
  39. Nice!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:30pm
  40. Too bad They don’t support the troops

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:31pm
  41. Huh?

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:34pm
  42. Thank you!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:34pm
  43. What a douchebag!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:35pm
  44. Dont someone for being successful. Jealousy and envy only lead to trouble.
    Star Bucks has made a huge move to help lgbt people and nit-picking them now is not appropriate.
    Lets begreatful and say “Thank you star bucks!!!”

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:36pm
  45. Sorry KC Jordan-Hullar, that is simply not true. http://news.starbucks.com/about+starbucks/myths+facts/militarydonations.htm

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:38pm
  46. For all those saying they don’t support the troops, please explain. And are you mixing up not being pro-war for not supporting our people who are there fighting it?

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:53pm
  47. Thank You

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:56pm
  48. Yeah! Make mine a Quadruple Shot Venti Mocha Whupass with sprinkles.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:15pm
  49. Way to Go Mr. Schultz. I applaud you for being supportive, and taking a stand like you are. I’ve always loved Starbucks for many many years, and with your support, i’ll continue to love your store. Thank you.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:17pm
  50. Christopher, i think the topic of this post is Marriage Equaility. Lets stick to the topic at hand.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:18pm
  51. Good for them!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:22pm
  52. And Chik-Fil-A supports traditional marriage. If you don’t like it don’t eat there. Personally, I like Starbucks and I like Chik-Fil-A, so I’m gonna do both!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:27pm
  53. Who wants coffee? I think I’m getting Starbucks tomorrow.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:28pm
  54. Good to see a corp exec take a stand for us like that for a change! :D

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:33pm
  55. Starbucks here I come.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:34pm
  56. Yay!!!!! Good to see that Starbucks realizes the need for equality of all!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:36pm
  57. I love Howard. I have worked for Starbuck’s and love their stance on Equality! Thank you Howard!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:38pm
  58. Thank you Howard!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:44pm
  59. The Starbucks CEO is also openly racist against arabs, what about race equality? I’ll buy from Starbucks again when they get rid of that hypocrite CEO.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:47pm
  60. Too bad thier coffee still sucks.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 6:11pm
  61. I don’t understand shit about the american behaviour! “The land of aaaaall the opportunities, the land of freedom!!! The american dream!!”

    A brand has too be open about gay marriage??????? WTF? What else? McDonald’s supports cannibalism among hamsters???? Fucked up hypocrite country!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 6:51pm
  62. I’m definitely more into local coffee houses than Starbucks, but I guess this is still a good thing, sort of.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:07pm
  63. yes they can sell their stock to me :)

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:10pm
  64. Thanx !!!! The only way to tell old people tahnx

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:20pm
  65. I love Starbucks! Did I say I love Starbucks…..Even MORE now!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:21pm
  66. Totally kewl!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:26pm
  67. some people have to always be negative about good news.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:55pm
  68. Stephanie Weil… Who damaged you? You’re an idiot.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 8:10pm
  69. Way to go Mr. Schultz and Starbucks!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 8:36pm
  70. I always did like Starbucks! What a bold statement!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 9:03pm
  71. Amen!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:05pm
  72. Now if only he’d stop giving millions to extremist groups in Israel, supporting illegal settlements.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:31pm
  73. Thank you Starbucks, I am not a big fan, sorry don’t like your coffee, but you give me a reason to support you now.

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:31pm
  74. Thank you

    Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:59pm
  75. Yes the coffee is too strong for my nerves, but I admire its leader.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:59am
  76. Whooooooa! Dang!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 5:45am
  77. Awesome

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:34am
  78. Wow, that takes guts.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:30am
  79. This is Pinkwashing. This company supports extremists in Israel and settlements that violate international law.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:54am