Target finally comes out in support of gay marriage

Target finally comes out in support of gay marriage
kevin dooley via Flickr Creative Commons

Two years ago, Target refused to take an official stance on Minnesota's marriage amendment. The perception was that then-CEO Gregg Steinhafel, who in 2010 created a stink by giving $150,000 of the company's dollars to fund a TV ad supporting Tom Emmer's anti-gay gubernatorial campaign, played a significant role in forcing Target to remain neutral.

Steinhafel is now gone, with Brian Cornell officially named his successor last week. And just days later, the company made its first public, unambiguous statement in support of marriage equality.

See also:
Target's new gay pride collection "a stupid move," says Minnesota for Marriage

In a blog post published yesterday, Jodee Kozlak, Target executive vice president and chief human resources officer, writes that the company recently signed a court brief in favor of recent federal rulings that have struck down state prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

"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," Kozlak writes. "We believe that everyone -- all of our team members and our guests -- deserve to be treated equally. And at Target we are proud to support the LGBT community."

Kozlak also portrays Target leadership's rationale for publicly supporting gay marriage in pragmatic terms.

"Current laws -- in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this [the relevant court case] -- make it difficult to attract and retain talent," she continues. "These disparate laws also create confusing and complicated benefits challenges across multiple states."

The move was applauded by the Human Rights Campaign. In a release, the HRC notes that despite Target's refusal to take an official position on marriage equality, the company received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's latest Corporate Equality Index, which scores American businesses on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

"Today Target joins a growing chorus of Americans and businesses that know these bans on marriage equality serve no purpose other than to harm families," HRC President Chad Griffin says in the statement. "Discrimination should have no place in our society, much less our laws. We are grateful to Target for speaking out and standing up for the rights of not just its LGBT employees, but Americans from across the country who deserve to be treated with fairness and equality under the law."

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.

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