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Target now neutral on gay marriage

Target's Steinhafel is a serious contortionist.

Target's Steinhafel is a serious contortionist.

Target is still struggling to get the optics right on gay rights.

To recap: It sponsors Twin Cities Pride in 2010, but then it backs an anti-gay marriage candidate for Minnesota governor. There's outrage, the dust settles, and now Target is back as a sponsor for the Pride fest this year. So far, so good.

Now, CEO Gregg Steinhafel is telling Target shareholders that the company isn't taking a position on the gay marriage ban campaign now getting cranked up ahead of the 2012 elections.

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"We are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view," Steinhafel says.

Is this good news for LGBT folks? The company jumped into a polarizing 2010 campaign season, in which divisive social issues played a key role in giving social conservatives power in the Legislature, but now it's "going to be neutral?"

And it's still going to sponsor Twin Cities Pride, the largest LGBT gathering in the region every year, even though the event's the theme is "the collective efforts of the LGBT equality movement on the local, national and global levels."

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Maybe this counts as a victory for gay folk, in the sense that at least Target isn't fighting them, but Gregg Steinhafel sure comes off as one serious contortionist.

Previously: