Target says it will only back Tom Emmer for governor

Target Corp. feels really, really bad about upsetting GLBT folks by backing an anti-gay man for governor of Minnesota. But yesterday it officially said it has no intention of actually putting its money where its mouth is.

The Human Rights Campaign had been negotiating with Target for a couple of weeks to see if it could get the giant Minnesota-based retailer to balance its $150,000 backing Republican Tom Emmer with a contribution to candidates supporting civil rights for gays. But the negotiations came to an end yesterday. When it comes to money, Target says it will only back Emmer for governor.

"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," the company said in a statement. "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."

What? It's already a political issue. It was a political issue the moment Target shelled out $150,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to bolster Tom Emmer's campaign.

"We remain committed to the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community and will continue to seek thoughtful ways to demonstrate the strong support for inclusiveness that we have held throughout our history," the company said.

"Committed" does not include backing a candidate governor who actually supports civil rights for gays, however.

"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," HRC President Joe Solmonese said. "However, with full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it's important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates."

"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," he said.

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