Diane Alter – Fourth Estate Cooperative Reporter
Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E) – Two years ago, Target Corp. infuriated gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a controversial gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office in Minnesota.
Now, the popular retailer is irking same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is under fire in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution.
One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage.
Target’s latest move comes 24 months after it withstood a flurry of backlash from gay rights supporters for gifting $150,000 to a campaign group backing the conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor Tom Emmer, who only just lost to Democrat Mark Dayton in a race that went to a recount.
The donation sparked protests and calls for a boycott from a constituency that had deemed Target as an ally.
Supporters of gay marriage view Minnesota as having the potential to stop their long losing streak in statewide votes.
The T-shirt promotion aims to raise some $120,000 for the Family Coalition Council, a Washington-based group that is part of a Minnesota coalition lobbying to defeat the constitutional amendment.
The shirts will sell for $12.99 on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last.
The Tees come in four designs, inscribed with words such as “harmony” and “pride.”
Pop-singer Gwen Stefani designed one shirt featuring a rainbow and a cloud that says, “LOVE IS LOVE.”
A statement from the retailer notes it maintains “a broad range of strongly held views” on the marriage issue and urges employees to vote.