By Merrill Miller, Communications Intern
Target and Best Buy, two companies with reputations for being progressive and pro-LGBT rights, have given $150,000 and $100,000 respectively to MN Forward, a political action committee (PAC) that supports Tom Emmer, anti-LGBT rights candidate for Minnesota governor. Though both companies claim that they support Emmer’s economic policies, not his social stances, the fact that they’re supporting his campaign at all says otherwise.
In response to consumer outrage, Target and Best Buy have been swearing they support their LGBT employees and customers. Both have been repeating their 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, but the HRC admits that it does not use political donations in calculating companies’ scores. They also claim that their support of Emmer is related to his commitment to economic growth and job creation–his commitment to tax cuts for the wealthy and pay cuts for the working poor. In fact, not only is Emmer’s record concerning LGBT rights abysmal–he defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and defends bans on same-sex marriage–his support of human rights and the rights of those in poverty are appalling. He supports Arizona’s immigration laws and cuts in minimum wage for workers in the service sector whose incomes are based on tips. In donating to Emmer, Target and Best Buy seem to be going against the interests of their employees, their consumers and human rights.
But it gets worse. CEO of Target, Greg Steinhafel, and his wife have personally donated to the campaign of Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party supporter who is running for a Minnesota seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bachmann, endorsed by “Mama Grizzly”, Sarah Palin herself, has just as shoddy a record for LGBT rights and women’s rights as Emmer does. She has voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, voted for upholding bans on same-sex marriage and is against abortion rights. She was even caught on camera hiding in the bushes at an LGBT rally because she was terrified of the people there. If you’re confused as to why the CEO of the same company that contributes to Twin Cities Pride and provides same-sex partner benefits is supporting such a bigoted candidate, so are we. The actions of Target and its CEO are downright hypocritical and shameful.
Consumers aren’t standing for Target and Best Buy’s unjust and outrageous actions. They’ve organized boycotts and protests, and the Human Rights Campaign has placed an ad in the Star Tribune that rebukes both companies for going against their tradition of support for the LGBT community. If you would like to call out Target and Best Buy on their hypocrisy and encourage them to continue to truly support the LGBT community, click on the links below: