When Target announced that it was thinking about opening two stores in San Francisco, it wsa like the clouds had parted and a chorus of angels had descended on the city. Residents were beside themselves with delight ... until the company picked a fight with the gays.
The trouble started a few weeks ago, when it came to light that the company had donated $150,000 to Tom Emmer, a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota who authored that state's version of Prop 8. He's the only candidate who doesn't support marriage equality -- and, in fact, he's donated money to a band whose frontman called the execution of gays "moral." Gays and their families and friends (or, in other words, everyone) were pretty miffed.
Since then, Target's done little to soothe tensions. The company apologized, but didn't take back the donation or offer to give money to any civil rights organizations. To be fair, the company offers domestic partnership benefits and pays for some gay-themed parades and forums ... but does that balance their bankrolling of anti-gay politicians?
The donation wasn't completely out of the blue. Target's leadership has recently been under fire for the company's association with politicians and executives who have what could be called anti-gay agendas. Executive Matt Zabel, for example, once worked for John Thune, a Republican senator who voted to stop gays from marrying and even voted to take kids away from gay foster parents. Another executive, Timothy Baer, gave thousands of dollars to the campaigns of former Senator Norm Coleman and Representative John Kline, both of whom have voted to restrict civil rights.
So, it's no surprise that San Franciscans are now turning on the chain.
"We were very upset," Supervisor Bevan Dufty said, while District 8 candidate Rafael Mandelmann said he wouldn't support the company's aspirations in the city: "No frickin' way!"
District 6 candidate Theresa Sparks called Target's donation "a slap in the face," and District 8 candidate Bill Hemmenger said that the company is unwelcome in the city. Ouch.
Matt Baume's marriage is worth slightly more than a package of cheap tube socks.