Skip to main content

Target negotiations with gay rights group break down, backlash continues


Washington, D.C. The Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay rights organization, said Monday that after a breakdown in negotiations with Target Corp., the group will continue to mount protests over a donation used to support a Republican gubernatorial candidate with a history of opposing gay rights.

Officials with the Human Rights Campaign said the retailer had effectively rejected the group's proposals to donate to gay rights organizations to offset the earlier donation, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Target's handling of the protests has been closely watched because it is the first case in this election cycle of a company receiving national protests over a campaign donation.

Human Rights Campaign is considering whether to suspend Target's 100% rating on its "Corporate Equality Index," a measurement of corporate hiring diversity policies on a scale of 0 to 100.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel has told employees that sending a $150,000 donation to the new political group MN Forward was a business decision. The group used Target's funds to help underwrite ads backing Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes gay marriage and other legislative initiatives sought by gay rights groups.

In response, San Francisco officials threatened to block the construction of two new Target stores in the city, where gay advocates have long had strong influence. In addition, and other left-leaning groups have asked supporters to boycott Target. MoveOn posted a video on YouTube Monday that showing a group of its members performing a musical number inside a Seattle Target store.

Human Rights Campaign said it had reached two tentative agreements with Target but the retailer then backed out. The gay rights group said it plans to give $150,000 to organizations that support candidates in favor of gay rights.

On Tuesday, announced it will spend $35,000 to air a TV ad for a week on three networks in Minnesota and on the MSNBC cable channel nationally. The ad starts running Wednesday, and urges consumers to boycott Target for getting involved in elections.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds