Starbucks has claimed to be “post politics and post partisan” nevertheless decided to jump into the political fray back in January in order as a corporation throw its support behind same sex marriage legislation in Washington State. They are obviously free to do that, and we are free to demonstrate our disapproval. It seems to be a odd business decision to make a decision that will alienate roughly half of your customer base.
And yet they did. Voluntarily and apparently enthusiastically as reported by Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization of Marriage who attended a recent shareholders meeting:
Jonathan Baker, head of the National Organization for Marriage’s Corporate Fairness Project was there to ask if the board really approved the statement that gay marriage is "core to the Starbucks brand."
Yes, Schultz said. Most of the room there applauded, but what happens in Seattle doesn’t stay in Seattle.
Another shareholder asked how it could possibly be in the shareholders’ interest to wade into a hot-button political and cultural issue. A few brave souls in the audience applauded.
I was going to ask a question, too, but Schultz cut off questions just before I spoke, leaving me the sole person standing before a microphone with a question in my heart to ask:
Millions of good, honorable, decent and loving people believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason — these unions make new life and connect children to a mom and a dad. Of all the sustainable ecosystems Starbucks might want to support, surely this one is worthy of a company that bills itself as a company with a conscience?
I wanted to tell Schultz personally that we at the National Organization for Marriage were going to ask all his customers, employees and vendors who do not support gay marriage to make their presence known.
And thus the Dump Starbucks campaign was born. A portion of every coffee, bag of coffee beans or ground coffee, lattes, etc. purchased goes toward their assault on traditional marriage. If the CEO, Howard Schultz, decided to just personally get involved that’s a completely different thing, but they decided as a corporation to get involved – shareholders, employees, and customers who believe differently be damned.
Until they shift back into a neutral position, while I’ll miss my French Roast Coffee Beans and Café Americanos, I can get my coffee elsewhere.
Update: Past CT contributor, Emily Heikes, suggested an alternative – CityKid Java. 100% of their profits goes to help at-risk kids in the Twin Cities. Now we can balance out our negative action with a positive one. Please do purchase from CityKid Java. You can buy coffee from them online.