Target Misses the Mark on Diversity: Corporate Donation equals Corporate Homophobia

by cv harquail on July 28, 2010

How do you know whether an organization is racist, or sexist, or homophobic?

You can use my 6 Degrees test, or you can use an even simpler method:

You can watch where they put their money.

Target has put its money behind the campaign of a homophobe who’s against same-sex marriage.

201007281324.jpgThis single action casts doubt on all the other positive things that Target has done in support of the LGBTQ community and the supporters of the LGBTQ community.

Target is not “homophobic” like Marriott

Last year in the conversation around California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, The Marriott Corporation was accused of being anti-gay.

Like Target, Marriott has had a long history of demonstrated, structural support for employees and guests in the LGBTQ community.

But, while Marriott shareholders donated money to fight gay rights and support discrimination, Marriott as a corporation did not support discrimination against gays and lesbians. Thus, Marriott cannot be fairly called “anti-gay”. Instead, all of Marriott’s other pro-diversity efforts stand un- contradicted, as demonstration of Marriott’s support.

Target’s Action Directly Supports Homophobia

It’s not Target shareholders, or Target employees, who are donating to the campaign of a homophobe. It is the corporation itself.

This distinction between individuals’ money and corporate money is an important one.

The corporation can’t control or be held responsible for what people do with the money they earn from that corporation– these decisions are up to the individuals. Corporations also can’t force employees to donate their money to one cause or another; nor can they punish an employee for where he or she contributes. These are our individual rights as citizens.

However, any time a corporation puts corporate money-– funds that the organization has earned but has not paid out to individual shareholders, funds that belong to the corporation as an entity — towards the support of a candidate, that organization is directly supporting the views of that candidate.

If your organization gives $100,000 of corporate cash to a candidate who stands against equal rights, guess what?

Target, by using corporate money to support the campaign of a candidate who fights equal rights for all, you have  just supported homophobia.

It really is that simple.


Dont Boycott Marriott  churchsign.jpg

What about Target’s other, supportive actions?

Sure, folks are going to say “But what about all Target’s other support of the gay community? Shouldn’t that count?”

Certainly, that track record of real support matters. But, if the executives of Target don’t demonstrate their corporation’s claimed values in each and every action — from health insurance to marriage rights — their claims to hold those values aren’t authentic.

A corporation that truly supported it’s LGBTQ employees and customers? A corporation truly dedicated to diversity and inclusion? That corporation would decline to contribute to a homophobic candidate.

If they could not find a pro-diversity candidate with economic policies they also liked, they would sit it out.

It really is that simple.


See Also:
The Case Against A Marriott Boycott (part 2): Marriott is not Anti-Gay
What Do Sarah Palin, Bill Marriott and John Templeton, Jr. Have In Common?

Is The Daily Show Sexist? Use the 6 Degrees of Sexism Test to judge for yourself


Molly July 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

The Marriott issue is a very sticky one. Whilst they did have a reasonable corporate policy, the hotel chain provided discounted rates to LDS officials traveling around the country to further the cause of Prop 8:

Bill Marriott also attended a Canterbury Club dinner which doubled as a celebration party for Prop 8’s passage:

I’d have to call Mariott’s position on gays hypocritical.

cv harquail July 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Hi Molly, Thanks for sharing this information. That kind of information would change ones conclusion about whether or not Marriott is anti-gay, if the corporation supported the LDS Prop 8 campaign with “gifts in kind” or with discounts. I can’t find a place on the document you link to that shows that Marriott gave them a discount … of course, LDS are going to stay at a Marriott property whenever possible, but it’s not certain from this document that (1) the Prop advocates got discounts, or (2) that those discounts were because of Prop 8 vs. having a AAA card….

If Bill Marriott was at the dinner, and he was there to celebrate Prop 8, then this action contradicts his stated support for the GLBTQ community — but it doesn’t make the corporation anti-gay, or “Mormon”. The actions of the CEO when he is not at work and not officially representing the organization may demonstrate a tendancy, but they aren’t conclusive on their own.

The criterion of “is it the corporation’s money or some individual’s money’ is what matters most. — so I’ll keep my eyes open for more data like what you’ve suggested, and keep my conclusion the same, and open to revision.

Please don’t think that by holding fast to my criteria, I’m ignoring the hatred demonstrated by the LDS Community’s efforts against same-sex marriage. Thanks for adding some new concerns…

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