I’ve talked about Minnesota businesses a couple of times in this blog. As we get closer to the amendment, I plan to share what we know about Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies and where they stand when it comes to the amendment.
My purpose certainly isn’t to shame any organization into supporting the amendment or creating state-wide boycotts. Instead, my hope is that if we educate same-sex advocates on where companies stand, we can help influence the views of leaders in these organizations.
For example, Gregg Steinhafel shared in June of 2011 that Target would remain neutral on the marriage amendment:
Our position at this particular time is that we are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view…
We have a broad team-member base, every shape and size and color. And so we are a very inclusive organization….We’re going to continue to monitor, we’re going to continue to assess, and see how that develops.
I completely understand where he is coming from. Target took a lot of heat in 2010 (some argue it was appropriate, others argue it was not) in regards to the Minnesota Forward donation. If I were in Mr. Steinhafel’s shoes, I would probably think twice about taking a stand one way or another on this issue, too. However, the CEO of Target has friends, neighbors and colleagues that are gay, or have sons and daughters that are gay, etc.. If we can connect on that personal level, we can influence decisions.
And it’s not just Target’s CEO. Brian Dunn, former CEO Best Buy had also remained quiet. The list goes on (refer to my previous post to see where other companies stand on this issue).
Of course, we do know that there have been leaders that have come out in firm opposition of this mean-spirited amendment, too. Marilyn Carlson Nelson received probably the most attention when she shared her views.
Important note: Just because an organization hasn’t taken a public stance of opposition against the amendment, doesn’t mean they are “anti-gay.” Quite the contrary. We’re fortunate to have one of the largest Pride celebrations in the country that is supported by companies like Target and Best Buy. Internally, Target, Best Buy and others have employee resource groups, provide team members extensive benefits and are advocates for diversity and inclusion. Our role is to help these organizations, and their leaders, understand the far-reaching impacts of this mean-spirited amendment. As we get closer to the amendment vote, I’m hopeful that we will see more of the Fortune 500 companies located here come out in support of marriage equality like Amazon.com did back in February.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council.