Boycott highlights Starbucks' radical stance on marriage

By Benjamin Mann

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Supporters of authentic marriage between a man and woman are being urged to “Dump Starbucks,” over the corporation's push to give the institution a radically different meaning.

“People of faith need to take a stand and say: 'Enough is enough. We're not going to have our money used against our values,' ” National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown told EWTN News on March 23.

His organization is spearheading the growing “Dump Starbucks” boycott campaign, a response to Starbucks' declaration of support for same-sex “marriage” legislation in Washington state.

Brown wants consumers to know about Starbucks' vocal support for laws he believes will undermine marriage by changing its legal meaning.

The company, he said, “should have stayed out of this (controversy) completely,” rather than taking a stand likely to antagonize customers and employees.

“That's what we're asking them to do,” he explained. “We're not telling them to take our side, or the side of redefining marriage. We're saying, stay out.”

In January 2012, Starbucks executive Kalen Holmes issued a memo to its U.S. “partners” – the company's term for employees – declaring the corporation's support for Washington's redefinition of marriage.

“This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company,” Holmes wrote.

At Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting on March 21, the National Organization for Marriage's co-founder Maggie Gallagher and Corporate Fairness Project director Jonathan Baker confronted Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz over the company's radical position on marriage.

“They asked Howard Schultz directly, why the company had decided to take a side,” Brown explained. “Why had it decided to alienate its customers, and how did that make good business sense?”

He said Schultz “dismissed their concerns.”

“When Maggie Gallagher went up to speak, the mic was essentially pulled away,” Brown said. “He didn't want to hear it anymore.”

“That left us with no option. Right after that, we launched the boycott.”

Starbucks' media relations department declined to speak with EWTN News about its stance on marriage, saying they were currently “unable to accommodate” an interview request.

Instead, a member of Starbucks' media relations department, identified only as “Anya,” offered an emailed statement: “We’d like to reiterate that at Starbucks, we deeply respect the views of our customers and partners (employees) and recognize that there is genuine passion surrounding this topic.”

The company, Anya said, “has a lengthy history of leading on and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.”

Starbucks “has many constituents and from time to time we will make decisions that are consistent with our values and heritage but may be inconsistent with the views of a particular group.” 

Brown told EWTN News he had seen the same statement and found it “patronizing.”

“To say that they respect our opinion, when they've decided to use their clout as a corporation to redefine marriage, makes no sense,” he stated. “The way you respect our opinion is to stay out, not to take a corporate position.”

Brown also accused Starbucks of “lying to its shareholders and customers” in different parts of the world.

“On the Middle Eastern website, Starbucks Corporation says it takes no political stance. This is a political stance.”

“And the reason it does that, is because it knows that in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, and all these areas, same-sex 'marriage' is overwhelmingly opposed. Therefore, it's telling its customers and shareholders one thing, and doing something entirely different.”

The National Organization for Marriage has never before called for a corporate boycott. It is doing so now, Brown said, because of Starbucks' decision to antagonize many of its employees and customers.

Individuals, he said, have a “right to speak and donate … to any candidate or cause that they choose.”

“It's a very different thing when your corporation itself takes a stand – stands up in the public square and says, essentially, those of us who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman are wrong, and they are going to fight against us.”

According to Brown, Starbucks' corporate culture is already becoming hostile to many Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others who support authentic marriage.

“I think that's already the case, by their own statements,” Brown noted.

“You can't, on one hand, say you 'respect our views' – and then engage the full weight of your corporation to stand against them in the public square.”

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