Just two years ago Target Corp. angered gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office.
Now the retailer is upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota, reports The Huff Post.
“Target is attacking traditional marriage, which is an incredibly misguided thing for them to have done,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group campaigning to pass the constitutional marriage amendment.
“It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers,” Darrell said.
Minneapolis-based corporation is taking heat in its home state, where voters are to decide in November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution.
The T-shirts that cost $12.99 each will be sold on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last.
The T-shirt promotion is supposed to raise up to $120,000 for the Family Equality Council, a Washington-based group that is part of a Minnesota coalition pushing to defeat the constitutional amendment.
The T-shirts come in four designs, emblazoned with words such as “harmony” and “pride.” Singer Gwen Stefani designed one shirt featuring a rainbow and a cloud that says, “LOVE IS LOVE.”
“Target is pleased to be able to bring our guests products they want while, in turn, helping support the LGBT community through the donation of 100 percent of the purchase price to the Family Equality Council,” the company said in a statement mentioning its long-standing support of the gay community.
Fox News writes that Target hasn’t taken a position on Minnesota’s ballot question.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said that the T-shirt promotion was organized by a group of gay Target employees and their allies.
She added that it is Target’s second promotion to benefit a specific group. The first, during last year’s holiday season, raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the sale of limited-edition plush dogs.
“I know and understand what a big reaction that donation had two years ago, and I think they have taken steps, serious steps, to show that they understood that reaction,” Family Equality Council director Jennifer Chrisler said.
“But I really think this is an extension of the longtime partnership we have had and their commitment to family,” Chrisler said.
She also noted that the T-shirt proceeds will fund her group’s work around the country, ranging from community building to political advocacy.
Target, a longtime sponsor of the Twin Cities gay pride festival, is now sponsoring Family Equality Council retreats for gay families in Massachusetts and California, according to Chrisler.
Minnesota for Marriage doesn’t plan to organize any action against Target because of its focus on the November vote, said Chuck Darrell.
Instead, he is asking supporters of the constitutional amendment to counter the Target promotion by donating $12.99 on his group’s website. He added that donations are up since Target started selling the T-shirts.
Darrell also urged Target to get out of the marriage issue — and stay out.
“Just get out of this debate and do what they’re good at,” Darrell said. “Get out of the business of trying to redefine marriage.”