Two days ago I shopped at Target for the last time. All the items I bought, I returned in protest of Target's $150,000 support of Tom Emmer, the anti-gay Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota. As a mom, I had to do this one person protest. My youngest son is gay, and I love him more than anything I could ever buy at Target. Video of my final shopping trip to Target was posted on YouTube and you can watch it here:
When I first learned that Target had donated $150,000 to support Tom Emmer, I was shocked. Anger quickly followed and I knew I had to speak out. Thankfully, there are many others who are speaking out with me. News of Target's support of Emmer has gripped the progressive community across the nation.
I had felt good about shopping at Target before this news. Target always had a strong presence at PRIDE and a 100% rating with the Human Rights Campaign. It is important to me to support businesses that affirm their gay employees.
I called Target headquarters to ask them how they could give Emmer $150,000 when they have prided themselves as a company that embraces diversity. I told them they can't say they support the gay community in their workplace and then financially back a candidate who will do all he can to deny their gay employees their civil rights.
Minnesota is at a unique time right now. We are in the midst of our primary. On August 12th, we will pick the Democrat candidate for governor. There are three good people in that race and each one of them strongly supports marriage equality. We have marriage equality within our reach if anyone of them wins in November.
On the other side, the Republicans have already united behind Tom Emmer. He is known for his anti-gay stands as a state legislator. He has consistently supported a constitutional marriage amendment that defines marriage as one man, one woman. He has also supported the Christian rock group, You Can Run But You Can Not Hide, that shares anti-gay messages on the radio. Emmer as governor would be a nightmare for anyone who longs to see the day of equality.
Target CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, personally supports Minnesota candidates like Michele Bachmann. That does not surprise me and I realize that is his personal money. However, when Target as a corporation writes the check, that crosses the line. Then money spent at Target is quite literally money being spent to elect Tom Emmer as Minnesota's next governor. For LGBT people and those who love them, this is not acceptable. We must speak up and we must boycott, or Target's $150,000 will just be the tip of the iceberg since corporations are now free to give political donations.
I encourage you, please speak out with me. Call Target headquarters and ask to speak to their executives or stop by your local Target and talk with the store manager in person. Let them know you can't shop at a store that financially supports anti-gay candidates. The gay community and its allies must draw a line in the sand here or equality remains just a dream.