Earlier this week, HuffPost's Jason Linkins and Abe Sauer at The Awl reported that the Human Rights Campaign has been slow to respond to the $250,000 donation by corporate giants Target and Best Buy to anti-gay would-be Minnesota governor Tom Emmer.
Now, HRC is collecting signatures on an open letter demanding that Target and Best Buy "make it right" by donating another $250,000 "to support fair-minded candidates who will fight for equality."
The group says it plans to publish the letter as a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. In the meantime, the letter's authors suggest delivering copies of it to local Target and Best Buy outlets.
READ the letter:
An Open Letter to Target and Best Buy
When lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers -- not to mention our millions of supportive friends and family members -- used to think about Target and Best Buy, we saw two shining examples of corporations that respected the equality and dignity of every American. As nationwide retailers, both of your brands gave other corporations a standard to which they could aspire. In fact, your consistent ratings of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index were a solid signal of your commitment to a diverse workforce. As a community, we are grateful for that commitment and we fully expect it will continue.
Now, Americans are questioning their loyalty to your brands with word of significant contributions to the political action committee MN Forward that hopes to install one of the most strident opponents of equality in the Minnesota Governor's mansion. With these contributions, you have severely damaged those carefully cultivated reputations and violated the spirit of the gold standards bestowed on you. In fact, the long-term effects on families that shop at Target and Best Buy throughout Minnesota and the U.S. will be devastating.
At this critical time in Minnesotans' quest for equality, MN Forward and the candidates they are supporting would turn Minnesota backward, away from the promise of equal opportunity and fairness that we hold dear. No matter your motivations in making these donations, they didn't occur in a vacuum. Same-sex couples in your home state are denied the equality given to other couples in marriage and many state leaders are poised to right that inequity very soon. $250,000 in contributions to those who would stand in the way is a punch in the gut to those of us who want to see all families treated fairly. What may have sounded like a "good business decision" in the board room turns out to be a horribly short-sighted business decision when millions of consumers lose respect for your companies.
With the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, the landscape for political contributions has changed in ways that no one fully appreciates yet. Your foray into this uncharted water has proved choppy and should serve as a warning to other corporations mindful of the perceptions of LGBT and allied consumers. It's time to make things right. The very least you can do to begin rebuilding your image among fair-minded consumers is to make equivalent donations to groups that support candidates who will put all Minnesota families first and fulfill the promises of our highest ideals.
We're watching and we're waiting.