TARGET SELLING PRO-GAY T-SHIRTS
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two years after angering gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office, Target Corp. is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is taking heat in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage.
“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.”
Target’s move comes two years after it endured a backlash from gay rights supporters for giving $150,000 to a campaign group backing the conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost to Democrat Mark Dayton in a race that went to an automatic recount. The donation set off protests and calls for a boycott from a constituency that had seen Target as an ally.
Supporters of gay marriage see Minnesota as having the potential to halt their long losing streak in statewide votes.
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The T-shirt promotion will 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 $12.99 shirts will be sold on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last. They 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.”
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