Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel recently had to apologize to his employees and customers for donating $150,000 of company money to MN Forward, a political group supporting Republican Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign. Part of the reason that the contribution was so controversial is that Emmer is extremely anti-LGBT rights, whereas Target has tried to present an LGBT-friendly image. Now, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which has led the successful court case overturning Prop. 8 in California, is urging Steinhafel to donate to the effort in order to show Target’s true commitment to LGBT rights. ThinkProgress obtained the letter from AFER President Chad Griffin to Steinhafel:
Tom Emmer, as you are aware, holds positions (like opposing the freedom to marry) which conflict with Target’s long-standing history of championing gay and lesbian equality. Unfortunately, this contribution has the potential to overshadow that legacy, and alienate substantial numbers of consumers nationwide. […]
I applaud your explicit reassurance that Target’s support of the LGBT community is unwavering, and that inclusiveness remains a core value of your company. I also appreciate your speedy apology for donating money to a group that supports an anti-equality candidate.
Direct and concrete support of our community is a clear way to underline that these words are not hollow, but deeply felt and sincere. A donation to our organization not only has the potential to help gays and lesbians in Minnesota, but across the country. Target’s support would come at a critical time for our case, as we prepare for the lengthy — and expensive — appeals process to the Circuit Court and eventually the Supreme Court.