NOM Launches Starbucks Boycott Over Same-Sex Marriage Stance

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  • Marriage
    (Photo: National Organization for Marriage)
    National Organization for Marriage members at a rally in New York.
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
March 23, 2012|5:15 pm

The National Organization for Marriage has announced that it is launching a boycott of Starbucks, the international coffee chain, along with its affiliates.

NOM decided to organize a boycott, dubbed the "Dump Starbucks" campaign, because the company's corporate leadership actively supported efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.

Jonathan Baker, director of NOM's Corporate Fairness Project, told The Christian Post that Starbucks' support for same-sex marriage goes beyond a mere statement from an executive.

"The support is not just the personal endorsement of a senior executive, but is the official corporate position of the company," said Baker.

"Obviously this position does not reflect the views of all customers and employees and the NOM protest and dumpstarbucks.com is designed to enable these customers and employees to have a voice."

Unlike other socially conservative organizations, the boycott is "new territory" for NOM, having never organized such an endeavor before, said Baker.

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"We know what American voters believe about marriage, and we also believe that as an international company that Starbucks is going against the beliefs of the vast majority of their customers in the Middle East and in places like China and India where they are gearing up for dramatic growth," said Baker.

"We have every expectation that tens of thousands of Starbucks consumers will support our effort as we tell Starbucks that true diversity is respecting the views of all customers."

As the legal and legislative battles over marriage definition erupted regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and bills like the one brought before Washington State, Starbucks stood firmly in support of same-sex marriage.

"Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples," said Kalen Holmes, executive vice president for Partner Resources at Starbucks, in a statement.

"We are deeply dedicated to embracing diversity and treating one another with respect and dignity, and remain committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and safe work environment for all of our partners."

In the past, boycotts have been used by both sides of the marriage definition debate against businesses that have lent some form of support to one side or the other.

Back in 2008, the American Family Association announced its intention to boycott McDonald's due to the company deciding to make an agreement with a gay rights group. Over the past few years, same-sex marriage organizations have attempted to have colleges discontinue their business agreements with Chick-Fil-A because of the fast food company's association with socially conservative groups. Last year, gay rights groups launched an effort to boycott Target due to their affiliation with a conservative organization.

Regarding any comparison between the efforts, Liz Owen, director of communications for Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, told CP that her organization prefers "Buycotts" to boycotts.

"PFLAG National supports buycotts not boycotts: we encourage all people who do not demean and devalue the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to support companies who support our loved ones," said Owen.

Baker of NOM felt that the efforts of socially conservative groups to boycott businesses like Starbucks were different because of the context of the corporation's support for one side or the other.

"Neither Target nor Chick-fil-A have taken a corporate stance in the marriage debate," said Baker.

"Both companies have a strong history of serving all customers respectfully, neither company has taken a corporate position on marriage, and we feel that both of these boycotts, which have been ineffective, are disingenuous."

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