Target: Starbucks and CEO Howard Schultz
Goal: To applaud Starbucks’ continued support for marriage equality.
During Starbucks’ recent annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, WA, CEO Howard Schultz made it clear that neither he nor the coffee giant is backing down in their support for marriage equality. The company publicly announced its stance on the civil rights issue in 2012 when it came forward in support of legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state. While this announcement drew criticism from conservative groups like the National Organization for Marriage who launched a boycott, Starbucks and Schultz have been steadfast in working towards marriage equality for all, regardless of the backlash.
In the meeting, shareholder Tom Strohbar commented that the company’s first-quarter performance was “disappointing,” blaming the boycott brought on by Starbucks’ refusal to back down on marriage equality. Schultz responded to Strohbar’s comment by referring to last year’s 38 percent return on investment and inviting Strohbar to sell his Starbucks shares. According to KPLU News, Schultz also established the fact that the company’s support of marriage equality is not about profits, but about respecting diversity. Shareholders backed this statement even further by voting to continue making political contributions promoting Starbucks’ policy agenda. Starbucks was also one of the 300 companies to sign a Supreme Court brief supporting the overturn of the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies same-sex marriage rights.
It is more than a “breath of fresh air” to hear the CEO of a company as large as Starbucks publicly choose people over profits; it is another important step towards establishing marriage equality in the U.S. Historically, the business world has played important roles within the struggle for civil rights, whether through boycotts or patronage of certain businesses or by publicly announcing the business’ stance on the issue. Sign the petition below to applaud Schultz and Starbucks for supporting marriage equality not only through words, but also through their actions.
Dear Mr. Schultz and Starbucks shareholders,
Thank you for your unwavering support of marriage equality. Within the struggle for civil rights, allies and supporters come in many shapes and sizes. There are the tireless campaign organizers and activists, the longstanding organizations and new grassroots groups, writers and (even sometimes) politicians, as well as the bravest individuals who come forward to voice their personal experiences of oppression. It is the variety of supporters that gives strength to the cause; everyone has something to contribute. Thank you for not only recognizing the importance of LGBT civil rights, but for coming forward as a company to voice your support for marriage equality.
Historically, the business world has played important roles within the struggle for civil rights, whether through boycotts or patronage of certain businesses or by publicly announcing the business’ stance on the issue. Starbucks has been the target of boycotts and has detractors within its shareholders who believe companies should prioritize the bottom line over everything and everyone else. Instead of succumbing to the pressures of bigoted consumers or greedy businesspeople, you have made it clear that supporting marriage equality is about respecting people. You have not only made public statements, but have taken action as well by signing the Supreme Court brief against DOMA and voting to continue making worthwhile political contributions.
Mr. Schultz, we hope you and your company will continue to support LGBT rights now and in the future. A worthy cause deserves help and support from anyone and everyone. Thank you again for joining in the fight towards marriage equality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: eleanor ryan via Flickr