Target Corporation made a bold on Tuesday. The company has become one of a growing number of high-profile businesses to take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly taking a stand against state marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. Target joins companies such as Starbucks, Apple and Intel as big name corporations that have sided with same-sex marriage advocates in court cases or ballot initiatives.
The company revealed that it signed a court brief backing marriage equality in a pending court case to be heard on Aug. 26. The move backing gay marriage has put Target back in the good graces of same-sex marriage advocates as well as the LGBT community since the company was one of the few who didn’t sign a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn ta federal gay marriage ban in a case heard in 2014.
Gay rights activists also boycotted the company for donating money in support of Republican Tom Emmer in the 2010 governor’s race. Emmer was very vocal in his opposition of gay marriage. The hot and cold relationship with the LGBT community didn’t end there. In 2014, Target scored a perfect 100 in the Human Rights Campaign 2014 Corporate Equality Index and has long offered benefits to same-sex partners of employees. Their endorsement of same-sex marriage rights in the upcoming hearing in the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals further demonstrates the retailer’s commitment to equality.
In a posting on the company’s blog, Target’s human resource chief, Jodee Kozlak, said, “It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage.” The company also stated they signed a brief scheduled to be filed Tuesday afternoon.
Kozlak continued, “Current laws – in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this brief – make it difficult to attract and retain talent. These disparate laws also create confusing and complicated benefits challenges across multiple states.”
The Human Rights Campaign applauded the move. President Chad Griffin said, “Today Target joins a growing chorus of Americans and businesses that know these bans on marriage equality serve no purpose other than to harm families. Discrimination should have no place in our society, much less our laws.” It is a risky business move by Target, but one that is making a much more important statement in favor of the rights of all people.