Target will stay out of Minnesota's gay marriage debate

Thu. June 9, 2011 5:56 AM by News Staff

"We do not take a role in social issues," says Target CEO

Minneapolis, MN - Target Corp. said it will stay out of the political debate over Minnesota's controversial marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

"We are going to be neutral on that particular issue as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said Wednesday in response to a question at an annual shareholders' meeting in Pittsburgh.

"We're a retail store, we welcome everybody," Steinhafel added. "We have a broad team-member base, every shape and size and color. And so we are a very inclusive organization...We're going to continue to monitor, we're going to continue to assess, and see how that develops."

Concerns about Target's political donations dominated the meeting's question and answer session, which forced Steinhafel to ask, "Does anybody have a question relating to our business that's unrelated to political giving? I'd love to hear any question related to something else."

The questions about the company's $150,000 donation last summer to MN Forward, a conservative group that supported an anti-gay candidate for governor, continued.

"We learned a lot about this (from the controversy), no doubt about it," Steinhafel conceded to the group.

Steinhafel was directly asked if Target would support the proposed amendment to Minnesota's constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

"We do not take a role in social issues," he answered.

Target has a history of supporting gay and lesbian causes, which includes offering domestic partner benefits to its employees.