August 5th, 2010
08:02 PM ET
13 years ago

Target 'sorry' after donating to group that backs anti same-sex marriage candidate

Washington (CNN) – Retail giant Target has said it is "sorry" after the company donated money to a group that backs a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage.

The candidate, Tom Emmer, hopes to win Minnesota's Republican gubernatorial primary.

On Thursday, Gregg Steinhafel – the company's chairman, CEO and president – issued an apology to Target managers and other employees. The letter addresses Target's $150,000 contribution to a group called MN Forward.

"I have heard from many of you, and our team members, over the past week regarding Target's contribution to MN Forward," Steinhafel wrote. "The intent of our political contribution to MN Forward was to support economic growth and job creation."

MN Forward – which says it's focused on job creation – has spent $200,000 on ads supporting Emmer, a candidate who is staunchly against same-sex marriage.

That has caused loud criticism of Target's contribution to MN Forward. Pro-gay rights advocates angrily claim that a company that prides itself on welcoming all people should not contribute to a group that endorses an anti same-sex marriage candidate.

Many gays and lesbians online have urged a boycott of Target. In his letter, the Target chief said that the decision to contribute to MN Forward "affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry."

The Target chief added: "We remain fully committed to fostering an environment that supports and respects the rights and beliefs of all individuals."

Emmer's campaign spokesman Brian Walsh told CNN the situation has been blown out of proportion.

"It's been turned into something else and that's unfortunate," Walsh said. "The number one issue facing the state of Minnesota is job creation."

Walsh defended MN Forward, telling CNN that creating jobs is the group's main focus and "that's what Target contributed to."

MN Forward did not respond to CNN calls for comment.

Mark Dayton, the Democrat favored to win his party's primary, is Emmer's potential opponent. Dayton's family built the Dayton's Department Stores into the Target Corporation. However, the candidate has never managed the company and does not currently own any Target stock.

Filed under: 2010 • Minnesota • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Too late... and saying your sorry does not take it back.

    August 5, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. JES

    I think you new what you were dong all along.

    Now that you are caught with your patns down just trying to win more business back.

    To late to say your sorry.

    August 5, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  3. billybob 'n NC

    Sorry? Then give an equal amount to the other candidates.

    August 5, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. Captain Nemo

    So, Mr. Steinhafel: are you going to give $150,000 to Mark Dayton's campaign to balance out your ignorant, naive idiocy, or is all we get hot air?

    Money talks, BS walks, and all you've given us is BS: make it right or shut up.

    August 5, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. Biased

    Funny how democrats and liberals fumed when republicans boycotted companies but now have no compunction when doing it themselves. I wonder if Target employees are under union control or just collateral damage as long as companies donate to causes liberals don't like? Will liberals be boycotting GM for donating money to the Congressional Black Caucus when they haven't paid back all the taxpayer money they borrowed or is that okay because they are part of the union in- crowd of the democratic party? Seems to me GM shouldn't be engaging in any political giving until they have repaid every American tax dollar they owe.

    August 5, 2010 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. pierce

    On the other hand, maybe Target will have better interior home design now because it has always been low-rent and shabby.

    August 5, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  7. William Jefferson

    Are they demanding the money back? Target got immediate heat from plenty of people who were outraged that the store they shop in because it is not walmart was the first to use the vile supreme court sham ruling by the roberts gang of 5 conservative activists to undermine our democracy.

    August 6, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  8. Bob

    Sorry is not enough. Now send $150,000. to HRC to help them educate the public and win the upcoming battle that will happen in the Supreme Court.

    August 6, 2010 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  9. clark1b

    sorry that you supported a candidate with a moral stand? what other immoral activities does Target support?

    August 6, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. Liberal4Obama

    They should know better than to openly promote discrimination, shame on them.

    August 6, 2010 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. Ron

    I still think they need to
    Do more than say "Sorry" Target show the community how sorry you really are!!!! They need to do more for me to spend my money with them

    August 6, 2010 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
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