August 5th, 2010
08:02 PM ET
10 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. diridi

    if you have any brains, do not shop in not be lured by these cheap crook's tricks, and pranks. Target is also hiring bunch of illegals....Government needs to keep an eye on Target stores for not shop in Target....period. I do not even go. I had a rough experience. I bought the item, and with receipt, i wanted to return, these idiots gave me a hell of a time....since, i do not step in it...Do not buy any thing from Target.....go to Kmart...instead...

    August 5, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. George of the jungle

    Gee isnt this what the administration was talking about . Big business donations . Thye can change the course of history. Well this crap will only help the repos. So watch out.

    August 5, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Jen

    Target should not have to appologize for who they provide a contribution to. There is no "perfect" politician that will make everyone happy.

    August 5, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. bob

    If Target is sorry, I'm going to Walmart.. Gays are weird.

    August 5, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. Proud member of Global Zero

    I guess our calls, petitions, and cut up red cards in the mail helped. People control the power. Stand up and be counted...ALWAYS VOTE"

    August 5, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. Dana Matthews

    I was one of the one that wrote to them in protest and I'm glad to see they have been pressured enough to make a public statement, but a simply "Sorry" is not enough!!!

    Target is going to have to say more than "Sorry" to receive and more of my dollars!
    I urge everyone to boycott and make a stance until Target does better!

    August 5, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. larry

    the ceo of target is sorry he got caught

    August 5, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. FlexSF

    Target must equally match it's donations to a gay legal organization that can forcefully counter the flamboyant ignorance of this religious lunatic!

    August 5, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    Bull S-word, Mr. Steinhafel.
    I'm not gay, and I don't have to shop at Target anyway, but nevertheless I'll be sure that Target is always high on my Must-Boycott list.
    America needs to get rid of haters like you.
    And, YOU LIE: you say you gave that hate-group big money "to support economic growth and job creation?" HA!
    Mr. Steinhafel is a waste of human protoplasm.

    August 5, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. Sashland

    This should get interesting... who shops more at Target???

    August 5, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. Brandon

    Way to bend to the minorities, Target.

    I'll make sure that a lot of people no longer shop there.

    August 5, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Angi's Mom

    Hey Target, you could create a few jobs with $150,000.

    August 5, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. ZedLok

    Let this be a warning to our corporate overlords, that perhaps the citizenry is not as ignorant as they anticipate.

    August 5, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. they call me "tater salad"

    Well, like they say, "you get what you pay for".

    August 5, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    How about Target give an equal donation to HRC to show that they really are sorry and not just talk?

    August 5, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Scott

    Why be sorry? I won't shop at Target because they are sorry now. There is NO reason to be sorry about not supporting the Gay agenda or same sex marriage. It is wrong and no different than any other mental illness.

    August 5, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. ib

    Nice to know you are sorry Target. I will now not buy anything at your stores.

    August 5, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. Gnosis

    This should demonstrate beyond any doubt that homosexuals are not an oppressed minority.

    August 5, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. Bob

    So, what is wrong with that? Why on earth should they be sorry? I seriously wonder what is wrong with people and society nowdays.

    August 5, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. So What?

    Apologizing for donating to someone who supports traditional values? Not really sure what there is to apologize for.

    August 5, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. John

    Sorry, thats not good enough. If corporations want to play in politics they they better be able to stand the heat. At $150 per week for groceries, etc, I figure it will take me 17 years to wipe out the $150K contribution to divisiveness and hatred that Target gave MN Forward. But I will never shop there again.

    August 5, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. Joe L

    Done shopping at Target; mostly because they'd support a Republican!

    August 5, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. indyreader

    Sorry enough to withdraw the contribution, or to make an equal one to the competitor?

    August 5, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. Hillary

    Why are they apologizing? They did nothing wrong.

    Marriage is and always will be between one man and one woman, no matter how liberals try to rationalize or justify any thing else.

    August 5, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    target the upscale walmart!!

    August 5, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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