Target's gay problem keeps getting worse [UPDATED]

Categories: GLBT

Even less LGBT-friendly than you thought
​Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wants us to believe that when his company threw money into Tom Emmer's campaign for governor last month, it wasn't because Emmer's a raging homophobe, but because he's a raging pro-business tax-cutter.

But Steinhafel's limp non-apology apology last week hasn't satisfied his critics, and now it's getting harder to take his "no homophobe" plea seriously.

For one thing, the apology came out the same day that the Huffington Post pointed out that Target employees had put quite a bit of money behind California's Proposition 8 measure. It's not really fair to hold a company responsible for the actions of individual employees, but the news served to muddle Steinhafel's message of (sort-of) contrition.

It's gotten worse from there. This weekend, The Awl noted that Target's work against gay equality goes well beyond the $150,000 it gave to the Pro-Emmer MN Forward fund. Steinhafel sent his daughter to Wheaton College, a Christian institution where being gay will get you expelled. The younger Steinhafel also studied at the Focus On the Family Institute, one of the leading proponents of therapy to cure gayness.

Meanwhile, one of the other executives with his hands on Target's political donation purse-strings has an even stronger homophobic pedigree: Matt Zabel, the company's VP of government affairs,  is a former staffer for Sen. John Thune, the  South Dakota senator who supported a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and sought to outlaw gay adoption.

There are rumors that Target is negotiating with gay-rights advocates to give an equivalent donation to pro-GLBT candidates or causes, but nothing has come of that yet. And when the Awl tried to ask Steinhafel  directly whether he personally supported the legalization of gay marriage, this response that came back: "Unfortunately, we are unable to address the points or the questions in your e-mail to Mr. Steinhafel."

Looks like the Target PR department has a ways to go before it's going to patch things up with gay-friendly customers.

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