(CNSNews.com) – For June “Pride Month,” dedicated to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, the Target Corp. announced it would sell “gay pride” t-shirts and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Family Equality Council (FEC), a group that, among other issues, supports same-sex marriage and works to remove restrictions against LGBT persons adopting children.
In June, Target Corp. agreed to sell t-shirts in its stores nationwide for $12.99 to help the Family Equality Council raise $120,000 towards the defeat of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment in the Great Lakes State this November, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
The t-shirts, 10 varieties, promoted pro-gay themes such as the rainbow coupled with the word “Pride” or “Harmony” and “Love is Love.” A typical ad for one of the t-shirts read: “PRIDE Mens Heather Grey Rainbow Colorblock Crew Graphic T-Shirt. Target will Donate 100% of PRIDE Merchandise Sales to Family Equality Council. Free shipping when you spend $50.”
Target’s communications director, Molly Snyder, told CNSNews.com: “Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business and has a long history of supporting the LGBT community through giving, volunteerism and event sponsorship and participation. Over the past year, we heard from our team members and guests that they’d like to see an assortment of Pride merchandise available at Target.”
“Target was pleased to be able to bring our guests products they want while, in turn, helping support the LGBT community through the donation of 100 percent of the purchase price to the Family Equality Council,” she said.
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council, said Target should refrain from engaging in the culture war by not supporting same-sex marriage.
“The fact that they are donating all of the proceeds of these sales to the Family Equality Council, which is an explicitly pro-homosexual political advocacy group, it indicates that they are taking sides in the culture war,” said Sprigg. “And that’s something we think corporations should not do.”
He added, “We’re not in the business of calling for or sponsoring boycotts of particular businesses, but we will call attention to the corporate practices of these companies so that our constituents know what’s happening there.”
In 2010, Target Corp. was criticized for making a $150,000 contribution to MN Forward, an economic conservative group that endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Following complaints reportedly from Target employees, Target Corp. CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued a letter apologizing for the political contribution and promised to be more mindful of LGBT concerns.
Steinhafel wrote, “We remain fully committed to fostering an environment that supports and respects the rights and beliefs of all individuals. The diversity of our team is an important aspect of our unique culture and our success as a company, and we did not mean to disappoint you, our team or our valued guests.”
The Family Equality Council was created in 1979 to advance gay rights and similar causes. It supports same-sex partnerships, adoption of children by homosexuals, and anti-bullying measures in schools, among other issues.
According to the Family Equality Council Web site, the group works at the federal, state, and local levels “to gain recognition of same-sex relationships and to fight off attempts to deny recognition to families who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” with bills like the Respect for Marriage Act.
Additionally, the organization promotes adoption by homosexuals, reads its Web site, by “defeating legislation, policies, and practices that restrict LGBT parenting; promoting and passing new laws that promote LGBT parenting such as second parent adoption; and promoting policies and practices that are inclusive of LGBT parents.”
Recently the organization supported the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 1681), a bill that was re-introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D- Calif.) in May. It would prohibit “discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.”
With respect to anti-bullying legislation, the Family Equality Council has promoted the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act. These efforts seek to implement school policies ensuring that “all children have the same opportunity to thrive – which requires that they feel safe, supported and valued in school and are able to attend without fear of bullying, violence, harassment, and discrimination because of who their parents are or how their families were created,” states the Family Equality Council Web site.
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