Yesterday, Minneapolis-based retail giant Target planted its flag firmly on the side of marriage equality, signing on to a friend-of-the-court brief to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that strongly supports an end to marriage discrimination in Wisconsin and Indiana.
Jodee Kozlak, the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, announced the news on Target's blog:
You may have heard us talk about our long-standing commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Those aren't just words. They are how we conduct ourselves - as a business and as a team.
It is in that same spirit that, this week, Target joined several other national companies to sign on to an amicus brief in support of marriage equality. The brief is currently pending in the Seventh Circuit.
Kozlak makes clear that while Target absolutely believes marriage equality is good for business, the company's reasons for supporting the freedom to marry go far deeper than that:
It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage... We believe that everyone - all of our team members and our guests - deserve to be treated equally. And at Target we are proud to support the LGBT community.
Target's full-throated support for same-sex marriage is a welcome turnabout from just two years ago, when the company stayed conspicuously silent during efforts to add a marriage discrimination amendment to Minnesota's constitution.
National LGBT rights groups like the Human Rights Campaign warmly welcomed Target's support for the freedom to marry. Chad Griffin, the group's president, said in a statement:
"Today Target joins a growing chorus of Americans and businesses that know these bans on marriage equality serve no purpose other than to harm families. Discrimination should have no place in our society, much less our laws. We are grateful to Target for speaking out and standing up for the rights of not just its LGBT employees, but Americans from across the country who deserve to be treated with fairness and equality under the law."
I'm sure anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage
Discrimination will try to mount a boycott, and I'm equally sure that, like their boycotts of Starbucks and General Mills, it will fail miserably.
Well done, Target! Thanks for standing on the right side of history.