By Esha Sharma
Starbucks has been ostracized by the anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for its support of same-sex couples. The company has steadfastly stood by the LGBT community, and continues to promote business practices to advance equality and end discrimination.
NOM attempted to boycott Starbucks, similar to the campaign against JC Penny for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson. NOM’s campaign, called “Dump Starbucks,” was launched on the same day that the New Hampshire House rejected a bill supported by the organization which would have repealed the state’s gay marriage law.
While NOM’s petition collected over 30,000 digital signatures, the movement was outmatched by the nearly 650,000 collected by the SumOfUs.org counter protest thanking Starbucks for its support. These signatures were delivered to the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, Washington on a giant card.
“We knew that people would stand with Starbucks for standing up for marriage equality, but this response is amazing,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage. “This kind of consumer support shows why so many Washington companies recognize that all loving, committed couples should have the freedom to marry.”
Since NOM’s campaign received lack luster support in the United States, the organization has now taken the issue global. NOM said it would begin running its online ad campaign urging coffee drinkers not to patronize Starbucks in the Middle East, Indonesia and China.
“Obviously these are countries that Starbucks is in, but they’re also countries that have very traditional views on marriage,” said Thomas Peters, who blogs for NOM. “So we think that people in these countries should be aware that Starbucks isn’t just coffee, it’s coffee with an agenda.”
The Starbucks Pride Alliance Network
Kalen Holmes, the executive vice president of partner resources at Starbucks, issued a statement earlier this year saying the company’s stance is aligned with their business practices, and upholds their belief in the equal treatment of their partners and employees.
“It is core to who we are and what we value as a company. We are proud of our Pride Alliance Partner Network group, which is one of the largest Employer Resource Groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees in the U.S., helping to raise awareness about issues in the communities where we live and work.”
The Starbucks Pride Alliance Network helps promote, inform and encourage LGBT activities. They work to cultivate an equitable, dynamic, and supportive environment for LGBT partners, allies and customers. A member of the group commented, “whether it’s gay or lesbian marriages, film festivals and even sports activities, we try to promote and encourage the community. For us, it’s a pride.”
Starbucks has received a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Michael Fernando, a regular Starbucks customer, said, “I have been going to Starbucks for almost 10 years and have witnessed how they value their staff and customers. I have seen many gay people working with them, and every time I go there, I am happy to see the smiles on their faces. Starbucks is doing a good job.”
How do you feel about Starbucks and their efforts to support the LGBT community?