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Target changes stance on same-sex marriage

Just four years after supporting a same-sex union opponent, it looks like Target is now aiming to back up gay marriage.

The retailer has signed a court brief in support of marriage equality with regard to a case currently pending. It joins other companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Intel in declaring its support of gay marriage.

“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,” said the company’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Jodee Kozlak, on the company’s blog.

In the past, gay rights activists blasted the company and threatened to boycott it because it supported Republican Tom Emmer, a candidate in the 2010 Minnesota governor’s race who vocally opposed same-sex marriage. The company has reached out to the LGBT community by offering benefits to its employees’ same-sex partners.

Phil Duran, legal director of OutFront Minnesota, which worked to defeat the state’s referendum to ban gay marriage, called Target “a powerful voice.”

Autumn Leva, a Minnesota Family Council spokeswoman, said the move will backfire on the retail giant, because families commonly shop at the store. (Perhaps none that are led by same-sex parents?)

The case they filed a brief in combines legal actions in Wisconsin and Indiana, where gay marriage bans have been overturned. A hearing is set to take place in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Aug. 26.

According to Joe Loveland, who posted a lively blog post on the topic at Wry Wing Politics, it would be better if Target “never again put its valuable retail brand in the middle of divisive politics.”

“I don’t need Target to be a policymaker or kingmaker. Leave that to the voters,” he wrote. “I need Target to supply me with a steady stream of cheap, stylish crap that I don’t need. They’re better at that than they will ever will be at politics, so they should stick to their ‘core competency,’ as the C-Suiters say. That would be infinitely better for their brand, and our country.”

Will you still shop at Target — or does their announcement fail to sway you from the store?

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