Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is standing his ground when it comes to gay marriage. According to CNNMoney on Tuesday, Schultz told investors who complained about the company’s support as an erosion of its bottom line to sell their Starbucks shares and invest their money in other companies.
Starbucks, which has been a long time supporter of same-sex marriage, joined both Microsoft and Nike in support of Washington’s state bill to legalize same-sex marriage. This past November the bill was passed, but investors are worried about the company’s performance since the National Organization for Marriage launched a “Dump Starbucks” boycott because of the company’s support of same-sex marriage.
With over 56,000 people joining the boycott, shareholders are starting to feel the effect. According to investor-analyst Tom Stauber sales and earnings dropped after the boycott was announced.
“It’s my understanding, something like tens of thousands of people signed on this particular boycott. And then the [first quarter] after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earning…were[a] bit disappointing.”
But Schultz is “proud” of his companies support of gay marriage and replied that “not every decision is an economic decision.” He believes in standing up for what he believes in even if it means his company takes a economic hit. It is not just shareholders who are disappointed, a conservative women’s group published an article about the chain feeling that Starbucks is discriminating against straight people by supporting equal marriage.
Chelsen Vicari, media strategist for Concerned Women for American, called Schultz “extreme and intolerant”. In the article she writes:
“At Starbucks’ annual shareholders meeting, Schultz sent a clear message that he does not want the business of anyone who believes that marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, pointedly telling one such shareholder, ‘You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company.’ This outburst reportedly came right after Schultz stated he wanted to ’embrace diversity of all kinds.”
She goes on to say that he doesn’t want the business of pro-marriage supporters and heterosexuals. She feels Schultz is alienating the majority of people who buy Starbucks coffee by supporting the “2 percent of America’s 300 million citizens who live homosexual lifestyles”.
Despite opposition from citizens like Vicari, shareholders and the boycott launched by NOM, Schultz is not backing down because “embracing diversity” and fighting for equality means recognizing all difference no matter how small of a percentage of a population they represent.