SEATTLE (BP) -- One of the nation's leading traditional groups is calling for a boycott of Starbucks because of the company's support of a gay "marriage" bill and its legal opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.
The "Dump Starbucks" protest by the National Organization for Marriage was announced Wednesday (March 21), the same day the organization launched a DumpStarbucks.com website where supporters could sign a petition to Starbucks, tell their friends via social media about the boycott, and even enter their zip code to learn of alternatives to Starbucks.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said in an email to supporters that NOM "does not take this step lightly." NOM representatives, including Maggie Gallagher, attended the Starbucks shareholders meeting Wednesday to challenge the company's position, but nothing was done, Brown said.
NOM was a leading group in reversing gay "marriage" laws in California and Maine.
"A portion of every cup of coffee purchased at a Starbucks anywhere in the world goes to fund this corporate assault on marriage," Brown wrote. "Voters in thirty US states have voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. No state vote has ever supported gay marriage. In many areas of the world where Starbucks does business, the concept of 'gay marriage' is unheard of and deeply offensive to cultural, moral and religious values."
The boycott is also aimed at Seattle's Best Coffee and Evolution Fresh Juices, which are owned by Starbucks.
In a Jan. 24 memorandum to "U.S. partners," Starbucks Executive Vice President Kalen Holmes said the company was "proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples." The bill passed and was signed into law but is being challenged by churches via a voter initiative, and could be overturned in November.
"This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners," Holmes wrote. "It is core to who we are and what we value as a company."
Last fall, Starbucks signed
onto a legal brief urging the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a ruling that reversed part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. If the decision is upheld, the federal government would be forced to recognize gay "marriages" from any state where it's legal.
Additionally, Starbucks scored
a perfect "gay friendly" score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index last year. The HRC score was not mentioned in Brown's email.
"We are urging consumers across the globe to 'Dump Starbucks' because the massive international corporation has taken a corporate-wide position that marriage between one man and one woman should be eliminated and that same-sex marriage should become the norm," Brown wrote. "As such, Starbucks has declared it will use its influence and resources in a culture war against at least half its US customers, and against the vast majority of its international consumers who do not share Starbucks' position."
The company, Brown said, has "intentionally inserted itself into the debate."
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).