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Best Buy and Target Risk Losing Their Share of the $759 Billion LGBT Wallet

Political Contributions Cause Big Losses In LGBT Community for Target & Best Buy


Target has been the main target of the consumer protests that refuse to die, but Best Buy is equally as culpable in its support of a Minnesota political candidate who openly opposes gay rights. While the support of the candidate is offensive to the LGBT community, the betrayal is worse. At the political point of purchase, both Best Buy and Target proved that gaining a political advantage was more important than losing LGBT customers.

In other words, it seems apparent that to Target and Best Buy, money is more important than relationships. And worse than that, money is more important than trust.

The reason the LGBT community feels so betrayed is because Target and Best Buy are both well-known for their gay-friendly workplace policies. Both companies received perfect Corporate Equality Index Ratings from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) organization in 2010. This means that in every way that the HRC measures, Best Buy and Target are gay-friendly with their employees. With their perfect scores, Best Buy and Target both earned a spot on the HRC's 2010 "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" list.

There are specific sexual orientation non-discrimination policies in the Best Buy employee handbook. The benefits provided to same sex partners are almost identical to the benefits provided to opposite sex spouses of Best Buy employees. There are LGBT employee resource groups accessible to Best Buy lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. There are even written policies and procedures addressing employees making sexual transitions while working at Best Buy.

With all of that positive and tangible support provided to LGBT Best Buy employees, can't one little $100,000 anti-gay political contribution just be overlooked? It seems apparent that Best Buy's LGBT support outweighs its support of LGBT opposition. So, can't the boycotters just get over it and be happy with the positive support that they are getting from Best Buy?

It seems that they could. But here's why they can't.

What if the political candidate with the corporate philosophies that Best Buy and Target liked had been, by the way, an openly active member of the Ku Klux Klan? Would Best Buy and Target have put their money behind that candidate? And while that might seem to be a preposterous comparison, to the LGBT community it is just about the same. Prejudice is prejudice. Oppression is oppression. Human rights are human rights.

Best Buy has published a "Code of Business Ethics" document which talks at length about the principles and philosophies that (supposedly) guide the decisions of its leaders and employees. On page two of that document, it says this:

  • "ETHICS AND ACTION - Ethics is about putting principles into action. Consistency between what we say we value and what our actions say we value is a matter of integrity."

You're right, Best Buy. The difference between saying that you support LGBT rights and taking an action to support a man who would be in a position to squash LGBT rights is a matter of integrity. And that is what consumers are upset about.

Page two of the Best Buy Code of Ethics document goes on to say... >> more >>

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