In similar vein to Chick-Fil-A’s chief operating officer, Dan Cathay, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, has taken a stand for a cause that he believes in: gay marriage. While Cathay staunchly opposed gay marriage, Schultz fully supports it. In a brave, yet risky, move:
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz continued to defend his company’s support for marriage equality at a shareholders meeting Wednesday, pointing out that “not every decision is an economic decision.” Shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the company’s stock dipped a bit when the National Organization for Marriage launched a “Dump Starbucks” boycott last year, but Schultz expressed no concern about the company’s viability moving forward:
STROBHAR: In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing.
SCHULTZ:If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.
Listen to their remarks here.
Even when the NOM’s boycott was making a small dent in the company’s sales, it was still performing better than the rest of the markets. The boycott campaign plateaued after just two months, having been overwhelmed by marriage equality advocates who thanked Starbucks in droves.
Last year, Starbucks encouraged Washington voters to approve the marriage equality referendum and recently joined nearly 300 other companies in filing a brief calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
From my perspective, everyone is entitled to voice their own opinion about politics and civil rights, but only if they are willing to accept the consequences. While I agree with Schultz’s stance on gay marriage, I understand that there are many people out there who do not, and as was the case with Dan Cathay and Chick-Fil-A, there will be repercussions. Here’s hoping that increased support from gay marriage advocates and those that respect a principled position will keep Starbucks in the black.
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