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Target Sues to Keep Activist Group from Canvassing for Marriage Equality Outside its Stores

I mentioned this recently in one of my news round-ups, but today a case is set to begin in San Diego in which Target Corporation will face off against activists who want to petition for marriage equality outside its stores.

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reports: Cfac_target

On Friday morning, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey B. Barton will listen to arguments from both sides after Minnesota-based Target Corp. sued the San Diego-based Canvass For A Cause (CFAC) to prevent the grass-roots activist group from gathering petition signatures in front of its stores in California.

The fundamental American right to free speech is at the heart of this case, said Tres Watson, executive director of CFAC who is a San Diego resident.

In an earlier court date on March 8, Judge Barton denied a motion by Target’s attorneys seeking a temporary restraining order against CFAC. Barton ruled that the right of free speech trumps over the business interest of Target in refusing the request.

Court documents suggest Target is worried that the volunteers are making it look like the corporation supports equality for gays and lesbians.

CFAC volunteers also note that other groups are also talking to customers outside Target, including veterans organizations and Girl Scouts. Watson wonders whether Target wants to pick and choose which groups it allows outside its stores, and questions whether the corporation is showing bias against gay rights groups.

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  1. And the boycott continues...

    Posted by: ohplease | Mar 25, 2011 10:29:13 AM

  2. "Court documents suggest Target is worried that the volunteers are making it look like the corporation supports equality for gays and lesbians."

    Why are you making up bullshit like that?

    People who use their heads and can read know that Target SUPPORTS equality for gays and lesbians:

    Posted by: WTF? | Mar 25, 2011 10:36:11 AM

  3. A major company does humongous damage to gay families and their rights by donating to anti-gay politicians over the years, and then the company is shocked that people are complaining?! I guess it's clear that money is king here, even if it means squashing the gays. Another reason not to shop at Target, whose targets are apparently still set on gays.

    Posted by: X | Mar 25, 2011 10:46:04 AM

  4. During the challenge to gay marriage in Massachusetts, Target stores were the #1 most common place that signature gatherers posted people to get signatures to BAN gay marriage, and there wasn't a peep from the company then--in fact they tried to look the other way and said they couldn't do anything because it was "private property."

    This is a very curious/interesting double standard. Taken with other developments from Target of late it seems that there is some significant anti-gay bias in that company.

    Posted by: Jason | Mar 25, 2011 10:57:53 AM

  5. It is very interesting to see how a major american retail giant like Target can go from being the preferred darling of the progressive liberal community in the USA to a pariah in a matter of months.

    Target has indicated it will open its first store in Canada in 2013. In Canada there is a federal law that bans contributions from corporations, unions and organizations to parties and the situation is somewhat different.

    But this "retail" story has legs and we are listening. As they say...."histoire à suivre".

    Posted by: excy | Mar 25, 2011 11:11:17 AM

  6. Target didn't seem to mind the aniti prop 8 organizations gathering signatures to get prop 8 on the ballot.

    Posted by: mark | Mar 25, 2011 11:18:22 AM

  7. @WTF?
    You obviously: 1) haven't been paying attention; 2) are stupid; 3) only believe Target's well edited side of the story; 4) have very low standards for what you consider "support"; and/or 5) are a Target executive or a Target PR flack.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 25, 2011 11:22:57 AM

  8. Wonder what San Francisco has to say about this since a Target is supposed to be moving in sometime soon to a major location downtown. . .

    Posted by: Austin | Mar 25, 2011 11:41:16 AM

  9. @Austin. I hope that San Francisco says very little. Target is needed to fill the white elephant Metreon building downtown and to add millions in tax revenue to the City's coffers. While I don't approve of this alleged behavior by Target, it would be short-sighted to delay or halt the new
    Target store opening. Right now, San Francisco needs jobs and money.

    Posted by: Gr8guyca | Mar 25, 2011 12:07:43 PM

  10. So, if you are an LGBT citizen/supporter----what are you still doing shopping at this store? I can understand if you work there or live in a rural area where this is one of the few options. But there is absolutely no legit excuse for these actions from Target outside of their exposing themselves as a company with an anti-gay bias.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 25, 2011 12:13:00 PM

  11. When I lived in San Diego, the pro-marijuana referendum petition-collectors flanked all exits of the Point Loma Target location for months. I don't recall Target being concerned about their image as a pro-weed corporation.

    Posted by: Shawnathon | Mar 25, 2011 12:16:56 PM

  12. Then again, that store was ALWAYS out of Funyuns, so it was in the best-interest of their bottom line to attract the stoners.

    Posted by: Shawnathon | Mar 25, 2011 12:18:34 PM

  13. And yet - if it were NOM promoting themselves outside Target and they did nothing about it calling it free speech the community would be RAGING against Target.
    We really need to be careful about the battles we fight and beware of being hypocrites.

    Posted by: cameron | Mar 25, 2011 12:32:05 PM

  14. Wasn't it Target that got all that crap because they banned the anti-gay Salvation Army bellringers?

    I hate it when ANYBODY hassles me in store parking lots.

    Posted by: Brad | Mar 25, 2011 12:42:26 PM

  15. If you insist on shopping at Target sign up for their 5% off debit card program, at least help Target lose some money.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Mar 25, 2011 12:47:59 PM

  16. There's no way in hell any standard Target employee would make enough money to live in San Francisco. Any money collected by the city from a Target franchise would be limited to corporate and payroll taxes. Three guesses as to what their corporate tax rate will be.

    @Shawnathon: Funyuns... lol...

    Posted by: The Milkman | Mar 25, 2011 1:02:52 PM

  17. @The Milkman, I think what Gr8guyca was saying was the increase in sales tax revenue, but definitely correct me if I'm wrong.

    Gr8guyca, I agree with you, and though I don't shop at Target (never have, especially since I live footsteps away from Costco), I don't think it's a bad thing for SF to finally get a major, major anchor store right downtown. Maybe Lady Gaga can talk some sense into them. =)

    Posted by: Austin | Mar 25, 2011 1:10:24 PM

  18. Target should be the corporate sponsor for the Republican party - they say one thing - do exactly the opposite - and welcome gay dollars -- while opposing fundamental gay rights.

    I stopped shopping there in July - have enjoyed their profits being at the low end - or below expectations since then - and celebrated the fact that while still posing as a friend to the gay community they got immediate permission to build the first Hollywood Target - since their blatant homophobia has been revealed - an environmental impact statement has been demanded for the second proposed Target - delaying any opening by at least a year.

    We now know Target has never really been a friend to the gay community.

    Posted by: ricky | Mar 25, 2011 1:41:21 PM

  19. Exactly, Ricky. All the apologists here are too lily-livered to take a stand. It's good that Target gets exposed for being the hypocrites that they are!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Mar 25, 2011 1:51:59 PM

  20. I go to Target and other stores to shop, not to sign petitions and/or have a political discussion every time I approach the door. As long as Target applies this evenly I say good for them. Those of you who are focusing on the cause of the organization are completely missing the point.

    Posted by: Bill_HB | Mar 25, 2011 2:05:55 PM

  21. Target is right.

    Gays really can be as ignorant as straights.

    Posted by: Geez | Mar 25, 2011 2:11:56 PM

  22. Target CONTINUES to fund the removal of GLBT people's human and civil rights.

    I can't believe how stupid Target is being.
    Whether they win or lose this case, their reputation is further damaged.

    By the way why aren't they suing the Girl Scouts? That group canvasses outside its stores also.

    I guess it's just the gays they have a problem with.

    Posted by: SteveC | Mar 25, 2011 2:28:21 PM

  23. For those who wish to fall to their knees before their corporate Master Target - by all means - go ahead - though, really, is it even a fall for you now or do you just remain down there abandoning the pretense that you even know what it is to stand for anything anymore?

    Target lies - period - their argument that these petitioners are harassing shoppers -- IS A LIE - THERE IS NOTHING TO BE GAINED FOR ANY CAUSE BY HARASSING SHOPPERS - TARGET LIES - THIS IS A LIE - Target as a corporation is a liar - this is not news -- this is fact.

    Target allows for other petitioners on their property - but more importantly - for those so willing to crawl before their corporate Master - THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE OF FREE SPEECH - if you are too stupid to understand that - you need to get the Hell out of America - and take your emporium of cheap goods made in China with you.

    Posted by: ricky | Mar 25, 2011 2:30:16 PM

  24. I work for Target and as far as I know our policy is that we don't allow solicitors of any kind. We don't even allow the Girl Scouts. I don't know what is happening at this particular store but no one should be outside soliciting customers. That said I do disagree with Target's contributions. Damn economy and needing to keep a job.

    Posted by: Erik | Mar 25, 2011 2:31:53 PM

  25. Target are ONLY suing a gay group. Plenty of groups solicit outside their stores.

    If Target are only suing a gay group, then clearly they have a problem with gay people.

    The boycott of Target is therefore worthwhile.

    Posted by: SteveC | Mar 25, 2011 6:07:22 PM

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