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.


  1. X says

    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.

  2. Jason says

    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.

  3. excy says

    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 candidates….so the situation is somewhat different.

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

  4. TampaZeke says

    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.

  5. Gr8guyca says

    @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.

  6. Francis says

    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.

  7. Shawnathon says

    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.

  8. cameron says

    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.

  9. Brad says

    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.

  10. says

    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…

  11. says

    @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. =)

  12. ricky says

    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.

  13. CKNJ says

    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!

  14. Bill_HB says

    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.

  15. SteveC says

    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.

  16. ricky says

    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.

  17. Erik says

    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.

  18. SteveC says

    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.

  19. tom says

    It’s amazing to see so many believe Target’s PR spin. They are a miserable, greed-driven corporation that sells lots of crap produced by underpaid workers in third world countries, not unlike Walmart. And just like Walmart, they mistreat and underpay their own workers.

  20. Jeffrey Dunivant says

    Target shouldn’t have given money to his losing campaign; that is what you get for getting into bed with the enemy…Big mistake; BIG!

  21. jonnyLIT says

    Gotta say I love the idea of being able to walk into a store without running the gauntlet, explaining over and over again – “I’ve signed the petition already and no, I have absolutely no money to give you, and I’m certainly not handing over bank info to a kid in a parking lot…” I don’t agree with Target’s stance, and have donated both time and money to support equal marriage rights in both Ca and Wa state, but I HATE being solicited. Especially by causes I support.

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