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posted Friday, September 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 38
HRC counters Target anti-Gay donation
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HRC counters Target anti-Gay donation

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

After failing to secure an equal donation for pro-Gay candidates from Target, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) officials announced they would donate $100,000 to Win Minnesota, a political action committee that helps fund TV advertisements against Republican Tom Emmer.

HRC President Joe Solmonese said that the donation is partly a response to Target's donation to MN Forward, a group helping Emmer in the Minnesota Governor's race. Emmer opposes Gay marriage, and the Target contribution set off a national backlash across the country.

In addition to the $100,000 donation, Solmonese says HRC has pledged another $20,000 to LGBT group OutFront Minnesota, and $30,000 to individual pro-Gay candidates.

"With all of our success in corporate America, we found ourselves at a crossroads recently during HRC's dispute with Target and Best Buy," said Solmonese in prepared remarks. "It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't on our list of things to do, but it was the right thing to do."

He added, "The eyes of all fair-minded Americans, and specifically those in the LGBT community, will be on Minnesota on election day."

"We've understood long before the Target situation that Minnesota was poised, as is New York, to be the next state to win marriage equality," said Solmonese. "The scope of our work here is certainly going to move beyond the $150,000."

Solmonese said he would officially announce the donation on September 18 at the group's annual Twin Cities dinner in Minneapolis.

Last month, Target apologized for the donation, but rejected a request by HRC to give an equal amount of money to a pro-Gay candidate. In response, HRC has said it would drop Target and electronics retailer Best Buy, which also contributed MN Forward campaign, from its annual Buying for Equality Guide.

"Given the current political and emotionally charged environment, we have concluded that it is best to wait before taking further external action regarding our MN Forward contribution," Target said in a statement regarding their decision to turn down HRC's offer. "We believe that it is impossible to avoid turning any further actions into a political issue and will use the benefit of time to make thoughtful, careful decisions on how best to move forward."

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