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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 6, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 14
Starbucks gets a double shot of gratitude
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Starbucks gets a double shot of gratitude

Company receives 630,000 cards thanking them for marriage equality support

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

SumOfUs, a movement of consumers, workers, and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations, joined members of local government, Washington United for Marriage (WUM), and Equal Rights Washington officials and volunteers to deliver more than 630,000 thank-you cards to Starbucks for their support of marriage equality.

On April 4, a group of supporters gathered at the coffee giant's headquarters in SoDo to deliver the cards after the anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage (NOM) called for a boycott of the company.

SumOfUs officials asked supporters to sign the electronic thank-you cards on their website, www.sumofus.org, in a response to the 22,000-signature petition NOM has worked on since February. Over half a million people signed the SumOfUs cards - nearly 20 times the number of signers NOM has.

'Starbucks stuck its neck out to publicly support the right of all people to marry,' said SumOfUs officials, 'regardless of the gender of their partner.'

'We've been stunned by the passionate response to 'Thank Starbucks' - our most viral campaign ever,' Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director for SumOfUs.org, said. 'We've seen in our campaigns that consumers expect corporations to do right by their workers and by their community. We hope that this overwhelming show of support for Starbucks for supporting Gay rights will inspire other corporations to keep making similar public statements.'

WUM, the campaign for marriage equality in Washington, asked their supporters to sign the thank-you cards as well.

'The anti-equality group National Organization for Marriage is calling on their supporters to 'Dump Starbucks' for 'attempting to force its misguided values on citizens,' said WUM officials. 'Starbucks is a leader on marriage equality - and we need to show Starbucks executives that we support their decision to stand on the right side of one of the biggest issues of our generation: protecting marriage rights for all individuals.'

'We knew that people would stand with Starbucks for standing up for marriage equality, but this response is amazing. This kind of consumer support shows why so many Washington companies recognize that all loving, committed couples should have the freedom to marry,' said Zach Silk, campaign manager for WUM.

King County Council Member Joe McDermott spoke at the rally. He remarked, 'We're here to join SumOfUs in thanking Starbucks for their support of marriage equality on behalf of Washington United for Marriage. I am truly overwhelmed by the support generated and happy and happy to present this publicly to Starbucks and thank them for their unequivocal support for marriage equality and for the LGBT community.'

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz said supporting marriage equality 'was not a difficult decision, and business has not been hurt by it.'

The cards, delivered Wednesday morning, read, 'Dear Mr. Schultz, I wanted to take a moment to thank you and the Starbucks Board of Directors for taking a stand in support of marriage equality in Washington state. I applaud Starbucks for stepping up as one of the first corporate backers of Washington's historic marriage equality law, and I support your company for defending equality.'

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