(CN) At the annual Starbucks shareholder’s meeting this past Wednesday in Seattle, company officials told those who support Biblical marriage that they “can sell [their] shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company.”
According to reports, during the meeting, the founder of Corporate Morality Action Center expressed concerns over the company’s support of homosexual marriage. Tom Stobhar from the organization cited that the company’s stance affected shareholder earnings after Starbucks backed efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage” in Washington state last year. The company’s announcement had resulted in boycotts against the coffee king.
“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” shareholder Tom Strobhar stated.
“Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year,” responded Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. “I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months.”
“Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people,” he continued. “We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity — of all kinds.”
The response drew both applause and cheers.
Schultz then concluded by saying, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
While some shareholders appear to be doing just that, a number of Starbucks customers have also refused to frequent the franchise as long as it remains opposed to Biblical marriage. One website, DumpStarbucks.com, launched a nationwide campaign to urge coffee lovers to go elsewhere for a cup of joe.
“We are urging customers across the globe to ‘Dump Starbucks’ because it has taken a corporate-wide position that the definition of marriage between one man and one woman should be eliminated and that same-sex marriage should become equally ‘normal,’” the effort’s website outlines. “As such, Starbucks has deeply offended at least half its US customers, and the vast majority of its international customers.”
As of press time, there were over 49,000 signatures on the campaign’s petition against the company.
“Starbucks is using its resources to invalidate traditional marriage in the US and redefine the institution of marriage despite the strongly held views of so many of its customers, including me,” the petition outlines. “Therefore, I will no longer purchase anything from Starbucks until you change your corporate values to be more reflective of my own.”
“Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples,” Starbucks outlined in a written statement last year when it announced its support for Washington’s push to legalize homosexual “marriage.” “We are deeply dedicated to embracing diversity and treating one another with respect and dignity, and remain committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and safe work environment for all of our partners.”
Starbucks was also among the over 300 U.S. corporations that signed onto a recent Supreme Court brief in an effort to overturn the nation’s Defense of Marriage Act.