Last week, Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz defended the company’s decision to support same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT individuals after a shareholder questioned the profitability of the stance. Schultz responded, "Not every decision is an economic decision. 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 of Starbucks and buy shares in another company."
I personally applaud Schultz for his composure and for his tongue-in-cheek response. Of course, this was not the end of the story. Concerned Women for America’s media strategist Chelsen Vicari recently wrote a scathing article condemning Starbucks for its stance on marriage equality.
Vicari began her article in a traditional way — condemning Starbucks for supporting a liberal political agenda that disregards traditional family values, a rather typical right-wing argument. In response, I have only one thing to say; homes can be broken regardless of the gender of both parents, and homes can be loving regardless of the gender of both parents.
Vicari’s article was riddled with backwards logic and extreme oversights. For example, Vicari noted that Schultz was becoming "extreme and intolerant." Intolerance? Of what or whom? Vicari clarifies the matter (relatively speaking, of course) in the next paragraph, stating that Starbucks’ support for gay marriage "is prejudicial and bigoted" because the company is in essence refusing the business of straight marriage supporters. I must have missed something. Schultz said absolutely nothing about whom he would and would not serve in his stores. Non sequitur much?
Vicari goes on to say that there are twice as many conservatives as liberals in the U.S., and that only 2% of Americans "live homosexual lifestyles." First of all, citations? I don’t believe either statistic. If there are twice as many conservatives as liberals, then how is it that liberal politicians ever get elected to the presidency? Second, a quick Google search indicated that studies vary on the number of individuals who identify as homosexual. Results range from 2%-10%. Lastly, the phrase "homosexual lifestyle" implies that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle rather than a genetically predetermined orientation. So homosexuals choose to be gay despite rejection and discrimination? I don’t think so.
Vicari concludes, "I do not hold an MBA, but I do remember that 4th grade arithmetic teaches us that the profits made from 2 percent are less than the profits from 98 percent." Again, in addition to using un-cited statistics, Vicari takes the convenient assumption that all straight people will refuse to dine/drink at Starbucks.
That is certainly not the case. I was there this morning.
Enjoy your Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, Ms. Vicari.