Starbucks' support of same-sex marriage in Washington state was praised by a number of prominent rights activists. But the Seattle-based coffee chain's outspoken opponents seem determined to have the last word.
The Colorado Independent reports that officials from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have vowed to make Starbucks (along with other companies that support same-sex marriage) pay a “price” in Middle Eastern countries that are hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The statements were made during a Nov. 8 conference call, scheduled as a discussion of the 2012 elections which saw sweeping marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, as well as Starbucks' home state of Washington.
“So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this," Brian Brown says in audio recording of the conference call, which can heard on the Independent's website. "These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”
The audio of the call does not continue on the site, but Brown is also quoted as saying:
"It takes money to go up against someone like Starbucks. I mean, we’ve got 50,000 people who’ve said, ‘We’re no longer going to purchase Starbucks products,’ but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Has it had some effect? I think so, but it’s nowhere near enough. An example has to be made of some of these companies if we’re going to get this sort of tidal wave of support for same-sex marriage to stop.” It isn't the first time NOM and other LGBT rights opponents have come up against the coffee chain. Shortly after Starbucks first declared its support for same-sex marriage during Washington state's marriage equality push in January, Brown announced what he called the "Dump Starbucks" campaign.
"We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens," Brown was quoted by The Miami Herald as saying at the time. "The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society."