Will Politics Repel Starbucks Junkies?

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has put itself in the center of a state debate in Washington over same-sex marriage legislation after the company took a definitive stance in favor of marriage equality.

Karen Holmes, the company’s executive vice-president, issued a statement saying, “This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company.”

But not everyone is in agreement with the Seattle-based coffee chain. A petition on DumpStarbucks.com reads, “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.” It so far has 25,000 signatures.

According to a Starbucks spokesman, the push back has not impacted the company’s bottom line, “Starbucks has many constituents and from time to time we will make decisions that are consistent with our values and heritage but may be inconsistent with the views of a particular group.”

Public sentiment has run the gamut from appreciation to pledges to boycotting the coffee giant. Many critics have expressed the opinion that the company should not push political agendas that are not related to its business. However, the company says that an issue that is of importance to its employees becomes a company issue.

According to a spokesman, “From our very earliest days, Starbucks has strived to create a company culture that put our people first, and treated everyone with equity. Our company has a lengthy history of leading on and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian White at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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