Starbucks CEO Defends Marriage Equality Decision

Basically, he told shareholders who were afraid that they were losing money to go buy shares at another company
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Starbucks may not be our first stop for quality black coffee, but we must admit, the CEO has some guts.

Last year, Starbucks came out in favor of gay marriage as Washington state passed their marriage equality bill. And despite the ensuing boycott, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defended the company's decision at the company's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

NPR reports that shareholder Tom Strobhar brought up the boycott, saying it had taken away some revenue from the company. "In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing," he said.

Instead of apologizing or deferring, however, Schultz defended their decision by saying it was about respecting diversity, noting that the company still had a healthy return last year. "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country," Schultz responded. "You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

And while the National Organization for Marriage may have put a dip in revenue due to the boycott, gay marriage supporters also banded together, pulling together more than 500,000 signatures thanking Starbucks for the support.

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