Starbucks says ‘I do’ to same-sex marriage, sees social media backlash

A grande soy latte with a shot of social change? On January 19, Starbucks put their support behind a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State. The Seattle-based coffee shop giant joins a list of supporters along with Nike, Microsoft, and Vulcan. A statement issued on January 24 said, “Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

Corporate and celebrity endorsements do wonders for a cause, and unlike an individual,  Starbucks’ cultural status allows it to influence millions to billions everyday.

Its social marketing strategy, smart phone app, and overall predictable products have made the once-small business an integral part of American consumerism. It has also branded itself as a prolific inspirer with the introduction of “The Way I See It” quotations.

But, some see this endorsement as another marketing tactic.

“…It seems, the time has come when brand managers have to check their SWOT analyses for the ‘gay marriage’ entry,” writes Abe Sauer for the Brand Channel.

To others however, a bandwagon move in the right direction is anything but disingenuous.  The social media world  buzzed mostly support for the company’s stance.

Anti-gay groups and advocates urge their supporters to write to Starbucks in opposition or boycott the company all together.  The Family Research Council called the endorsement an attack on families.

Meanwhile reader comments include pledges of rejection:

“I, my family , friends, co-workers and community will never ever give Star Bucks one cent or ever even go into one of your shops. No matter what state it is in. Shame on them for lowering their standards to pander to some politicaly correct notion,” wrote a reader in response to an article for the Huffington Post.

As for the remaining Starbucks community, social change may justify the expensive caffeine fix.

“I’m suddenly WAY more okay with spending $6 for a cup of coffee,” said Sam Sumpter for Study Breaks Blog.

On February 1, the Washington Senate passed the bill 28 to 21.  It is now headed for expected approval in the House and then to Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, who has pledged to sign it.  However, the bill faces a referendum in the fall that threatens to overturn a victory.

How do you feel about mega-corporations putting their weight behind political issues? Let us know in the comments!

Eve Johnson My name is Eve and I am a lover of writing, reading, philosophy, music, and all other forms of artistic and intellectual expression. I spend my days either at school, at my Queens Public Television internship, or simply on the computer web surfing or carrying out my inspiration to write a short story or poem. For fun aside from writing and reading, I practically live at Barnes and Noble and I love to watch horror films.

View all posts by Eve Johnson

2 Responses to “Starbucks says ‘I do’ to same-sex marriage, sees social media backlash”

  1. Welina

    In my opinion, I think it’s a great idea for corporations to back up social movement. Although it may provide much negative feedback for those who oppose their stance but it will strengthen those who believe in the same.
    And anyways- it gives this big-wigs something to do instead of robbing the American people of their souls (and $6) for just a mere cup of coffee…

  2. David W. Gray

    More and more social issues are coming back into the political field of play, yet more and more people are caring less about them. Even a Fox News poll showed that most people supported the contraception decision. I think that the whole thing has been a play by Obama to shake up the race. Look at who is surging. Rick Santorum. He won’t stand a chance against Obama, whereas Mitt Romney might. The social issues brought Santorum into the running, but when the general election happens they won’t matter. Society is starting to evolve, the GOP needs to catch up.

    Maybe they are being left behind because they don’t believe in evolution ;)


Leave a Reply