|Starbucks stands up for a rainbow of diversity|
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Starbucks CEO Defends Gay-Marriage Support
At a recent shareholder meeting, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defended his company's support for legalization of same-sex marriage. In the face of right-wing calls for boycott, and a shareholder blaming the company's lackluster stock performance on its controversial position on social issues, Schultz advised investors who don't like the company's stance to sell their shares. He cited diversity and support for the substantial number of Starbucks 200,000 employees who are gay.
Excerpt: "Schultz shot back that Starbucks’ endorsement of marriage equality wasn’t bad for business:
'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. Thank you very much,' Schultz said, to applause from the audience.
But Schultz was quick to underscore that it wasn’t even an economic decision to support gay rights. It was simply right for its people. 'The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity,' he retorted.
The heated exchange between Schultz and Strobhar came shortly after shareholders voted for the company’s board to make political contributions. Board members said they wanted the flexibility to promote the company’s policy agenda, the Daily Mail noted.
Starbucks, which last year boasted nearly 18,000 retail stores in 60 countries with plans to continue growing, endorsed the Washington state bill to legalize gay marriage, and released a statement at the time saying it was 'deeply dedicated to embracing diversity,' the Huffington Post reported. The bill later became law."