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Target Sues Marriage Equality Canvassing Organization

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by Brian Leubitz

Last year, Target got into some hot water for donating $150,000 to an organization in support of anti-gay Minnesota candidate for governor Tom Emmer.  Apparently in their continuing effort to remind the LGBT communities to stay away from big box stores, they have followed up this week by singling out an organization, Canvass For A Change (CFAC) that is canvassing San Diego stores to talk about marriage equality.

In a court document, a Target official at the Poway store complained that CFAC volunteers were talking to customers about gay marriage, among other issues, and contended that they had received complaints from some customers who were upset by the topic.

Court documents also show that Target Corp. is worried that the company may be viewed as being for gay marriage if activist groups like CFAC are allowed to speak to their customers. (San Diego Gay and Lesbian News)

Now, the first defense that you will hear from every mainstream outlet is that Target just doesn’t like anybody outside their stores and that, heck, they even booted the Salvation Army.  (By the way, the Salvation Army is pretty anti-LGBT themselves.) Now, what you won’t hear is that they didn’t really boot the Salvation Army out, so much as paid them to go away. They give the Salvation Army a fairly sizable contribution every year.

There are two real issues going on here.  First, it seems that Target is, um, targeting this pro-marriage equality organization in a way that they aren’t for other organizations.  True, they do try to get rid of as many canvassers as they can outside of their stores.  But CFAC director Tres Watson says that the policy is not enforced uniformly at all, with Girl Scouts and veterans organizations tolerated, while CFAC is sued for an immediate injunction.

The other issues is the important nature of the first amendment freedom of speech issues.  Clearly if this were a Main Stree mom and pop store trying to sue an organization from setting up in the middle of the adjacent town square, they would be laughed out of court on first amendment grounds.  After all, we all have the right to speak our peace in that proverbial zone of free speech.   Yet unfortunately, there are few actual town squares left these days.  We just don’t live in an environment anymore where people cluster around the bandstand on Friday evenings.

Instead, we cluster around stores and strip malls, such as Target.  As the attorneys for CFAC have argued,  the strip mall is the new town square.  This is where people gather, and this is where you can speak if you want to get noticed.  This is how we confront issues facing our communities, through talking to each other.  And if we cut off this communication, we risk merely retreating to our own corners and further dividing our nation.

It turns out that the framers had it right on the First Amendment.  Now, of course you have to confront the issue of what if NOM or a similar organization were out there campaigning against equality? What would we say then? Well, for better or worse, organizations should be able to respectfully communicate a message.  Now, if they were to grow offensive or hostile, I think you have opened a different can of worms.

Now, the question for us a nation is how critical we think these First Amendment rights really are. Are they important enough to deal with on the way to stock up on paper towels and sporting goods? Ultimately, that is the question here.  I’m curious to hear what the P8TT community thinks on this issue from a practical standpoint.

130 Comments

  • 1. Taylor  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:08 am

    This is actually my Target. Every time I go to it, there is some petition gatherer outside, and I do have to say they are somewhat of a nuisance, but they're not always there for marriage equality. Of course I support marriage equality, I'm gay, but they stand directly in front of the entrance and exit doors when having a little table set up to the side would be much more reasonable and unobtrusive.

    Should Target be suing them? No! They should be establishing clear guidelines that they need to follow (eg. being so many feet from the main pathway into the entrance, etc), but signature gatherers, whether or not I agree vehemently with the issue, make me uncomfortable. Not only that, but the most annoying signature gatherers that have been in front of this Target recently have been for the school board, but you haven't heard anything about them.

  • 2. tim  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Would it change your mind at all that Target also kicked the anti-gay Salvation Army off its premises a few years and the AFA boycotted? Target is just being consistent. If idiots were in front of my business bugging my customers I would sue them as well.

    And Target is the most gay-friendly employer out there – your false outrage is misplaced here.

  • 3. truthspew  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I've never shopped at Target and refuse to do so. I can take my dollars elsewhere

  • 4. Anna Bryan  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I have to say that I think Target has the right to tell anyone they want to get off their property. If they are unfairly targeting a gay group while letting others remain, that's a whole different story.

    Is this in a state or federal court? If it's a state court, it will be interesting to see how the judge decides this case with gays and lesbians now being deemed a suspect class.

  • 5. Alex  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Target is by far the most gay-friendly employer. Tim you are in la la land to even think of that. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • 6. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:24 am

    The decision to sue came from the store management not corporate. This is one store out of thousands…and there is LOTS more to the store than we are hearing so far.
    How many other groups have been booted out of there?
    Don't know….do you?
    I think I will hold off being to upset just yet………

  • 7. Brian Leubitz  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

    That's really interesting. I knew that there were other gatherers at the store, but interesting to see that these weren't even the most active.

  • 8. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

    OOPS… meant
    ….and there is LOTS more to the story than we are hearing so far.

  • 9. Anna Bryan  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Having now read Target's brief to the court, it appears to be in state court, so suspect class applies. If this court can prove that they are being thrown out, while other groups remain, then I think it's over for Target.

    I'd also say that I think Target is lying in their brief. I doubt half of this stuff actually happened, and they cite no dates or names from the complaints.

  • 10. Sarah  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    From reading the court document, it seems as if CFAC has been rude and confrontational. Target may be justified in this case if there have in fact been multiple confrontations that make people feel persecuted (physically persecuted; the gay issue is another thing IMO). However, if Target is in fact not following its own policy with equal diligence for other organizations, they need to answer for that in a big way.

    Another thought: it being Target's property, and not simply a public area, does the freedom of speech argument still have bearing for CFAC? I mean, people cannot just freely speak on my front lawn and be protected, because it is not public property. I do not see the lack of a general gathering area in this day as an excuse or argument to allow people to exercise their rights wherever is convenient.

    Those are my 2 cents… :-) I am interested to hear from everybody else!

  • 11. Kate  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    But it's ok for the greeter at the local wal-mart, an employee, to preach his religion to shoppers!

  • 12. Sarah  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

    What do you mean by this, Kate?

  • 13. Alex  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Sarah actually this Target in Poway leases the property. The area the CFAC is on public property.

  • 14. Sagesse  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Was CFAC on Target's private property, or on surrounding property belonging to the mall owner? I don't understand the nuances of free speech in public places that are not 'government' public places (owned by the municipal, state or federal government and therefore open to everyone).

  • 15. JonT  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Hey if the Phelps Klan can picket peoples funerals, then I see no reason why CFAC can't do it's thing.

  • 16. Sagesse  |  March 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

    These people do good work.

    Americans United, ACLU Ask Army For Documents About Government-Sponsored Religious Event At Fort Bragg
    http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2

  • 17. JonT  |  March 26, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Agreed. It will be interesting to see what happens :)

  • 18. Peterplumber  |  March 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Wasn't it the gay people who nicknamed the store Tarzhay? It was to make it sound "chic" cuz all the most elegant gay guys could only shop at Chic stores.
    Just like calling J.C. Penney…… J.C Penwaw.

  • 19. Kate  |  March 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    There is a greeter at my local Wal-Mart who does this. And knowing how Wal-Mart is and how much this guy is loved by the community, it wouldn't do me a bit of good to complain to the management. They'd probably issue him a commendation!

  • 20. Michael Herman  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Since the US Supreme Court defended the Westboro Baptist Church's picketing, Target has absolutely no case here.

    I'm never shopping at Target again.

  • 21. Sheryl Carver  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I intensely dislike having to wade through ANY petition gatherers when I want to go into a store or any other business. If they are off to the side, a reasonable distance from the doors, that's fine. I can go over if I'm interested AND have the time.

    I do not know the ins & outs of what is considered private property in a mall or shopping center these days, but it seems to me that if the area is leased by Target, that makes it private for use by Target & whoever else they choose to allow to use it, & in whatever legal way. Just like my house & yard are for my private use as long as I pay my rent & meet any other obligations required by my lease.

    That said, if CFAC is being treated differently than other groups, that's discrimination. But if they are on Target's private property, Target has the right to make them leave. AND we have the right to boycott Target, launch an email/letter-writing campaign, and whatever else might make them change their minds. But like others have said on this site, the fact that there is no longer a truly public "town square" where folks gather, doesn't mean we get to take over someone else's private property.

  • 22. JPM  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    A court case of some relevance:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruneyard_Shopping_C

    However, my understanding is that the Target in question is not located within a mall, it is on its own site, and therefore the relevance of Pruneyard is not clear.

  • 23. JPM  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Westboro was picketing on public property. It was not picketing within the funeral site.

    These petitioners were standing on private property — Target's or whomever owns the land, that I'm not clear.

    So there is a difference.

  • 24. Lora  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:58 am

    You beat me to it…I was going to post the same thing.

  • 25. Kathleen  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I just wanted to say "hello" to Brian. It's nice to see you posting here again!

  • 26. Kathleen  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:10 am

    just subscribed to post number 800 at P8TT. :)

  • 27. Sarah  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Oh yikes. What does he do? Quote scripture? It amazes me that people think being overbearing about their religion is the most effective way to share it. Maybe it is because I was not raised in a church that preached "Bible-beating" (which we actually called it in my youth group) but I have never found this appealing and actually think it may do more harm than good to perceptions of Christianity.

  • 28. Sarah  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I have not done other researching, but the blurb about this on the NOM blog says this was from the corporation and pertained to a number of stores in the SD area… I am fully aware that NOM is not necessarily the best place to get information. :)

  • 29. Sarah  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

    AP reports say it is a suit by Corporate to stop CFAC from soliciting outside all of their California stores. They say there have been multiple complaints at a number of stores.

    Does anybody know the parameters in which storefronts and/or parking lots are public or private property?

  • 30. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I for one think that Target is full of bovine fecal matter and other excretory byproducts of the consumption of necessary nutrients. They let the Knights of Columbus stand in front of the stores for the LAMB project at least once a year, depending upon where they are, as well as representatives of the organizations that benefit from the LAMB drives. They let the girl Scouts sell cookies there. They donate to the Salvation Army. The least they can do is allow CFAC's people to do their work there. I think CFAC should file a counter-suit!

  • 31. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I have done a bit of research myself and see that it is indeed a suit from Target Corp.
    I am still snooping, but it ain't looking good for Target

  • 32. Lee  |  March 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Here's more: http://www.365gay.com/news/target-sues-san-diego-

    They're whining about a dozen complaints a day. Pfft. Considering how many hundreds or thousands of people go through each Target store every day, that is just ridiculous to bring up.

    Here's an idea: let's call those Target stores en masse and THANK THEM for the equality message being broadcast nearby. Let them take THAT to the press.

    Can you get us some phone numbers, Taylor?

  • 33. Don in Texas  |  March 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    The "suspect class" doctrine does not apply to acts by private firms or individuals, only to government action.

    It seems to me that a retailer has a right to enjoy the use of his property (whether owned or leased) for any legal purpose he chooses. Freedom of speech can be regulated by government as to time and place, but not as to content. Private firms, in my judgment, have a right to set rules for those who wish to use their property to communicate with the public.

    I do not shop at Target stores (I formerly did so) because of Target's support for anti-gay organizations.

  • 34. Jordan  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    From my memory, Targe't (immitating an accent) was a sartirical thing, and I haven't heard any gay people call it that. I've heard plenty of Marines, Metrosexuals, and South-Park-Culture kids call it that (the kids who call me a 'Daywalker' as I have freckles, but my hair isn't particulary red- that crowd), so I think it's a pure mockery thing.

  • 35. Jordan  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    For the sake of curiosity, next time he throws Bible-thumper lyrics at you, toss a 'Salaam Alaikum' back at him. See if his head 'asplodes. Heck, if it provokes him into a crusade, you can definitely go to management then.

  • 36. Bob Barnes  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I'm late to this conversation…

    So next year when Maryland passes the marriage bill, will solicitors seeking signatures for a referendum be barred from shopping centers?

  • 37. Lawrence Graham  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    It seems to me that Target is well within its rights to control who comes on its property. And, they are well within their rights to determine who can (and who cannot) solicit their customers while on their property.

    The answer is simple. LGBT people can pick and choose who they will patronize. If organizations that support equality aren't welcome there, then we're not welcome there as individuals. Target needs to know that. It's our individual responsibility to tell them.

    First, go to: http://www.target.com/gp/help/display-contact-us-form.ht...

    Then, fill out the form and send them a friendly note. Here's what I said:

    It has come to my attention that you have taken legal action against Canvass For A Change to prohibit them from canvassing on your property in San Diego.

    That tells me that you support discrimination against LGBT people. And that also tells me that I am not welcome in your stores. I will be happy to accommodate you. I will not visit your stores in the future.

  • 38. Ray in MA  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    In MA in 2005, the anti-ssm's got a -helluva- lot of signatures from outside of churches.

    I found a lot of familiar names who signed, and knowing who they are, they definitely signed at churches:
    http://www.knowthyneighbor.org/index.html

    for other states:
    http://www.knowthyneighbor.org/

  • 39. Ray in MA  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    nice & easy… only an email required to submit

  • 40. Ronnie  |  March 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Subscribing…& sighs…..<3…Ronnie

  • 41. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Great site. Maryland definitely needs to get itself one of those.

  • 42. Casey  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:20 am

    What immediately comes to my mind is Target's lack of understanding about where the future is going. Imagine if they had sued an organization that took signatures for religious equality, or racial equality. There would be *rage* over that.

    It would be different, in my mind, if what they say about not allowing any form of solicitation was actually true. But it isn't.

    Target may have the right to kick folks off of its property, but they would do well to think before acting. They look archaic, homophobic, and seriously out of touch. They should have issued a real apology for their donation, stopped giving corporate donations to candidates entirely (no matter what Citizens United may allow) and rewritten their policy to ensure that their claim of being an LGBT-friendly place was true.

    If they are afraid to look equal-minded, they will lose a chunk of their young shppers. That's just reality. Suing someone else because you have shitty business sense does not paint a good portrait, even if you win.

    I have not shopped there in a month. I do not plan to return.

  • 43. ns  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:42 am

    I have to say, I hate being harassed by the petition signers and the campaigners, no matter what they stand for. And likewise, I kind of like the friendly canvassers and information spreaders, who I wish good morning as I walk through a public square (my city has some) on a daily basis. The difference is in whether they have a small booth, or stand to the side of the walkway, and say things like "good morning, do you have a moment to talk about abortion?" (to choose a random hot-button issue) or stand in your way and say "Abortion kills babies, sign this!" Don't know which mode CFAC is in, but if it is the attack style, I wouldn't blame Target for wanting them out of the way.

  • 44. dtwirling  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I haven't read the brief… but if I compare CFAC to something like…. Birthers. Both groups have strong beliefs, which may or may not be backed by evidence, depending on whom you believe. I'm very cautious waving the sacred 1st Amendment flag in cases where turning it around wouldn't be fun. I'd like to believe that Target has the right to tell Birthers to take a hike, and so, presuming that the property in question was belonging to Target, the store's within its rights to boot CFAC. I'm also very hesitant to jump on a national boycott bandwagon when presented with just the actions of one set of management people. There are idiots everywhere. Meeting every minor ideology disagreement with InstaBoycott does a lot more to hurt our cause than to further it. Pick and choose your battles. This one? I haven't seen enough proof.

  • 45. dtwirling  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I should note that I recognize there is a mountain more evidence in the pro-gay equality side than the Birthers… who have equal chances proving a teapot circles Earth. My point is that both groups feel very, very strongly in what they believe.

  • 46. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:22 am

    From Colorado

    Littwin: A matter of time for gay marriage
    http://www.denverpost.com/littwin/ci_17694515

  • 47. Ray in MA  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Hi Sag…Not sure, but I think the laws allowing this vary from state to state. ?

  • 48. Alan E.  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I'm so confused! I really want to go shop at Target (mine is two stories and has the separate shopping cart escalators), but it's hard to understand where they really stand. This case makes it all the more confusing because it's hard to pick out the details. Until then, my dollars won't be going there.

  • 49. Ray in MA  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Great article Sag!

    Led me to this video (a short tear jerker)

    Sen Jean White (R) supports civil unions for her gay relatives – Colorado

    [youtube =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jB1owvrUcc&w=640&h=390]

  • 50. Ray in MA  |  March 27, 2011 at 1:59 am

    and another… FINALLY some civility!

    Senator Ellen Roberts (R) supports civil unions in Colorado

    [youtube =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O39uxktTqIY&w=640&h=390]

  • 51. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Perhaps. But I have read (here and other places) that Maryland has very robust laws for challenging petition signatures, which would suggest they are public.

  • 52. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Thanks for posting these two videos. I have seen others from the Colorado Senate debate, but not these.

  • 53. Ray in MA  |  March 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I found more that I missed also… search on Youtube for "SB 172"

  • 54. karen in kalifornia  |  March 27, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Like in California…names of petition signers are not made public by law. That's why there wasn't a knowtheyneighbor for Prop8 amendment petition.

  • 55. rf  |  March 27, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Apologies if you've discussed this already but everyone's favorite bus driver is publishing his new blog tomorrow: http://louisjmarinelli.com/

    He just announced it on the PM facebook page.

  • 56. Shellshocker  |  March 27, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I really love my local Target store. Several obvious homosexuals working there and they treat me and my wife very well. Considering we both have same last name its not like they don't know (we use the pharmacy there). I would hate to have to take my shopping elsewhere as we have experienced some "looks" in other area stores.
    But if it comes down to Target being "anti-gay" from the cooperation then I will say "buh-bye"

  • 57. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 7:18 am

    It will be fascinating to see if he's been sanitized, or if he continues to spout insulting, politically incorrect trash that could have NOM labelled a hate group for good.

    Hi Louis.

  • 58. rf  |  March 27, 2011 at 7:28 am

    A facebook friend of mine watches the NOM.Protect Marriage page for hatespeech and he's bee inundated with material this past week. Louis is the voice of reason (god help them) on that page but he wilfully ignores some really disgusting stuff.

    My friend posts the NOM stuff at http://www.facebook.com/chickengate

    but its pretty vile so don't click if you can't take the NOMbies..

  • 59. Jim  |  March 27, 2011 at 7:31 am

    The phone # for the Poway store is 858-679-8202. Poway, just outside of San Diego, is the beginning of the conservative back country. Not sure if this had anything to do with the legal actions, because you do see other groups, or individuals, outside of this Target, and other Targets in San Diego collecting signatures, selling girl scout cookies, etc. Not quite sure, if it really depends on who is managing the store that day, how well the policy is enforced.

  • 60. Elizabeth Oakes  |  March 27, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for posting that email page Lawrence, I'll let them know what I think. I haven't shopped at Target since they supported that Emmer group and I let them know then too. Funny, my house is a lot less full of Chinese-made crap since I stopped shopping there….win-win. :)

    However, Target may not have the right to dictate who gathers signatures on "their" property. If it's true that the land is leased from the local community, they may have to allow access to any community group whether they like their politics or not. They might have different entitlements if they own the land–I guess the court's rulings will illuminate some of this for us down the line.

  • 61. DebbieC  |  March 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I'm a former Target employee and a shareholder. I'm positive there is more to this story than we are hearing. It's common to hear the most dramatic parts or things that most support your side or opinion. It's not lying, it's just leaving things out. I'm withholding judgment at this point.

    It is a business, not government and they do have the right to choose who they allow in front just as they have the right to choose what they sell. Did they show poor judgment? Most likely. Was it deliberate? Who knows? Was the group rude and offensive? I don't know, I wasn't there. I do know as a former retail employee it takes some doing to get someone upset enough to track down or wait for a manager to show up – they might complain at lower level employees, but to move up the chain will take a little effort or some phone calls. (They aren't being avoided, but managers are usually somewhere in the store and not instantly available.)

    I don't know what groups that Target has allowed – my stores allowed no one which I think is the better policy. (I was under the impression this was corporate policy, but I could be wrong – it's been 10+ years since I worked there.)

  • 62. JonT  |  March 27, 2011 at 9:19 am

    OT, via JMG: Howard Stern Rips Victoria Jackson

    I found it… pretty funny – I hadn't read VJ's article or her subsequent interview – but Howard Stern was right on the money :)
    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/03/howard-stern

  • 63. Lynn E  |  March 27, 2011 at 11:22 am

    This court case is referenced in Appendix A of the filing. Interestingly, other cases are cited that limit the application of the Pruneyard ruling.
    Certainly the fact that a much larger "mall-type" shopping center exists about a mile from this Target may signal to the court that it isn't a "main street" type forum. However, the types of businesses located in the Target/Albertsons shopping complex (Starbucks, Ice Cream Shop, Subway, etc.) may indicate otherwise.
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • 64. Michael  |  March 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    In the new conservative Republican/Corporationist facist America, post Election 2010, militant anti-gay activists can disrupt and disturb funerals with anti-gay hate speech, but pro-equality activists are sued for having the audacity to want the same rights heterosexuals take for granted. And through it all, we are paying $4 per gallon of gas again. What's wrong with this picture?

  • 65. AnonyGrl  |  March 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    They can… on public property. If Target owns the property, then no.

  • 66. AnonyGrl  |  March 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Leased property is not public property. It belongs to whoever is leasing it. It may be that there is public space involved in a lease deal, however, and if CFAC was on that public space, then they are ok.

  • 67. AnonyGrl  |  March 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    As long as the Wal-Mart doesn't mind, then yes, it is ok. If the store objects, then no.

  • 68. Sheryl Carver  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I just couldn't help myself – had to go check it out. & guess what I found? A post titled:

    "Is the LGBT community trying to offend Christians?"

    Most of the comments were from our supporters. Louis actually replied (in a non-reply sort of way). Again, couldn't help myself, so I joined in, too. I doubt I'll waste a lot of time over there, & it wouldn't surprise me if soon a lot of comments have to "await moderation."

  • 69. Sheryl Carver  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:48 am

    And thanks to Anonygrl for adding her as-always on-point comment on Louis' site, too!

  • 70. fiona64  |  March 28, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Target has a chain-wide policy of not permitting solicitors outside of their stores, no matter what the policy. There is a charity for homeless youth who sets up outside the Target near us, and they are constantly being asked by security to leave.

    There is signage on every entrance to Target stating that solicitors are not permitted — at least, on all of the ones in my area.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 71. Joel  |  March 28, 2011 at 2:49 am

    This is totally off the wall, but you folks are my best resource.
    When a woman marries a man in CA, and wants to take her husband's name, through what hoops must she jump? What about a man who is married to a man? Mark and I are one of the18,000 lucky couples, and are planning on moving back to CA this year. Mark has expressed a desire, and I am honored, that he wants to take my name, and I'm wondering if our marriage license will make the process any less onerous.

  • 72. Reformed Conservativ  |  March 28, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Not sure of Targets record exactly, but I think i stopped shopping there based on an HRC buying guide.

    What bothers me here (albeit a minor irritation) is Tim's use of the term "false outrage" implying pretense. And an apparant misrepresentation of Targets record on relevant employement issues(consult HRC).

    Why?

  • 73. Rebecca in Chicago  |  March 28, 2011 at 4:01 am

    I'm interested in the concept of large retail stores and strip malls as the new "town squares." I don't think they function in quite the same way, which in this case works against the people canvassing outside.

    I think the concept of the "town square" implies a meeting place people pass through or go to for events. Or even an impromptu leisure area similar to a well-travelled park. In that concept, people at the "town square" are most likely enjoying themselves, not on a schedule or pressed for time. It's easy to approach someone for a cause in that frame of mind.

    I see visits to Target or similar stores in a different light. I for one get very stressed due to all the crowds and general rushed feeling of everyone there. I don't want anyone or anything to hold me up since I want to be in and out of there as fast as possible.

    In that scenario, one that I'm sure applies to many shoppers, you don't want anyone to bother you going in, regardless of the cause.

  • 74. nightshayde  |  March 28, 2011 at 4:03 am

    I seem to recall it was a fairly simple process. I needed proof of identity (I think I used my passport) and a copy of my marriage certificate.

    I know a straight couple in which the man took the woman's name. I'm not sure how the process went for him, but I don't recall hearing any complaints about it.

    As long as you have the required documents, I would THINK you'd be fine.

  • 75. nightshayde  |  March 28, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Until I hear more information about the Target case, I'm not going to pass judgment. It's possible that the group trying to collect signatures was overzealous. It's also possible that some organization got its members riled up enough to complain even if they weren't actually affected by the CPAC people.

    The Targets in my area are both very good about chasing away ALL solicitors. I really like not having to dodge people when I'm trying to enter the stores.

  • 76. Michelle Evans  |  March 28, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Yes, and if they are, in fact, being overzealous, then they are doing more harm than good for the LGBT community.

  • 77. Joel  |  March 28, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Thanks!

  • 78. Kathleen  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:27 am

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asks Field Offices to Put Bi-National Immigration Cases on Hold http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2011/03/us-ci

  • 79. Don in Texas  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:32 am

    From ThinkProgress.Org:

    Do Republicans Have an Iowa Problem?
    Steve Kornacki watched last weekend's cattle call in Iowa and sees warning signs for the Republican Party.

    "The lead-off contest for its next presidential nomination — an event that has played a vital role in winnowing GOP fields since 1980 — will be utterly dominated by voters with ravenous appetites for attacks on gays, Muslims, President Obama's 'otherness' and godless liberalism in general." [Emphasis added]

  • 80. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Great news!!

  • 81. Carpool Cookie  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:44 am

    "Target may have the right to kick folks off of its property, but they would do well to think before acting. They look archaic, homophobic, and seriously out of touch. They should have issued a real apology for their donation, stopped giving corporate donations to candidates entirely (no matter what Citizens United may allow) and rewritten their policy to ensure that their claim of being an LGBT-friendly place was true."

    Exactly.

    They can force petition-gatherers off their property, but the bigger question is, Why would they want to? THAT is the disturbing thing.

  • 82. gaydadtobe  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

    It would also make a difference if they wanted to chase off more than just this group.

  • 83. Carpool Cookie  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Howard Stern has come a looooooong way in his attitudes. My coworker listens to him, and he discusses gay/lesbian issues quite a lot, and is ashamed of thoughless slurs he used to make.

  • 84. Carpool Cookie  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Yes.

  • 85. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Has there been an official reply from CFAC regarding what Target is claiming?

  • 86. bJason  |  March 28, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Great news, indeed!

    Thanks, Kathleen.

    PS Aren't we awaiting a response in the LCR DADT case today?

  • 87. Kathleen  |  March 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

    UPDATE: LCR v. USA (DADT case)

    LCR's Answer Brief: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51752064

    I won't be available to answer questions until later today. sorry.

  • 88. Lynn E  |  March 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

    You forgot that corporations can give unlimited amounts of money to buy the best election.

  • 89. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 28, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Another nail in DOMA's coffin.

  • 90. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

    This isn't 2004. It would be nice if public opinion would turn a bit faster, but 2012 will be right around or slightly past the national tipping point regarding SSM. I can't wait to see this figuratively detonate in their faces.

  • 91. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 28, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Happy Birthday Louis!
    Now blow out your candles and make a wish….
    (blow is only an expression here and not meant to imply or impart any sexual connotation)
    Bless your heart Louis 😉

  • 92. Kate  |  March 28, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Calif. law lets you change a name at the time of the marriage or after divorce for free. Doing so for another reason is spendy — I recently did it myself. I don't know if the marriage license will let you be able to do so after the fact without the court costs.

  • 93. bJason  |  March 28, 2011 at 8:35 am

    113 pages in – my favorite part so far (though it is pretty great throughout) – bolding is mine:
    Finally, the government’s brief on appeal relies extensively on the activities of the Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) established in March 2010; the report and conclusions that the CRWG issued on November 30, 2010; and comments of the President and other administration officials regarding the timing of eventual repeal of DADT. AOB at 8-13. The CRWG report, however, is not in the record. It could hardly have been, since the group’s report was not issued until well after the district court’s judgment was entered. The hearsay statements of the President and other politicians that the government quotes are also not in the record and not properly part of this Court’s review of the judgment below. They should be disregarded."

    LOVE IT!!!!

  • 94. Reformed Conservativ  |  March 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Target and Chick Fil A are on adjacent corners near where I live. I wonder if they have deeper connections?/

  • 95. be4marriage  |  March 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

    and that GE, one of the nation's wealthiest companies, pays no taxes whatsoever.

  • 96. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 28, 2011 at 11:32 am

    thank you Kathleen! MMMWWHHAAH!

  • 97. Mouse  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Whether or not Target kicks out the Salvation Army to prevent them from harassing their customers, they sure give them a nice donation:
    http://pressroom.target.com/pr/news/target-donate

    Target cannot use the sledge hammer of this lawsuit without being perceived as anti-gay – even if they turn out to be completely justified – any more than 4 policemen can shoot a black man 41 times for reaching for his wallet without being perceived as racist. It doesn't matter at that point what the "real story" is, the perception is what everyone is going to remember.

    Target needs a new PR guy. The one in charge now is blowing it.

  • 98. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    OT – any ecfans here? (ec = "Earth's Children" aka "Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Auel) Final book (6) released today after *30* years.
    http://www.ecfans.com/

  • 99. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Good News from Maryland:

    Maryland House Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill, Future In Senate Uncertain
    <a href="http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103280010
    ” target=”_blank”>http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103280010

  • 100. Scott  |  March 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I work for a large retailer as well and we do not allow any solicitation. Any. I understand Target's not wanting it as it is a nuisance to have customers commenting all day. BUT our establishment is very consistent and does not allow girl scouts, Salvation army etc. We are sure that the consistency remains steady. I have to say that I have never seen solicitation at my local Target stores so I assumed they followed the same consistent guideline. If Target has allowed other organizations I think they have opened up a huge can of worms. But I do not agree with making people uncomfortable by standing in the doors etc. I get it if we want to share information and educate but the opposite turns people off and certainly does not gain supporters!

  • 101. Ronnie  |  March 29, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Religious Liberty

    I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong
    As a Presbyterian minister, I believed it was a sin. Then I met people who really understood the stakes: Gay men http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/03/27/pres

    (me) Very well written piece from a man & minister who realized the hate & vitriol espoused by the church, some Christians, & the likes of those such as NOM towards LGBT people is WRONG, unacceptable & bad for the heart.

    A few quotes:

    "
But the debate would not go away. It came up, again and again, year after year, pushed by activists on either end. Each time, I grudgingly voted to hold the traditional line and limit the role of gays in the church. But I felt increasingly uncomfortable. What I believed was biblically correct began to feel less and less right in my heart."

    "These experiences shook my worldview. It became clear to me that none of these men had chosen to be gay, just as I had never chosen to be heterosexual. How could I condemn someone for something that was really not their fault? Meanwhile, I was experiencing the slow disintegration of my own marriage. Needless to say, it was hard for me to condemn anyone else for their relationships when mine was in such bad shape. I began moving closer to the center."

    "With distance, I could see the mean-spirited nature of the anti-gay movement, and the naked way large Christian organizations used the "gay threat" to raise money. Free from the constraints of a congregation, I could spend more time actually looking at the biblical texts that deal with homosexuality, and I was surprised to find they were not as clear as I had supposed they were. At this point, I have done a 180 on the topic. And I believe it's a change for the good."

    "So why had we singled out homosexuality as a litmus test for True Christianity in the first place? Why had it become such a lightning rod for self-righteousness?"

    "One reason, I think, is that it's easy to condemn homosexuality if you are not gay. It is much harder than condemning pride, or lust or greed, things that most practicing Christians have struggled with. It is all too easy to make homosexuality about "those people," and not me. If I were to judge someone for their inflated sense of pride, or their tendency to worship various cultural idols, I would feel some personal stake, some cringe of self-judgment. Not so with homosexuality. 
"

    (me) Read his accounts of coming in contact with gay people. Just some of the accounts that ultimately changed his perception as he looked back on those memories…..The quotes above are, for me anyway, a DING DING DING….right on the nose. …..<3….Ronnie

  • 102. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 29, 2011 at 12:12 am

    very good article Ronnie : ) Lovely blueprint I can pass on to those in my sphere of influence who have the desire to accept "us" but don't know how to accomplish it because clashes w/their conservative beliefs. BRAVO!

  • 103. Joel  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:30 am

    I liked the first two books, but when Atla started building saunas and microwave ovens powered by mammoth dung, I was finished.

  • 104. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:47 am

    lol! historically accurate it is NOT…but I love the Ayla's optimism AND many times refer to gay/trans person's favorably.

  • 105. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:53 am

    reminds me of "Wonder Woman" somehow….

  • 106. Joel  |  March 29, 2011 at 2:02 am

    And that was supposed to be "Ayla", not "Atla".

  • 107. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 29, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I understood : ) I think I like the books also because the dynamics of racism and prejudice are graphically addressed.

  • 108. Ķĭŗîļĺę&  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:28 am

    So, let's see where we are and what happened.
    USCIS issued a statement putting bi-national same-sex couples' immigration cases on hold. What does it mean and who will benefit from it?
    It is my understanding that in order to benefit from this decision the following conditions must be met:
       ♦ there must be a bi-national same-sex couple with one of the partners being a citizen of the U.S. or a legal permanent resident;
       ♦ the partners must be residents of a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages as valid marriages (CT, IA, MA, NH, VT, DC, Coquille, CA (conditional), MD?, NY);
       ♦ the couple must enter into same-sex marriage;
       ♦ the non-citizen partner must enter the U.S. on a visa and go through inspection (those who used visa waiver program will have to leave the U.S. and apply for a visa, but if their marital status is already known to USCIS, they won't be granted any visa because of the known immigration intent);
       ♦ the couple must apply for a green card the denial of which will be suspended until courts figure out what to do with DOMA.

    — ♂K♥F

  • 109. Felyx  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Super Fantabulous News!!!
    http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2011/03/us-ci

    Gay bi-nationals can stay!!!

  • 110. Maggie4NoH8  |  March 29, 2011 at 5:30 am

    What a great article… How I wish the NOMbies would all read it and really, really *THINK* about it.

  • 111. DaveP  |  March 29, 2011 at 5:48 am

    It looks like good news, but I had some questions about this. Looking at the post from Kirille at 10:28, the last two points seem to leave a bad 'catch-22' in place until DOMA is fully repealed, if one half of a bi-national SS couple is not already in the states. It's very confusing.

  • 112. Joe  |  March 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I believe at people call it Tarjay, however you wanna spell it because it's a French company, and it is for mockery, kinda like freedom fries.

  • 113. Joe  |  March 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

    If Target wants to kick gay rights groups off it's property and let even people like the Westboro baptist church to solicit or protest etc. That's their right. Just like when Apple decides to allow or reject an app because of the views expressed in it. The lot around a Target is their private property, they can use it to put forward their values and beliefs, if we don't like them, we need to choose not to go to them, and let all of the people we know that agree with us to do the same.

  • 114. fiona64  |  March 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

    No, it isn't a French company.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/target.as

    Snopes is your friend.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 115. Chris in Lathrop  |  March 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for sharing the article, Ronnie! Just goes to show that not all religious zealots are unable to change.

  • 116. fiona64  |  March 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

    One of the pastors at the MCC I attend was ordained in the Presbyterian church — and had to remain closeted or they wouldn't even have let her finish seminary. She says that MCC is the first time she felt truly complete since her ordination, although her sense of calling had never waned.

    Nice to see this article.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 117. New  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I also have a question about what was posted here before by #95. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ "♦ the partners must be residents of a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages as valid marriages (CT, IA, MA, NH, VT, DC, Coquille, CA (conditional), MD?, NY);"
    Is this for real? Do we have to be residents in these states? Will we be deported if applying for green card from other states? I always thought that immigration was a Federal issue, not a State issue.

    I want to express my simpathy for those couples who are not living in the US together and will probably have to wait a little longer before being able to sponsor their foreign partners. I hope DOMA goes away soon.

  • 118. Elizabeth Oakes  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Joel:

    There are a couple of factors that might come into play here (one being that the law on name change has been updated since 2008–marriage licenses now have space to indicate legal name changes on them, whereas your 2008 license did not.)

    Before the new law, you could just take a certified copy of your marriage license (aka "marriage certificate") and your current ID to Social Security and request the married-name change, but now you have to have already indicated the new married name on your marriage license for SSA to honor it. Also–though I don't have a first-hand source on this, this is just what I'm told at the County Clerk's office–you need to request your marital name change within a year of the marriage or you may be refused.

    If you are refused by SSA you can still change your name in court, but as Kate notes there are filing fees associated with that. Fortunately, there's a Nolo.com book on name change if you want to file the forms yourself and not pay attorney fees (and your library might have the book too, reducing your costs further.)

    You can try calling your local SSA office and see what they say, though I'm sure you're aware that the odds of getting someone who knows what they're talking about on the first try are not in your favor. You could also just show up and attempt the name change, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

    Hope that helps, and let me know how it goes…..

  • 119. Elizabeth Oakes  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    @nightshayde: per my post below, one of the reasons for the new Name Equality Act was to accommodate men who wanted to change their names to their wives' surnames–one couple whose husband was refused a simple name change in 2006 went to the ACLU, which successfully persuaded the legislature to allow gender equity in name change (before, a woman could change to a new married name by presenting her marriage certificate at SSA, but a man still had to go to court.)

    I believe support for the Name Equality Act was also given a boost by the 2008 marriage equality; the State had already updated the marriage license forms to make them more same-sex friendly (adding a category for indicating previous SRDPs, for example) and this was another way to make it easier for same-sex couples to adopt a new name. (All those changes are still there on the current marriage license, just waiting for same-sex marriage to be activated again….the licenses are ready to go.)

  • 120. Elizabeth Oakes  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Just finding out that they donate to the Salvation Army is enough to keep me from shopping there again. And you're right about the PR guy, Mouse: I never would have known about that if they hadn't made an issue of the CFAC thing.

  • 121. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    here is another article about this with a few other links at end of article:

    Policy Changes Give Hope To Married, Bi-National Same-Sex Couples http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103290003

  • 122. Sheryl Carver  |  March 30, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Thanks, Gregory in SLC! I immediately put a hold on the book at my library. Alas, way behind a bunch of other patrons.

    I love her books. I know that it would be impossible for 1 couple to invent so many things, & who knows how early humans actually did develop their own version of technology. Don't care, as the stories are still interesting, & in many ways like the Star Trek sagas, only at the other end of the human timeline.

  • 123. Kathleen  |  March 30, 2011 at 2:45 am

    And to add to the confusion:
    Confusion Over Policy on Married Gay Immigrants http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/us/30immigratio

  • 124. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Hi Sheryl : ) I'm on chapter 4 –got the audio CDs from the library yesterday…first in line as put on hold months ago! Seems like not many "guys" like these books…and most intellectual persons do not either…but I really enjoy them as I admire Ayla's honest/direct approach and the stories are a wonderful escape for me. One very interesting aspect for me is when I first started the series back in the 80's(!) I was a "conservative" , now I'm way more liberal and enjoy them even more!

  • 125. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:31 am

    p.s. I like your comparison to Star Trek….as I LOVE all the Star Trek series : )

  • 126. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:51 am

    If you like Sheryl, you can read the first three chapters now: http://www.ecfans.com/

  • 127. Justice Trillin  |  March 30, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I am not a fan of the box stores and am grateful that SF has fought to keep them out of its city limits, though they seem to be bending on that as of late. But I do not equate a cardboard table set-up for the annual sale of Girl Scout cookies with free speech. To say that since Target allows them, they should allow a purely political organization on their property is not an argument I could support. Question I have is, are the parking lots property of the store or the municipality in which the store resides? Clarity on that matter would help me further understand. You see, the Girl Scouts are on the defined property (at the entrance) but they are not espousing political beliefs. They are fund raising for their organization. I don't shop Target because they are not convenient probably but knowing what I do now, I would not support them financially. But when do you draw the line. WalMart is less than 5 minutes away from step-father's in Napa County. Should I not go there because they discriminate against women? Aside from the velveteen track suits, they do have seriously competitive pricing. I'm constantly miffed on this issue. But please do not use the Girl Scouts. It would be a mistake.

  • 128. gaydadtobe  |  March 30, 2011 at 4:16 am

    You shouldn't shop at Walmart because of the damaging effects they have on economies around the world. For example, if a factory in China wants to produce products for Walmart, then Walmart makes them sign a very crafty agreement where the factory owner must produce the number that Walmart wants in a very short time.
    Walmart has clauses built in to make it easy for them to get out f the contract, but the factories have no way to get out without being on the hook. Also, Walmart does not pay much if anything up front to the factories. Payment is usually given after the entire order is complete, and even then at Walmart's convenience.
    Thirdly, These factories cannot take on any other work for other customers, so they cannot actively seek out new business for when the order and/or contract is done. The best factories are the ones that have many customers with rolling orders to keep a perpetual business plan.
    Fourth, Walmart sets up their conracts so that the prices for final material remains the same even as cost for goods and wages go up, leaving the factories on the hook again.

    The list could go on.

  • 129. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Glad this issue is being discussed! Its a beginning : )

  • 130. Sheryl Carver  |  March 31, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Oh, Gregory, you taunt me! :-)

    If I read the 1st 3 chapters now, how will I ever manage to survive until I can get the book from the library???

    I've got to contact my library. They have a "new item" alert so you can get an email when something you searched for becomes available. However, an alert doesn't go out when an item is first ordered, only much later in the process. So for popular authors like Auel, one can be way behind lots of other people. I just checked, & I do have her on my alert list. Yet I still haven't gotten an alert for this new book. If you hadn't posted about it, I probably wouldn't get to read it until this time next year!

    (I'm on a pretty tight budget, so buying it is not currently an option for me.)

    So many, many thanks again, my P8TT friend! This truly is a real community, even though most of us will never meet except online!

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