- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2013

Offended by the decision of Starbucks chief Howard Schultz to support gay marriage, a Christian organization is seconding the CEO’s demand that Christian shareholders sell their stock in the ubiquitous coffee chain.

“Christians and pro-family groups across the United States have contributed significantly to the economic success of Starbucks,” said American Family Association President Tim Wildmon in a statement. “However, we can certainly honor Mr. Shultz’s request to take our business elsewhere.”

At Starbucks’ annual meeting last week, shareholder Thomas Strobhar, who runs an organization that opposes gay marriage, criticized the company for supporting same-sex marriage, claiming that taking a public stance on the issue was hurting its bottom line. This came after Starbucks last year backed a bill to legalize the practice in Washington state, which led to the National Organization for Marriage boycotting the coffee chain.

Mr. Schultz then invited those who disagree with the store’s support for gay marriage to sell their shares and leave the company.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country,” Mr. Schultz said at the shareholder meeting. “You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

Mr. Schultz’ comments offended the American Family Association, which pointed out that Christian community holds thousands of Bible studies sessions at Starbucks locations around the country and is responsible for tens of millions of dollars spent at the coffee chain each year.

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“The prospect for Starbucks’ future growth due to faith-based individuals and groups across the country held great promise,” Mr. Wildmon said. “But due to Mr. Shultz’s alienation of our beliefs, which he demonstrated through his blatantly intolerant, politically charged actions, Christians will likely heed his advice.”

• Tim Devaney can be reached at tdevaney@washingtontimes.com.

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