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Poll: Should Corporations Take Positions on Social, Political Issues?

Patch asks readers to weigh in.

When Tom Emmer ran for governor in 2010, the public soon found out Target Corporation had donated $150,000 to MN Forward, an organization that was running ads backing the candidate, who was adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Following the discovery, a movement to boycott Target sprang up from the streets to social media platforms. Target was adamant that it had donated cash to both sides of the aisle. Richfield-based Best Buy also donated to the organization that year, however, Target caught the brunt of criticism as the corporation had been seen as an ally for the LGBT community for years.

Now with Minnesota voters being asked to vote on whether to amend the state constitution to say marriage is between one man and one woman, Minnesota-based companies are speaking out. , and a Change.org campaign is asking Best Buy to do the same.

In addition, voters will face another ballot question regarding whether to require a Minnesota ID to vote. And, obviously, this is also a presidential election year, with many party endorsements from companies, organizations and prominent individuals being announced each week.

That said, a Patch reader recently asked on Facebook:

"Why do companies need to say anything when the company is made up of a cross section of the community?"

So now Patch asks you: Do you think corporations should take positions or make statements on political or social issues?

Take our poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Jennifer June 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM
It be nice if corporations stayed out of all politics, but that's not going to happen. Since private corporations choose to give big money to political campaigns and private political organizations, voters on both sides of the "aisle" are put in a position of having to work to win their support. Politics, unfortunately, are all about corporations with big money which desire a specific outcome or want political influence and wealthy political interests groups. If the desire of corporations happens to align with your personal views, then you're less likely to worry about the game. Right now, I'm elated that area companies are standing up against the anti-civil rights amendment coming up for a vote in November, but I was'nt happy with their previous positions last year.
Annie S. June 21, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I'd rather have them make a political statement than a political donation.
Jake Rappe June 21, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I personally don't care what a corporation does with its own money, ESPECIALLY one that is privately owned. I can no more tell Cargill what to do with their money than I could tell any of you what to do with yours. A publicly traded company has a little more at stake since they have to please their shareholders, so, if you own stock in a company that does something with your money that is not to your liking, bring it up at the shareholders' meeting, or sell your shares. As for boycotting, good luck, with over 300m Americans, does anybody think that enough of us are going to organize across the entire country over a political issue to make any kind of difference against Target, Best Buy, or any company that is that big? Give me a break. Everyone is welcome to make donations to whomever they will, be they business or private citizen. If you want to make a difference, do so at the poles in November.
marlene moore June 21, 2012 at 08:27 PM
If churches can take a position on social of political issues, corporations should be able to do that too.
Jeremy M June 23, 2012 at 03:32 PM
If a company wants to step forward to take a position on any issue, social or otherwise, they should be able to and then be prepared to run their business standing by that position, but the push by some consumers for certain corporations to be forced to take a position on the proposed Marriage amendment just seems odd to me. Why would a company need to take a position on this? And what does it gain the effort to defeat the amendment to have corporations take a position? In a legislative fight taking place inside the Capitol, where elected politicians are going to vote and decide, I would understand. But on this issue that ship has already sailed - those votes have already been cast. My knowing that Target, MedTronic, 3M or even Best Buy are for or against the amendment, or my lack of knowledge on their position isn't going to change how I vote in November. Also, I've heard that by opposing the amendment, the corporations are being told they will bring more talented applicants to MN, should the amendment fail. This seems like a bit of a stretch. Other states have gone down this road before. Has the workforce been enhanced in those states where a more expansive definition of Marriage has been adopted? Are white collar jobs on the rise? Higher median income? Home ownership? Anything to back up this claim? I'm asking honestly...
Kevin O'Donovan June 25, 2012 at 05:21 PM
If the Government and individuals can express their opinions why shouldn't the same be true for businesses, which are comprised of people? If the City Council can speak well or ill of a company, shouldn't a company have a right to express its perspective? The same should be true for churches and other tax exempt groups, without being threatened with the potential loss of their tax exempt status. We all want to have our Rights to Free Speech protected but we must first respect the rights of others, or else our own will be in peril.

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