Is Starbucks’ Support of Gay Marriage a Marketing Ploy?

August 27, 2012 — 1 Comment

Gay marriage and/or rights has been a recent controversy within Christian circles. While many still believe that homosexual behavior and feelings are against God’s will, others believe the exact opposite. But, it isn’t just Christians talking about same sex marriage. In fact, in the past few months major corporations have joined the conversation in support of Gay marriage. Starbucks has officially joined the conversation, supporting gay marriage in Washington. As a result, social networks have flooded with either support for or against Starbucks.

Why Starbucks’ Support for Same Sex Marriage is Important to Some

To say that this topic has polarized Christian groups would probably be an understatement. Despite the validity of each position, I would like to focus on the recent events, with particular attention to the undying support of Starbucks as a result of their stance on gay marriage. Whether you would identify yourself as part of this group, there is a large group of progressive or liberal (to apply restricting labels) Christians who are in favor of same sex marriage and rights. It is their belief that equality is a fundamental aspect of Christianity and the only way to promote this is through equal rights on all fronts. These groups and churches often focus more on social justice issues than anything else.

As a result of the recent stir around Starbucks’ support, many of said Christians expressed their undying support of Starbucks’ action via facebook, twitter, and any other popular social networks. Truth be told, I was inundated from these to social networks by numerous people – regardless of Christian affiliation (or lack there of). For those in support of these corporations’ stance on this legislation, it is often in response to the hostility that gay and lesbians have received. Therefore, support of Starbucks action is not about a corporation or some legal issue, but the person or persons who have been harassed by others. It is a bold claim that no one deserves to be treated this way.

What does Support of Starbucks Pro Gay Marriage Stance Mean?

Regardless of the reasons behind this issue (especially within Christianity), I can’t help wonder the motivation behind corporations actions to support such rivaled issued. Why would Starbucks want to support a cause that could lose them business? As a business, whose mindset is to earn a large profit for them and their shareholders, is it really about the issue?

While I would like to see that major corporations and businesses actually care about social issues, my hunch is that marketing experts know this. Starbucks has long faced criticism for its failure to abide by fair trade regulations. I believe they have learned their lesson they can no longer sit on the sidelines while legislation that affects the society is being played out. Instead, by playing an active role in this issue, they not only jump to the forefront of the media, but also gain back some of that mistrust with those still upset by their decision to ignore fair trade regulations.

We all know that politics is a game of hot-button issues. When you ask people who they are voting for in the upcoming elections or what party they will vote, many people have now learned to reply with one simple sentence…

“I vote according to the issues”

Whether we want to recognize it or not, this is what I believe is being carried out here. Starbucks is in need of public support and this is an easy way to do it. While it may push some business away, it will most likely gain support of former Starbucks protesters and increase revenue. Unfortunately, the motivation of greed is a strong force and continues to play a larger influence in political affiliations.

Readers, why do you think Starbucks is supporting such a debated issue? Is it out of genuine interest or do they haveĀ ulteriorĀ motives.



Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

One response to Is Starbucks’ Support of Gay Marriage a Marketing Ploy?

  1. Doesn’t Starbucks make coffee? Why do they need to comment on social issues?

    Just saying.

    Maybe it does have to do with marketing.

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