With great fanfare, Starbucks raised the rainbow “pride” flag over their Seattle headquarters, to honor Seattle Pride 2014. We can expect this from a company whose CEO, Howard Schultz, famously told a shareholder who questioned the financial efficacy of taking sides in the culture war, specifically gay marriage:
“Not every decision is an economic decision….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 in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
For those companies and CEO’s who have taken a position against gay marriage, no matter what context, no matter how long ago, no matter how private, like Chik-Fil-A’s Dan Cathy, Mozilla.org’s Brendan Eich, and small businessman Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, the financial, legal, and personal costs of that position are very real.
Only one side of this culture war is celebrated in the liberal press and by our current White House occupants, who, you may remember, flew the same flag over two embassies in the last few months. There’s only one difference between Starbucks and our embassies flying the rainbow colors: the embassies kept the Stars & Stripes flying above the rainbow flag, while Starbucks took down the American flag and replaced it with the rainbow flag.
Anthony Hesseltine, the Starbucks employee who advanced the idea for the “pride flag” said
It was more difficult for me to find and purchase the flag than it was to get people in the building to support the idea of flying the Pride flag.
Maybe he should have asked the Obama administration for theirs.