In a move that could add even more complexity to its history with the LGBT community, Target is now selling greeting cards honoring same-sex marriages.
As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting, the cards -- which are produced by Carlton Cards, a unit of American Greetings, and hit store shelves in June -- feature phrases like "Mr. & Mr." and "Two very special women, one very special love." The items began appearing on Target's card racks a month after the Minnesota-based retail giant controversially began selling T-shirts commemorating Gay Pride month.
"Target is focused on diversity and inclusivity," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Star-Tribune.
The news comes just a week after Target found itself in the headlines after deciding not to sell "Channel Orange," the critically acclaimed new album by R&B singer Frank Ocean. Though Target officials claimed the decision was purely a reaction to iTunes' one-week exclusive sale of the album, many wondered if the move had actually been prompted by Ocean coming out and revealing his first love was a man.
The brand's sale of Gay Pride T-shirts, which were only available online and not in stores, was also viewed by some as a half-hearted attempt at erasing past offenses, despite the fact that the company donated a portion of proceeds from the shirts to the Family Equality Council, an LGBT advocacy group.
In 2011, Lady Gaga nixed a deal with Target for an exclusive special edition of her "Born This Way" album after it was revealed that the brand had donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that was backing Tom Emmer's gubernatorial bid in Minnesota. Emmer was known for being especially conservative and not supporting equal rights for LGBT citizens.
Still, as NewsOK reported, the company has continued to be a major sponsor for the Pride festivities in Minneapolis, and also scores high on the Human Rights Campaign's corporate equality index, which rates businesses on workplace policies for LGBT employees.
"Target is not anti-gay," Michael Francis, Target's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told The Los Angeles Times. "It's important to set the record straight and provide some context."
Take a look at 25 brands and companies which have faced an anti-gay backlash below: