Offended anti-gay marriage group wants Starbucks stock dump

(Photo: Reuters / Beawiharta)People gather at a Starbucks coffee branch in Grand Indonesia mall in Jakarta Feb. 15, 2013. Indonesian consumers are increasingly opening their wallets, sustaining the country's solid economic growth, but some retailers worry the government may dash the good fortune by imposing restrictions on them. The government has made rules that limit the number of outlets that foreign franchised brands such as Starbucks can control. Authorities want retailers to sell more local goods. Picture taken Feb. 15, 2013.

The American Family Association is urging Christian shareholders to dump Starbucks after recent remarks by CEO Howard Schultz in support of same sex marriage.

"Christians and pro-family groups across the United States have contributed significantly to the economic success of Starbucks," said Tim Wildmon, American Family Association president.

"However we can certainly honor Mr. Schultz's request to take our business elsewhere," said Wildmon on behalf of his self-identified Christian group.

Wildmon refers to the annual shareholders conference Starbucks held last week where Schultz was confronted by a frustrated social issues shareholder.

When Tom Strobhar, a prominent Starbucks shareholder and founder of group that advocates marriage to be between a man and a women, accused the company's 2012 stance on same-sex marriage as causing a quarterly dip, Schultz's response was blunt.

" If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country," Schultz said. "You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company, thank you very much. "

Schultz's retort won applause in the room.

The response has angered the American Family Association, which this week has pointed to thousands of Bible study groups that meet in Starbucks locations across the country.

"The prospect for Starbucks's future growth due to faith-based individuals and groups across the country held great promise," Wildmon said.

"But due to Mr. Schultz's alienation of our beliefs, which he demonstrated through his blatant intolerant, politically charged actions, Christians will likely heed his advice."

Not all Christians agree with Wildmon's sentiments in regard to same-sex marriage.

Earlier this week Catholics marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Methodists, Episcopalians, Mormons, Muslims and other inner-faith supporters for gay marriage in Washington D.C.

The United For Marriage coalition, which is represented by more than 25 faith leaders, walked in unity for same-sex marriage in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday and Wednesday.

The group also organized events around the country to show an inner-faith support for marriage equality.

Other members in religious communities continue to support a different view of the Bible from Wildmon and the American Family Association.

"I think they are misinformed, " said Wendy Segreti, a former Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). " They try to think like God [which is] beyond human capacity and the people who try to do that are wrong."

Segreti believes those who do not support equal rights for all those God loves are misinterpreting the Bible.

She has also frequented Starbucks readily in recent months due to its support of same sex marriage.

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