Starbucks vs. Chick-fil-A


Two CEOs, two opposing positions on same-sex “marriage,” two similar results? I doubt it.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind CV readers of the Chick-fil-A controversy. Just the fact that it has the label “controversy” tells you something.

mug by trekkyandyAt a Starbuck’s annual shareholders meeting on March 20th, CEO Howard Schultz responded to shareholder Thomas Strobahr, founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, who brought up Starbuck’s support for Washington’s gay “marriage” referendum and said “In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing.” Schultz expanded the data range and argued that Starbucks “did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year.” Perhaps you could score one for Schultz, though statisticians may quibble.

Later, Schultz defended the company’s support of the referendum thusly:

“We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”

At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause. Then Schultz concluded, “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.” More cheers.

So Schultz embraces diversity, of all kinds, except those who support natural marriage?

We shall see if bigoted Christian mayors throughout the U.S. threaten to keep Starbucks from opening in their towns. We shall see if the walls of Starbucks are tagged with anti-gay slurs. We shall see if the Starbucks CEO telling supporters of natural marriage to go elsewhere even makes mainstream news.

And no, I’m not just writing this because I dislike coffee.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Tim Shaughnessy is a cradle Catholic living in Shreveport, Louisiana with undergraduate degrees in economics and political science from Kalamazoo College, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University. He teaches economics at the undergraduate and graduate level, and is a faculty advisor for the campus Catholic student organization. He has worked at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and was the first managing editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality while an undergraduate. He also worked for Representative Harold Voorhees in the Michigan state legislature. He serves the parish RCIA program as a sponsor and lecturer, and is active in parish and diocesan pro-life activities.

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