Seattle-based caffeine cartel Starbucks gave its blessing this week to approve Referendum 71, thereby recognizing that gay couples deserve the same morning coffee rights as their groggy, heterosexual counterparts. In a statement, the company said that approving R-71 "ensures that basic benefits and important protections are not taken away from committed couples, so they are able to take care of each other, especially in times of crisis." Starbucks wants voters to approve the measure "because it is aligned with our business practices, providing domestic partner benefits, and one of our core values of treating people with respect and dignity.”
It's hard to say how much impact the endorsement has, as the company didn't donate to the Approve R-71 campaign. But a spokeswoman—who said she couldn't be named or CEO Howard Schultz would force her to drink sweet tea for a week—said the company did notify its "partners" (employees) through its "internal partner portal" (website) about the endorsement. The company has 3,000 employees in its Seattle headquarters and maintains 667 stores in Washington state. Needless to say, that's a big chunk of voters. "That is just as valuable as when an organization communicates its endorsement to members," says Approve R-71 campaign manager Josh Friedes. "We are just delighted to have their endorsement along with Microsoft, Boeing, Nike, and many other companies that employ large numbers of people in the Pacific Northwest."