I didn't know Target was involved in a suit against Canvass for a Cause, a group collecting signatures to legalize same-sex marriage by ballot initiative in California. Target is mad that they're collecting signatures outside Target stores and tried to get a restraining order against them while going into trial.
I'm not really clear on whether they're talking about canvassers working on Target property or on public land outside Target stores. Target's motion for a restraining order didn't limit itself to property that they own (it includes property they "control" and "operate"). And their incident reports sometimes say the canvassers were on Target property and sometimes cite the local penal code to tell them not to block the sidewalk, but mostly they don't specify whether the canvassers were on private property or not.
My guess is that if they actually owned this property they would have already called police on the canvassers and the restraining order would have been granted instead of rejected because "the right of free speech trumps over the business interests of Target," but I'm not sure.
What's interesting about this suit, other than the clear viewpoint discrimination Target is requesting (Target says they're only concerned that the canvassers are fundraising at the same time, but I have seen the Salvation Army aggressively soliciting with their non-stop bell-ringing in front of Targets), is a few of the prize quotes from Target's briefs. Like that they're worried people will think they're pro-gay:
"Some guests have told us that they are offended by the controversial pro-gay marriage messaging of the solicitors, and that they assume Target promotes the same view. One solicitor said that he will do everything he can to ensure that his friends and family also do not shop at Target anymore. One guest informed us that they were going to return everything they have bought because they were offended by the group. Many mothers with children have complained about the sensitive nature of the solicitors' messaging," Brown said in the document.
Now here I thought Target was pro-gay and always has been since it has been saying that repeatedly regarding their political contributions (which haven't stopped going to anti-gay candidates). Now why would they be arguing in court that it hurts their image to be seen as pro same-sex marriage if that's the sort of image they're trying to cultivate? It's not like they're trying to remain neutral on the institution of marriage, gay and straight, considering how they unabashedly promote opposite-sex marriage.
And this was funny:
In another document filed in court today, Target's attorneys noted that customer complaints about CFAC were "averaging eight-to-ten at one store with as many as twenty" at another store by people who felt "harassed ... intimidated, unsafe, or who were offended by Canvass for a Cause's political messaging."
I'd believe that. But then the sort of people who would complain about that are the same sort of people who feel "unsafe" when they stumble on And Tango Makes Three at the public library. Unless they've caught Canvass for a Cause volunteers brandishing weapons, following people home, or making threats, I'd take their complaints with a grain of salt.
The reason Target filed this suit is because this is LGBT advocacy. Even if it is private property or if Target has the right to exclude others from this land for some reason, they're still the ones who chose to allow the Salvation Army on their private property but not a same-sex marriage petition.