Target has come under fire in the past from gay rights activists who threatened boycotts after the retailer along with Best Buy and 3M donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that supported Republican Tom Emmer, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, in the 2010 Minnesota governor's race.
Target has worked to win back customers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and has long offered benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.
Nearly all of Minnesota's biggest corporations declined to take a position on the 2012 state referendum to ban gay marriage except for General Mills, which opposed the ban. The referendum failed and the state Legislature passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriage in 2013.
Phil Duran, legal director of OutFront Minnesota, which worked to defeat the state's referendum to ban gay marriage, called Target "a powerful voice."
A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Family Council, which led the charge against gay marriage, predicted that the move will backfire.
"This is a very risky business decision and ultimately the wrong one because it is families that shop at Target," Autumn Leva told the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1qUU8DQ ). "People in Minnesota are still deeply divided on this issue."
The case in which Target has filed a brief combines legal actions in Wisconsin and Indiana. Federal judges overturned gay marriage bans in both states and state officials appealed. The case is scheduled for an Aug. 26 hearing in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com