A US Christian group is calling on religious followers to 'Dump Starbucks' because the coffee chain backs gay marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) says the global corporation has declared a 'culture war' after supporting same-sex marriage legislation in Washington State in January 2012.
An online petition has more than 1,600 pledges so far and urges people around the world to boycott Starbucks and complain to the manager of their branch about the chain's gay marriage stance.
'Corporations should not take sides in a culture war that pits a company against half the American people and nearly all its consumers in some international markets,' said NOM president Brian Brown, arguing that customers in many countries where the popular brew is sold are strongly opposed to gay marriage.
The anti-gay group will also launch an advertising campaign in the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Brown added: 'Starbucks may have been hoping that what happens in Seattle stays in Seattle, but we are going to make sure Starbucks customers, not only here but worldwide, know that drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee promotes gay marriage.'
In a statement released yesterday (21 March) NOM branded Starbucks 'liars', claiming the company's website claims to not support any political or religious cause.
The Dump Starbucks campaign follows a similar protest by The USA Christian Ministries group last month (February 2011), urging Americans to grab their morning brew elsewhere after an email obtained by The Seattle Times revealed Starbucks' support for gay marriage.
In the email sent to US business partners, Starbucks executive vice president of partner resources, Kalen Holmes, said: 'Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples.'
She continued: 'This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners.'