According to a report by Forbes, since having announced its financial support for Washington state’s referendum backing gay marriage, Starbucks has experienced a highly unusual decrease in national sales and earnings.

Last Wednesday at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting, when an investor dared to challenge CEO Howard Schultz by suggesting that perhaps Starbucks’ advocacy for gay marriage legislation just might be contributing to declining profits in the first quarter, Schultz lashed out:

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.”

Schultz’s intolerance and contempt for an opposing opinion was on full display in his disdainful response to a shareholder who supports a biblical view of marriage. Based on this very public scolding in front of hundreds of fellow shareholders, one can only surmise that Schultz holds similar contempt for Starbucks customers who also recognize marriage as a sacrament between one man and one woman.

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