A US organisation opposed to marriage equality is calling on people around the world to boycott Starbucks over its support of equal marriage rights for gays.

The Dump Starbucks campaign has over 4,000 pledges of support so far and came about as a result of the company’s support for marriage equality in its home state of Washington.

It was announced yesterday by the National Organization for Marriage, which actively campaigns against equal marriage rights.

It asks coffee-drinkers to boycott the brand “because it has taken a corporate-wide position that the definition of marriage between one man and one woman should be eliminated and that same-sex marriage should become equally ‘normal’.”

In January, the Seattle-based hot drink titan said it was “proud” to join other Washington-based employers like Microsoft and Nike in supporting the equal marriage in the state.

The state legislature voted in favour of equal marriage rights for gay couples in February.

Brian Brown, NOM’s president said yesterday: “Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company.

“But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens.

“The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society.”

The initiative was announced after Jonathan Baker, the Director of NOM’s ‘Corporate Fairness Project’ asked the Starbucks board at its shareholders meeting whether they had had a say in such a “controversial” decision.

Howard Shultz, the coffee giant’s CEO said: “I would assure you that the senior team of Starbucks discussed it, and it was, to be candid with you, not something that was a difficult decision for us.”

Mr Baker later said: “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.”

The group will be launching an ad campaign to push consumers around the world to boycott the company in some of the 55 countries in which it operates.

It has also launched a petition to the CEO and Board of Directors of Starbucks which reads: “I am deeply offended by your corporate position to support same-sex marriage and your decision to wage a culture war against the moral views of half your US customers and the vast majority of your international consumers.

“Starbucks is using its resources to invalidate traditional marriage in the US and redefine the institution of marriage despite the strongly held views of so many of its customers, including me. Therefore, I will no longer purchase anything from Starbucks until you change your corporate values to be more reflective of my own.”