The groups lining up in support of and against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage are reacting to the announcement by General Mills CEO Ken Powell that the company will oppose the amendment.
General Mills Vice President Ken Charles wrote on the company’s blog that the company values inclusion.
“While General Mills doesn’t normally take positions on ballot measures, this is a business issue that impacts our employees. I am proud to see our company join the ranks of local and national employers speaking out for inclusion. We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy – and as a Minnesota-based company we oppose it. We value diversity. We value inclusion. We always have … and we always will.”
The move was quickly praised by Minnesotans United For All Families – a group working to defeat the amendment. Richard Carlbom, the group’s executive director, wrote this on his Twitter page when he learned of the news.
Eat your Wheaties! Just landed in Chicago and will be up all night excited that General Mills came out against the amendment! #VoteNo
— Richard Carlbom (@richardcarlbom) June 14, 2012
Carlbom also released a statement praising the company’s decision:
“The business case against this amendment is straightforward and powerful. General Mills’ decision to publicly oppose this hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment sends a clear message that neutrality on this amendment is simply not in Minnesota’s best interest. In order to keep our state a thriving and competitive place to live and do business, we must maintain our status as a national leader in attracting top talent. Doing so begins in November with the defeat of this amendment, and we’re proud to stand with General Mills and other Minnesota businesses – both big and small – in refusing to limit the freedom to marry for some committed couples in our state.”
The decision was panned by Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment. John Helmberger, chair of Minnesota for Marriage, released this statement:
“It is very disappointing that General Mills has decided to play PC politics by pandering to a small but powerful interest group that is bent on redefining marriage, the core institution of society.
Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation. The amendment is about preserving marriage and making sure that voters always remain in control over the definition of marriage in our state, and not activist judges or politicians.
By taking this position, General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all around the globe that marriage doesn’t matter to them.
Marriage is in the interest of children, because it is society’s best way to help children experience the ideal environment where they are raised by their mother and father. It’s ironic and regrettable that a corporation that makes billions marketing cereal to parents of children would take the position that marriage should be redefined.”
General Mills is the latest Minnesota based-business to speak out against the amendment. Carlson Companies Chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Medtronic CEO Bill George and RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft have all spoken out against the amendment.
Voters will decide in November whether the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.