Groups react to General Mills’ opposition to marriage amendment

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.

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.

  • Diane Kay Burns

    It is with great pride that I will continue to buy the high quality products from a MN company that embraces inclusion. We are not here to tell people what makes up a family. There are many children raised by same sex partners that are intelligent, repectful, loving and just as “normal” as my children from a marriage of a man and a woman. Many partners have been together for years in loving relationships. We are not the judge and jury of what constitutes a family.

  • jdb

    I take issue with the idea that General Mills is “pandering to a small but powerful interest group” as Minnesota for Marriage Claims. This claim is similar to ones used against some other minority groups in the past to justify limiting the freedoms of members of those groups. The implication here is that gays are wealthy, small in number, and the only force driving this campaign to defeat an exclusionary amendment.

    None of that is true. Demographically, we are actually less likely to earn as much as straight men than straight women are. And let’s count openly gay Fortune 100 CEOs shall we? Let’s see… there’s Tim Cook of Apple… and that’s it.

    And since when have numbers been the key metric by which we decide to limit the freedom of others? Is a group inherently less capable of love and commitment because they are small in number? For that matter, why is Minnesota for Marriage ignoring the large shift in popular sentiment, which seems to indicate more people are AGAINST this freedom-limiting amendment than for it.

    Fully 2/3s of the employees at Minnesotans United for All Families are straight. Of course, the 100% straight folks at Minnesota for Marriage would like you to believe that the selfish, activist gays are the only people behind Minnesotans United, but that’s simply not true. Not that they’re above twisting the truth, as is amply indicated by their obsession with the idea that gays are a politically powerful and wealthy force. We are not. As is evidenced by the fact that this amendment is on the ballot at all.

  • Ken

    Well, Geeneral Mills just lost 6 customers in this household. When you have ignorant CEO’s like Ken Charles supporting gay marriage because it’s “beneficial” to his business, his company deserves to take a thumping in the market. when this information gets around, it will be interesting to see how much of a drop in sales General Mills experiences.