National Organization Blasts General Mills' Marriage Stance
A national group opposed to gay marriage blasted Golden Valley-based General Mills' decision to oppose a marriage amendment in Minnesota, calling it "one of the dumbest corporate PR stunts of all time."
General Mills said Thursday it opposes a proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment to bay gay marriage, the largest company in the state to come out against the measure so far.
"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," Ken Charles, vice president of global diversity and inclusion for General Mills, wrote in a letter to employees and the public. "We value diversity. We value inclusion. We always have . and we always will."
“Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is profoundly in the common good, and it is especially important for children,” said Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage president. “General Mills makes billions marketing cereal to parents of young children. It has now effectively declared a war on marriage with its own customers when it tells the country that it is opposed to preserving traditional marriage, which is what the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment does.”
Minnesota already bans gay marriage by statute, but gay marriage opponents have said putting the ban in the state constitution would make it harder for courts to undo it. Voters will decide the issue in November.
Minnesota for Marriage, a main group pushing for the amendment's passage, accused General Mills of "pandering to a small but powerful interest group."
"By taking this position, General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all around the globe that marriage doesn't matter to them," Chairman John Helmberger said in a statement.
Executives from St. Jude Medical, RBC Wealth Management and Carlson Companies also have publicly opposed the proposal.
Businesses have found it can be risky to take sides on polarizing social issues. Target Corp. suffered a backlash two years ago after making a political donation to a Republican candidate for governor who opposed gay marriage. The company was criticized again earlier this month for selling gay pride T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat the gay marriage ban.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)