Reporting Esme Murphy
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – One of Minnesota’s biggest companies has marched right into one of the most controversial issues on the November Ballot.
Golden Valley-based General Mills issued a statement saying it’s opposed to the Marriage Amendment that would ban same sex marriage.
Not surprisingly, the General Mills statement brought praise from supporters of gay marriage and sharp criticism from groups who are opposed.
Two years ago, when Target gave $150,000 to a group that was against gay marriage group there was a storm of criticism, a threatened boycott and Target was forced to apologize.
The company statement says, “We do not believe (the amendment) is in the best interest of our employees or our state economy.”
But Chuck Darrell, Communications Director for Minnesota for Marriage, which supports the amendment. Darrell said, “I think by taking this position General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all round the globe that marriage doesn’t matter to them.”
Darrell says they will not call for a boycott, but does say that the decision will hurt General Mills.
“It’s regrettable that a corporation that makes billions selling cereal to children should take a position that marriage should be redefined,” said Darrell.
However, a prominent gay marriage group, Minnesotans United For All Families, says more than 800 people have already signed their petition thanking General Mills.
“The business case on this is clear. In order to keep our state a competitive and thriving state — to do business — we need to be able to maintain our status as a national leader in attracting top talent,” said Kate Brickman.
The only other major Minnesota company to take a stand is St. Jude Medical, which also opposes the marriage amendment.
Target it is not taking sides, but has drawn fire from anti-gay marriage groups for selling T-shirts and donating proceeds to a gay rights group.
Nationally, companies that have taken sides have gotten mixed financial results.
The business of a North Carolina company. called Replacements LTD, suffered when it backed gay marriage earlier this year.
Also, when Starbucks announced its support for gay marriage in Washington state, there was first a call for a boycott then a groundswell of support for the popular chain.