The CEO of a major cereal company has expressed his opposition to the Minnesota marriage amendment at a business function centered on LGBT professionals. One traditional marriage supporter called the move a PR stunt.
General Mills CEO Ken Powell declared his opposition last week to the amendment that if approved by voters would be added to the constitution of the state where his company is headquartered. In response, Jonathan Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project at the National Organization for Marriage, told The Christian Post that General Mills' position was "one of the dumbest PR stunts I have ever seen."
"The proper business decision is to stay neutral so as to respect the diverse views of your employees, customers, communities in which you operate, and, for publicly traded companies, your shareholders," said Baker.
Tom Forsythe, vice president for corporate communications at General Mills, said in a statement that the company believed it was part of its longstanding policy of inclusiveness.
"For decades General Mills has worked to create an inclusive culture for our employees. We believe it is important for Minnesota to be viewed as inclusive and welcoming as well," said Forsythe.
"We oppose the proposed constitutional amendment because we do not believe it is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy."
Baker believes the cereal company made its decision based on personal political opinions rather than sound business principles.
"I believe that General Mills will pay the price for elevating politics over their business interests," he commented.
General Mills joins St. Jude Medical as the two companies based in Minnesota to have taken an anti-amendment stance. Most companies have pledged neutrality on the matter.
"In Minnesota, only General Mills and St. Jude Medical Center have publicly opposed the marriage amendment," said Baker.
"Those companies are dwarfed by the combined weight of corporations like 3M, U.S. Bancorp, CHS, Xcel Energy, and Ameriprise Financial who have all stated that they will be staying neutral in the culture war over Marriage."
When asked by CP if NOM or their affiliate Minnesotans for Marriage had any corporate support, Baker responded that his organization is intentionally not seeking such help.
"We are not seeking corporate support. Marriage is a matter of culture and not something that public corporations are equipped to weigh in on," said Baker.
"A corporation sells their product to people of all faiths, cultures, and persuasions. They have an obligation to serve these customers and the way to do that is not to insult their political, religious, or cultural beliefs."
Minnesotans are not the only voters who come November will be mulling over marriage definition. In Maryland and Washington state, voters will decide whether or not to keep the states' recently passed same-sex marriage legalization. A referendum will take place in Maine that if successful would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.