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NOM livid over General Mills’ opposition to Minnesota marriage amendment

Saturday, June 16, 2012
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Food giant General Mills this week took a stand against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Chief executive Ken Powell voiced the company’s opposition Wednesday at a General Mills function attended by 400 gay and lesbian professionals, followed Thursday by a letter from Ken Charles, the company’s vice president for global diversity and inclusion, reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy,” Charles wrote. “We value diversity. We value inclusion.”

General Mills, known for popular breakfast brands such as Cheerios and Yoplait, added “as a Minnesota-based company we oppose it.”

The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage responded Thursday, accusing General Mills of declaring a “war on marriage.”

“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,” said NOM president Brian Brown.

Brown predicted that the General Mills position “will go down as one of the dumbest corporate PR stunts of all time.”

“It’s ludicrous for a big corporation to intentionally inject themselves into a divisive social issue like gay marriage. It’s particularly dumb for a corporation that makes billions selling cereal to the very people they just opposed,” Brown said.

General Mills is the second major Minnesota-based company to come out against the amendment, which will be on the November ballot.

Medical device maker St. Jude Medical first expressed opposition, as have Carlson Chairwoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Medtronic CEO Bill George and longtime Minneapolis businessman and politician Wheelock Whitney.

The NOM and its supproters are are currently boycotting Seattle-based Starbucks because the coffee titan opposed a similar amendment also on the ballot in Washington state.

A “Thank You Starbucks” web campaign has received more than 650,000 supporters, while the NOM’s “Dump Starbucks” campaign has received fewer than 45,000 supporters.

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