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.
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.