General Mills gets outpouring of support for marriage equality stance

General Mills' corporate campus in Golden Valley, Minn.

General Mills' corporate campus in Golden Valley, Minn.

A petition in support of Minnesota-based Company General Mills by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, has received nearly five times more signatures than an anti-equality petition launched by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

HRC launched the petition last week after General Mills CEO Ken Powell announced the company opposed Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

General Mills' corporate campus in Golden Valley, Minn.

To date, more than 70,000 people have signed HRC’s petition as well as another petition by the Minnesotans United campaign supporting the cereal giant.

In contrast, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage launched a petition denouncing General Mills, which so far has been backed by only 17,000 people – nearly five times fewer than HRC’s and MN United’s petitions.

“General Mills took a bold stand in support of equality for all Minnesota families and it’s paying off,” said HRC Workplace Project Director Kathryn Friedman. “With five times the number of signatures, it’s clear that American consumers are sending a strong message that equality is good for business.”

General Mills, a Fortune 500 company based in Golden Valley, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, markets more than 100 leading food brands in the U.S. and world-wide, including Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Häagen-Dazs, and Cheerios.

NOM president Brian Brown has predicted that the General Mills’ opposition to the anti-gay amendment “will go down as one of the dumbest corporate PR stunts of all time.”

“We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy,” said Ken Charles, the company’s vice president for global diversity and inclusion.

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

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

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