General Mills, one of America’s leading corporations is taking a progressive and socially responsible stand by opposing a ban on marriage equality in the State of Minnesota, which will be on a ballot measure before voters in the November elections
A group calling itself Minnesota for Marriage, widely believed to be a surrogate of the rabidly anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage (NOM), held the first of what it hopes will be a week of “Dump General Mills” rallies nationwide Tuesday. About 70 protesters gathered across from the Fortune 500 Company’s Golden Valley, Minnesota headquarters over the lunch hour, holding homemade signs urging anti-gay sympathizers to drop off unopened boxes of cereal or other General Mills products which will be donated to charity.
The General Mills Corporation is opposed to banning same-sex marriage which has been placed on the electoral ballot as a referendum for voters in November.
Employees of General Mills responded to protesters by offering them coffee or ice water with slices of lemon.” There would have been cookies too, except the protesters said they’d accept them only to add to the smattering of “dumped” food they had collected. It’s the neighborly thing to do,” Tom Forsythe spokesman for General Mills explained the unexpected hospitality. “I was raised as a Minnesotan, and when people drop by your house, you put on coffee, so that’s what we did.”
Brian Brown, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage took a decidedly different tone, saying in statement that can certainly be described as overblown: “Now, rather than seeing the flowing ‘G’ trademark as a symbol of General Mills, consumers across the world will equate that symbol with gay marriage.” After the rally NOM announced they would launch a nationwide boycott and introduced their new website–www.DumpGeneralMills.com–erasing any doubt about who is pulling the strings behind Minnesota for Marriage’s campaign.
General Mills CEO Ken Powell brought down the wrath of NOM earlier this month when he announced the company’s opposition of the Minnesota marriage inequality amendment. Powell backed his words with a $10,000 check to Minnesotans United For All Families, a group leading the fight to defeat the amendment. Although a few pro-General Mills supporters showed up independently at Tuesday’s protest, Minnesotans for All Families chose not to stage a counter protest. Instead, the group collected 7000 signatures to a letter thanking General Mills for their support.
Many business savvy observers feel it is in General Mills’ self-interest to oppose the Minnesota marriage inequality amendment. Such laws have been shown to hurt business’ ability to recruit talented employees, who, even if they aren’t gay themselves, prefer to live in more tolerant, diverse communities. General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe seemed to echo that sentiment in a statement to the press: “As a Minnesota-based company, we believe it is important for Minnesota to be viewed as inclusive and welcoming as well,” adding “General Mills has worked to create an inclusive culture for our employees for decades.”