One of the first business leaders to speak out against the proposed marriage amendment took her case to students at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota today.
Carlson Chairman Marilyn Carlson Nelson said the amendment would be bad for businesses trying to attract the best employees. Carlson Nelson called equality for gays and lesbians "the human rights struggle of this generation."
The former CEO of Carlson Companies was one of the first business leaders to publicly oppose the amendment to define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between one man and one woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage.
However, supporters of the amendment rejected Carlson Nelson's case. Minnesota for Marriage spokeswoman Autumn Leva said amendments that define marriage don't hurt business.
"With her own company, her premiere brand are the Radisson Hotels and as of this year, 65 percent of those are in states with marriage amendments similar to Minnesota's," said Leva. "For her, clearly, business is thriving in states with marriage amendments already in place."
Carlson Nelson said many businesses have already taken a stand on equality for gays and lesbians in their benefit plans.
"Nearly 300 businesses, including the University of Minnesota and a majority of our state's Fortune 500 companies, grant partner health benefits," Carlson Nelson said. "Businesses choose to do this because we know that creating a work environment that is welcoming, fair and values all employees is key."