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General Mills opposes marriage amendment

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General Mills
General Mills' corporate campus, in Golden Valley.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

General Mills has come out in opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

General Mills has worked "for decades" to create an inclusive culture for employees and believes Minnesota should be welcoming as well, according to company spokesman Tom Forsythe.  

"We oppose the proposed constitutional amendment because we do not believe it is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy," he said.

Minnesota for Marriage, an organization supporting the same-sex marriage amendment, released a statement sharply criticizing General Mills for its position, saying it "thrust the company into a war against marriage that goes against the beliefs of an overwhelming majority of their customers and the best interest of their shareholders."

The group accused General Mills of "pandering to a small but powerful interest group" but stopped short of calling for a boycott of General Mills products.

Another organization supporting the same-sex marriage amendment had warned major Minnesota businesses to stay quiet on the issue. 

The Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage has written to big employers asking them not to take sides. But John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, has urged corporate executives to personally oppose the amendment. 

Carlson board chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson and former Medtronic CEO Bill George also have publicly opposed the amendment.

University of Minnesota marketing professor Akshay Rao believes more companies and business leaders will take stands on the amendment.

"I suspect the pressure on them to take a position is increasing," Rao said. "I suspect that CEOs of the various corporations talk to each other about a variety of subjects, and this is one that comes up."