In the final weeks before the election, we’ve seen numerous organizations, newspapers and businesses take a stand against the mean-spirited marriage amendment.
The below letter from Cummins, Inc. was shared by Minnesotans United for All Families today. In the letter, Tony Satterthwaite makes it clear that Cummins, Inc. believes a No vote is in the best interest of Minnesota:
Minnesota Marriage Amendment
October 18, 2012
At Cummins, diversity is a core company value. Diversity means our individual differences never have to be checked at the door. The leadership at Cummins has long argued that diversity creates a stronger and more competitive work environment, and ultimately helps us attract and retain top talent.
We have a history of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. Our leaders championed the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, we stood up against Apartheid in the 1980’s and in 2000, due in large part to feedback from our Minnesota employees, Cummins began offering domestic partner benefits, despite opposition. Simply put, Cummins strives to ensure all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
However, here in the state where we work and live, a battle to stifle diversity continues to be waged. SF 1308, which is commonly reffered to as the Marriage Amendment, is on the ballot in the form of a referendum this November. This amendment to the Minnesota Constitution would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only. Current polling in Minnesota indicates that the vote on the Marriage Amendment will be very close, and could go either way.
Cummins strongly believes this amendment is bad for Minnesota, and Cummins is playing a key role among Minnesota businesses to defeat this amendment. The Marriage Amendment will negatively impact business in Minnesota by sending a message of intolerance and lack of respect for people of diverse backgrounds. Cummins understands that embracing the diverse perspectives of all people with different backgrounds makes our company stronger and more competitive.
Minnesota has traditionally been a good place for Cummins to do business. We expect our impact on Minnesota’s economy will grow as we add high-paying jobs to the job market in the future. However, the marriage amendment will create a less welcoming environment making it more difficult for companies like ours to attract and retain the top talent we need. Cummins wants to grow in Minnesota. Cummins wants an environment that respects all people. Cummins wants people to come to Cummins and to Minnesota because of our values and because of our welcoming communities. The Marriage Amendment runs counter to what people deserve and what Cummins values.
For these important reasons, Cummins is firmly opposed to the Marriage Amendment.
Vice President, Cummins Inc.
President, Cummins Power Generation, a division of Cummins Inc., based in Minnesota employing nearly 2,000 people in the state.
See a copy of the letter here:
Source: Minnesotans United
When all is said and done, those businesses that stood on the right side of history – and took a stand for equality – will be remembered.
Recently, one of my colleagues snapped this picture and emailed it to me:
Of course, I was excited to jump online and recognize pacifier for standing up for equality. As I was getting ready to write this post, I searched for their Facebook page so that I could link to it here, and what I saw shocked me:
Not only is this business taking a visible stand for equality in their stores, they also offered to donate all proceeds of sales during the above weekend to Minnesotans United for All Families. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!
- Patronize the business online or in store. Let the owners know that you appreciate their support of equality for all Minnesotans
- Like the business on Facebook. As of today, the business has over 4,500 likes. Let’s show them some more love!
- Send the owners a personal note of thanks.
- Reblog this post or share a link on Facebook to build awareness and support for this local business.
Google employees recently recorded a video in support of marriage equality for the four states facing ballot measures in November. According to the video posted on Google’s “lifeatgoogle” channel:
This November, there are 4 states with marriage referendums on the ballot. Google employees show their support for marriage equality and urge you to add your voice, too. Visit http://www.TheFour.com to learn more.
In the video, Google employees encourage viewers to take a stand for marriage equality:
There are millions of people fighting for the right to marry and it’s important we support them.
Many thanks to Google for standing up for my rights and for the rights of Minnesotans!
PS- For those Minnesota-based businesses that haven’t taken a stand against the marriage amendment, this is who you’re competing against for your talent. This amendment not only negatively impacts real Minnesotans, it will also impact our ability to recruit and retain world-class talent. Trust me on this one.
A wonderful full-page ad from October 28, 2012 Star Tribune.
Source: Minnesotans United for All Families’ Facebook Page
Late last week, the Star Tribune shared how the Minneapolis-based Carmichael Lynch ad agency organized a “Vote No” event. According to Doug Spong, president of Carmichael Lynch:
If we hang a big unwelcome sign on the state of Minnesota, a certain segment of the population will no longer view Minnesota as an inclusive, diverse, tolerant, welcoming state. It’s going to cost us people. It’s going to cost us talent.
I’ve made the business case against this mean-spirited amendment on this blog many times. Now there’s a fancy ad agency backing it up!
Many thanks to Carmichael Lynch for standing up for equality and businesses in Minnesota!
In August, Randi Luoto wrote a letter to the editor in which she shares a survey she conducted on job-satisfaction issues:
Results showed that gay employees, all self-identified and anonymous in the research, felt less job satisfaction and commonly yearned for two things: 1) to feel comfortable keeping a photo of their loved one on their desk, and 2) to engage more, with coworkers, in casual chitchat, such as being asked what they had done the past weekend or planned to do the next one.
In the letter, Luoto goes on to share that these are small things that most take for granted every single day. Voters in Minnesota will decide whether or not committed and loving same-sex couples should be able to celebrate their love in less than two weeks. Those small things suddenly have become really big.
Make no mistake, if this mean-spirited amendment passes, gay and lesbian citizens of Minnesota will feel “less than” their heterosexual counterparts. It’s not rhetoric or any sort of gay agenda, it’s a fact. If you vote to amend the constitution to limit my rights and freedoms, I will feel less than you.
And, like many of my friends and fellow colleagues, I will leave Minnesota. Maybe not on November 7th, but eventually we will leave. This shouldn’t be interpreted somehow has a threat to help defeat the amendment, rather, it’s a reality for many gays and lesbians (and even some allies). For my friends that have adopted children together or have gotten married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, they don’t want to have to worry about what passing a constitutional amendment means for their rights. As someone who one day hopes to get married, I don’t want the constant reminder that I’m less than my neighbor.
Thanks to Randi Luoto for reminding us that this is not just a human rights issue, it’s also a retention and recruiting issue as well. I appreciate the fact that Mrs. Luoto is willing to stand up for my equality and the equality of Minnesotans just like me.
I love my home and I love this state. Please don’t take that away from me. On November 6, please join me in voting NO.
For those of you that missed it this past week, Nordstrom adds their name to the growing list of businesses that have spoken out in favor of marriage equality:
With respect to our gay and lesbian employees, Nordstrom was an early adopter of adding sexual orientation to our anti-discrimination policy, which means we guarantee the same legal rights and protections in our workplace to gay and lesbian employees just as we do for other employees regardless of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical, mental or sensory disability, and gender identity.
We feel the next step in this journey is to now support freedom to marry, also called marriage equality. There is a lot of awareness of this issue across the country and we’ve heard from many employees and customers. We gave this thoughtful consideration and felt the time was right to come out in support of this civil rights issue. It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as our other employees.
Blake Nordstrom, President, Nordstrom, Inc
Pete Nordstrom, President of Merchandising, Nordstrom
Erik Nordstrom, President of Stores, Nordstrom
To read the complete letter and to see GLAAD’s coverage, check out GLAAD’s blog.
Nordstrom joins the likes of Starbucks, Google, Amazon.com, Microsoft, T-Mobile, REI, Nike and many other Washington businesses that support marriage equality.
While I probably won’t be visiting Peapods in St. Paul anytime soon (no need for baby supplies for this blogger!), I want to make sure I recognize the owners for taking a stand against the mean-spirited amendment.
Owners Dan Marshall and wife Millie Adelsheim have a “Vote NO” sign in their window that faces Como Avenue and sell rainbow flags in the store.
When asked, Dan had this to say about supporting equality in Minnesota:
[Opposing the marriage amendment] speaks so clearly to the values we’ve chosen as a store. We want to treat all families equally and be a friendly, embracing store.
When other local businesses have come out in support of equality, I’ve encouraged readers of this blog to do one of four simple things to express appreciation:
- Patronize the business online or in store. Let Dan and Millie know that you appreciate their support of equality for all Minnesotans
- Like the business on Facebook. As of today, the business has nearly 2,500 likes. Let’s show them some more love!
- Send the owners a personal note of thanks.
- Reblog this post or share a link on Facebook to build awareness and support for this local business.
Together, let’s send a message to Minnesota-based businesses: Standing up for equality is indeed good for business!
Note: For those that may be in the market for baby supplies or alternative toys, here’s a little more about the business from their website:
Our store is an alternative toy and baby supply store. We offer a huge selection of great products. We offer baby slings, cloth diapers and wraps, wooden toys, puzzles, silk toys, toys made from recycled plastic, dress up wear, stuffed animals, finger puppets, dolls, dollhouses, toy trains, and a lot more really really neat stuff. Nearly everything is made of natural woods and fibers–no batteries or vinyl toys.
In case you didn’t already know about how I feel about Hell’s Kitchen supporting equality…
Well now the restaurant has done it again! They’ve announced a Vote NO Rally on Thursday, November 1st via their Facebook page. As you can see, this Minneapolis business not only supports equality, they’re actively standing up to help make positive change in the community!
Mark your calendars now for this event. And if you can’t make it on November 1st, stop by Hell’s Kitchen between now and then to say “thank you” for the owners’ continued work to help us defeat this mean spirited amendment! Thanks, Hell’s Kitchen, for voting NO!
I would like to commend you for taking a stand on discrimination of any kind in the workplace.
General Mills Shareholder, September 24, 2012
Source: Star Tribune
General Mills held its annual company meeting today with shareholders. At the meeting, there was both both support and criticism voiced for the company taking a public stand opposing the mean-spirited marriage amendment.
CEO, Ken Powell, once again reiterated the company’s opposition to the amendment, stating that General Mills sees this as an issue that would negatively impact their business:
We see it as a business issue that’s not good for our state, our employees and our company. We did not do it as a public relations move.
I’ve said it multiple times on this site, but it’s worth repeating again and again: Thank you, General Mills.
To see the text from Ken Powell’s announcement back in June, click here.
In yesterday’s Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten penned an opinion piece in which she makes the following claim:
At corporations like Target and General Mills, employees who believe children need a mother and father increasingly fear that making their views clear could threaten job advancement.
As a Target Team Member, I was shocked to read this claim made in such a public forum. I took to our internal microblogging tool (think Twitter) immediately and shared the link encouraging Communications to contact the author about using Target’s name while making such an absurd claim.
First, our executive committee, board and senior leadership team are made up of primarily heterosexual men and women. While we may have some diversity in the upper ranks, representation for LGBT leaders is limited (or at least the ones that feel comfortable enough to be out). There are a handful of senior leaders that attend one or two LGBTA Business Council events throughout the year, as they would any other business council.
Second, Target’s Christian Network is sponsored by a member of the Executive Committee. This individual reports directly into Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target Corporation. The Christian Network regularly posts Bible versus, conducts Bible Studies at work and has actively encouraged the reporting of any “social” or “political” statements at work. There have been multiple negative repercussions as a result of this action. I will not go into detail here how LGBTA team members have been impacted, but let me say: if anyone is “threaten[ed]” at work for their beliefs, it is those that oppose this mean-spirited amendment. With nearly 1,000 team members part of the Christian network, the claim made by this author, once again, seems absurd.
Third, openness is a cornerstone to Target’s culture. We have open door policies that encourage team members to have conversations with each other. However, in the case of same-sex equality, certain networks have explicitly stated to their team members not to discuss this topic. Per the above, instead, they recommend the filing of complaints. This is opposite to the culture that we promote, and, I would argue, damaging to every team member. Please don’t make a claim that your views could threaten your job advancement, when in reality, you refuse to even engage in the conversation and instead, work to punish those that do.
It’s clear that there are individuals who will continue to work to ensure the conversation around same-sex equality is stopped – whether they use techniques internally, or they take to public forums like this author has done. The whole situation saddens me as diversity and inclusion are true cornerstones to Target’s culture. It’s one of the reasons why I joined this great organization. I know that, together we can figure out how to navigate this topic. If we remain divided, though, we all lose.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council and Christian Network. The views expressed in this post are my own and are no way affiliated with Target Corporation.
In June, General Mills came out in support of equality and encouraged Minnesota to vote NO on the mean-spirited marriage amendment. Today, I’m happy to report that the “Dump General Mills” boycott put on by Minnesota for Marriage had no impact on company performance. Both sales and profits rose for the quarter and General Mills shared that the results were “a little bit better than we’d planned.”
Not only have sales and profits increased, but the stock price is up five percent since mid-June as well! With all of that said, Carlton Marketing Professor, Akshay Rao, had this to say:
To make a connection between an earnings report and a particular social phenomenon is very difficult. … What you can infer, based on how quiet everything has been since the initial flurry of protests and counterprotests, is that the issue pretty much lost steam. And I think there’s been a good reason for that.
Ok, so with my Business background, I’d probably have to agree. However, it sure is sweet to see sales and profits rise despite rallies and boycotts put on by Minnesota for Marriage.
More evidence that standing up for what is right doesn’t cause the backlash some may fear. Now I ask: Where are you other Minnesota-based companies? The water out here is really nice; I think it’s time to jump in to vote NO!
The business case against this amendment is clear – as nearly 200 businesses of all sizes from across Minnesota have made their opposition to this amendment clear by joining our coalition.
Minnesotans United for All Families press release
Response to Room & Board joining a growing list of Minnesota-based businesses standing up for equality and speaking out against the marriage amendment.
I’ve said before that it would be great if every day between now and the election I could post a story about another organization or business coming out against the mean-spirited marriage amendment… Last week, Minneapolis-based Room & Board spoke out. Here’s what they had to say:
Room & Board is dedicated to helping customers create homes they love. We recognize that the joy found in one’s home extends far beyond our surroundings to the people with whom we spend our lives. To that end, we have long supported efforts dedicated to strengthening home and family. We oppose the amendment to the Minnesota Constitution banning marriage for same-sex couples.
Each and every day we celebrate diversity. We take pride in providing a progressive, balanced and positive work environment that is based on trust, fairness and respect. This core philosophy shapes the relationships we have with our customers, vendor partners and employees.
Our holistic wellness approach supports the well-being of our employees and their loved ones. We have offered domestic partnership benefits for nearly 20 years. Please join us in recognizing the strength of inclusion by voting ‘No’ this November.
Source: Yahoo News
We’re sure going to have a lot of restaurant eating to do! Earlier this week, I blogged about Hell’s Kitchen and their very public stance around supporting a NO vote.
Now another restaurant is encouraging Minnesotans to vote NO on the mean-spirited marriage amendment. According to their Facebook Cover Graphic, Birchwood Cafe supports marriage equality here in Minnesota and everywhere else. It’s great to see more and more businesses in Minnesota standing on the right side of history and encouraging voters to do the right thing in NOvember. Thanks, Birchwood Cafe!