Opponents of the marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot see natural allies in the state's prominent companies, long seen as integral to preserving the state's fabled quality of life. But the symbolic and financial firepower of companies like Target, General Mills and others with a history of supporting gay causes may not be so forthcoming.
The Associated Press contacted representatives for the 13 Minnesota-based Fortune 500 companies that currently offer domestic partner benefits — nearly three-quarters of the state's complete Fortune 500 roster — and only one, a spokeswoman for Little Canada-based medical device maker St. Jude Medical, said the company would publicly oppose the amendment.
That's not what amendment opponents might have hoped for. "It's our preference that employers who are committed to fairness and equality for all their employees would find opposing the amendment a reasonable position," said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, the national gay-rights group that's already engaging in Minnesota's battle.
... [but] Even St. Jude Medical, Ellingson said, would not donate money as a company to defeat the amendment.
Of the other 12 companies, representatives for eight told the AP their companies would not take a public position. Those companies are Target, General Mills, Best Buy, Supervalu, Land O'Lakes, Medtronic, Xcel Energy and Ecolab. The other four companies — 3M, Ameriprise Financial, UnitedHealth Group and U.S. Bancorp — did not respond to several inquiries.