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Poll: Should Companies Take Positions on Social Issues?

Thomson Reuters and General Mills are among the Minnesota companies taking a stand against the Minnesota marriage amendment. What do you think?

Should businesses stay out of politics, or should they feel perfectly comfortable taking stands on controversial issues?

That's the question a lot of Minnesotans are debating in the wake of last week's decision by Thomson Reuters, which operates a large legal-publishing division in Eagan, to oppose the constitutional marriage amendment on this fall's Minnesota ballot.

Thomson Reuters isn't the first company to take such a step. A similar annoucement by General Mills prompted talk of a boycott against the famed Golden Valley food company, as well as expressions of support from amendment opponents.

Aside from debate over the amendment itself, there's the question of whether companies such as Thomson or General Mills have any business inserting themselves into political/social issues. Please let us know what you think, and explain your position in the comments below.

In related news from around the region:

Donald Lee July 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Mr. Emmer is not "anti-Gay". Not all homosexuals *want* to see state sanctioned marriage. Marriage involves significant issues where the law touches on culture and morality. The bulk of that law is concerned with children, and what happens to them and their parents' property when the marriage ends. Boiling this down to "pro" or "con" characterizations is simpleminded and not helpful..
Donald Lee July 18, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I am not currently running for office. I defend my freedom - and yours - out of conviction. I can't speak for all Republicans, but I know many who share my conviction.
Todd July 18, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Orono, Thanks. While I would suspect the majority of political votes (presidential, senate, Gov, etc,) are based on “feelings” (sad, but true), I don’t believe that The Supreme Court or a criminal court for that matter is voting based on “feelings”. At least they are not supposed to and if they did that would be illegal. Instead, they are using logic and interpreting the law, not their personal belief system. So, that’s what I mean when I say it’s irrelevant what you and I think and feel when voting on a legal matter. We can go back and forth about this but ultimately the gay marriage issue will go to the Supreme Court and you and I won’t be voting on it and even if we were, we still could bring our bisasis to the table. Your example proves undoubtedly that people vote politically based on feelings. Jesse sure did “…shock the world”. I still remember that speech and being completely shell shocked that I had to wake my wife up in the wee hours of the morning to tell her. Not only was I shocked, but I learned that night you can’t take polls at face value; Just like many have done with this article/poll ( according to the pollsters, there wasn’t a chance in hell that Jesse could win). And according to this poll, many don’t think it’s a social issue, but a legal issue.
Todd July 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Carbon Bigfuut 12:33 pm on Monday, July 16, 2012 Susan, there is no requirement in MN or WI to purchase or own a handgun. the right to own firearms is a right defined in the US Consittution. There certainly are requirements to purchase a gun and lets be happy that there are. Even if you pass all the requirements and choose to own a gun, this so called right can be stripped of you for numerous reasons. Can you say felony or mental health issues….those are just two examples that come to mind that would prevent or strip you of the privilege to own a gun.
Todd July 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I’m not sure what your position is Trish, but I do agree that we have the right to disagree and voice our opinions. Indiviuals and businesses. Thankfully when we can’t work out our disagreements we have a legal system to help us based on our laws. Ultimately this “social issue” will become a discrimination issue and be heard by the supreme court.
Donald Lee July 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM
It's a dry read, but I encourage everyone to read these important SCOTUS opinions. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf The justices are very human, and do indeed bring their opinions to their work. The traditional ideal of a judge, suggested in the oath they take, is that they would dispense "impartial" justice, but I believe that agendas have trumped the plain meaning of the law in many cases. Like it or not, the courts are subject to popular pressure and politically appointed. They are political appointees in black robes. The opinions are real eye-openers, if you read both the opinions, and all the dissent sections. The prejudices and agendas of the justices are usually put on full display. If you care about these issues, you should not rely on others to read these central documents for you.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Orono, we agree on what "should" be done, but I am not sure we will agree on how to vote on the amendment. Since I don't believe our lawmakers will ever take the word marriage out of our legal system, I will vote no, because I believe my gay friends should be able to get the same legal and tax benefits as I will, should I choose to marry. Being gay is not a choice, and those who rant otherwise are simply ignorant. They are ignorant of the science, ignorant of the fact that a loving gay family is the same as any other family. They are ignorant about the terrible confusion a preteen male or female may feel when they realize they are not "normal". And most importantly, they are ignorant in not realizing the hate they are passing on to their offspring.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Orono, I don't believe it is "only" about them. They have been excluded, they now want to be included, that's all.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Trish, disagreeing is not the issue, it's the labels...immoral, pervert, disgusting, and and the complete ignorance: Your post from another thread: " I think most everyone has had enough of the gay community forcing this immoral life style on society. OH wait, Lady Gaga said "you're born this way" so it must be true. Being gay is a choice!" I can not believe any homosexual has forced his or her "immoral" life style on you. No one is forcing you to be gay, watch gay lovemaking, or partake in any gay events, why are you so against them living their life? Live and let live, and try very hard not to judge...
Susan July 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Trish, are you saying that you disagree with the marriage amendment? You know that means that you do not want the state to define a marriage as between one man and one woman, right?
Todd July 19, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Susan, I like your wisdom! "Being gay is not a choice, and those who rant otherwise are simply ignorant. They are ignorant of the science...."
Donald Lee July 19, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Susan's attitude on this subject is typical of the intolerance of the left. That which is not currently in style is "ignorant". The ideology of self government - of freedom - demands that we have the ability to choose our behavior. We can quibble about "orientation" (whatever that means), but being "out" means speaking and acting in ways that may meet with the disapproval of those who hold traditional views on sexual morality. Homosexuality may have an innate component, but it is about behavior, and the behavior - like all sexual behavior - is by choice. Susan highlights why this issue is a threat to those who insist on maintaining freedom and the right to disapprove. I'm quite sure that Susan would be comfortable making my disapproval a legal issue, punishable by the law. Redefining marriage would be a big step along this road.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Donald, you were really starting to win me over with some of your views...now, after your "intolerance of the left" statement, I may reconsider. If you actually read and thought about what I said, you would realize that I was not intolerant of the disagreement, but of the ignorance. Yes, ignorance, defined as: lack of knowledge or information. Those who are not gay, can never understand what it means to be gay. Donald, sometime you really do need to get off your soap box. And BTW, internal feelings and emotions are not "behavior". And grow up....do you really believe that I think your disapproval should be considered punishable? I have to wonder if you have actually read my posts, or if you just decided to skip over that important part of a conversation.
Al Anderson July 19, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Edward -- funny thing about bias. People use certain baised laws as a wedge issue to get moderates agitated and have them vote for them. And Obama and company are desperate to hang onto to every moderate they can ....because the failure of the Democrats over the past 4 years to improve the economy is so glaring. Funny that the party that initiated the "Disclose" law doesn't want their major source of funds (union dues) to be disclosed and therefore that disclosure wasn't part of the bill. Funny...but the hypocrisy of Democrats isn't funny to Americans
Todd July 19, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Orono, I respect you more since reading your comment about a rightwing nut telling you that you’re "unchristian" if you don’t see the importance of the gay marriage issue. PLEASE, who are they to judge and tell what your relationship is with your deity. You sound like when push came to shove you would do the right thing regardless of one’s sexual orientation and the true tenets of your religion have enlightened you. (Also, I think your more independent then you might like us to belive.....maybe even liberal.) However, religious hypocrites who use it for their own selfish agenda drives me nuts!. Unfortunately, there are SOME un-educated, emotional and financially deprived people that will and have been be exploited by religion. Don’t get me wrong, the left will do it in their way too, but I just detest it when religion is involved.
Donald Lee July 19, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Those who oppose the marriage amendment frequently do so on the basis of a "discrimination" or "human rights" argument. I know of few people who make these arguments who do not take the next step and believe that the law - as with race - should be used to enforce "anti-discrimination". If this is not true in Susan's case, I would like to hear about it. Ignorance is a term usually attached to hard facts. Human behavior and the nature of urges is not in that league. There remains considerable debate over nature vs nurture, and yes, the nature of homosexuality. Characterizing a difference of opinion "ignorance" is derisive, and not helpful with civil discussion. I can't "know what it is like" to be elderly when I'm 30 years old, but if I were in the legislature, no one would suggest that I should recuse myself from discussions on the issues of the elderly. Discussions of this nature are appropriate and necessary, and we can talk about each other without "being" each other.
Todd July 19, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Donald, you do read like a savvy communicator. However, in response to Susan’s “ignorant” statement, I found your defensive approach very cliché ….something right out of the playbooks from the right wing media. So, the same can be said of you if we must play the right/left wing game. Although, I don’t think the right or left would deny that ignorance along with fear and definitely money has in part been a significant obstacle from granting equal rights on past issues – you pick the issue. Also, Donald, of course someone who is being discriminated against has to speak out with disapproval; it’s called being in the minority! Also, are you gay now Donald and speaking for the gay community on what it means to be out? I’m not gay but I would suppose this has many different meaning for folks. One being a sense of freedom and wanting to take advantage of the same rights you and I take for granted. Let’s not quibble about orientation or behavior any longer and remember a good offense is not always a good defense. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from another citizen Donald, but like someone famous once said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Let’s stop exhibiting such fear….I know Susan doesn’t want to have you punished by law. Maybe watch a Michael Moore documnetry. :) Kind Regards.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I will let Donald's statement be my reply: "The ideology of self government - of freedom - demands that we have the ability to choose our behavior. We can quibble about "orientation" (whatever that means), but being "out" means speaking and acting in ways that may meet with the disapproval of those who hold traditional views on sexual morality. Homosexuality may have an innate component, but it is about behavior, and the behavior - like all sexual behavior - is by choice." Go ahead people, you can be gay, but don't "act" on it.....ridiculous...
Paul July 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I'm glad General Mills is taking this stance, and I am buying MORE of their cereal because of it. Unless, and until, their competitors like Kellogg's take the SAME stand, I will buy General Mills cereal over their competitors, every day of the week.
Jim Edward July 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Gonna get kind of sick eating cereal for 3 meals a day aren't you?
Deb M August 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Julie if you do not agree with a stand a corporation you have invested in is taking then you are free to sell your stocks. Would you not prefer they be up front with where they spend investment monies? Take a PUBLIC stand, I do not like it I walk. Hide behind corporate doors and fund policy and organizations I am against, not let me know publicly then I am not able to effectively protest the stand. Corporations no longer "stick to business" they use stock payer dollars, and profits to influence policy. I want to know exactly where they stand so I can support or boycott the stand.
Carol gibbs January 13, 2013 at 01:41 AM
How about one more answer there? Companies should be free to say what they feel they need to say if they so choose. That right should never be taken away. If their actions cause them to lose or gain business, they will be responsible for their decision to publicize their stand. Never should they be silenced.
yomammy January 14, 2013 at 01:08 PM
...but its only OK to come out on the side of gay issues.... I think it was about two years ago when a Miss America candidate said she belived that marriage should be between a man and a woman (WELL within her RIGHT to say) but was attacked by the gay host and attaced even more when this gay host went to the various media outlets to spew his hate. Apparenty its only OK to be gay...not "straight"...
Deb M January 14, 2013 at 04:18 PM
I have absolutely no problem with a corporation taking a stand on social issues or donating to political campaigns but they should have to reveal those donations. That way I can decide if it is a corporation I choose to give my money to.
rob_h78 January 14, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Oh, everyone has a right to voice their opinion on whatever topic they like... However, note that "everyone has a right to voice their opinion" means that if someone voices their opinion - then others can also voice their opinion about the opinion... I think what upsets a lot of people is that it was "ok" in society to essentially speak out against gay people for so long that it just seemed ordinary and people would mock people who stood up for gay people. But now that others are openly defending gay people the push back can be a bit jarring as it isn't something that was seen until just recently in our society.
rob_h78 January 14, 2013 at 05:44 PM
I completely agree with this statement.
Orono January 15, 2013 at 09:19 PM
WTF Rob? No attack on the conservative? A thoughtful, insightful answer? I love this response from you.
Orono January 15, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Rob - look at the response that Jodi Foster got when she apparently came out the wrong way. It isnt enough that she came out, she needs to also do it a certain way. Yo Mammy has a very valid point. Yo Mammy is apparently also a KQRS morning show fan.
Rick April 06, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Folks, there is zero requirement to have a permit to own a handgun. Either a conceal/carry license or a background check done by your local sheriff must be obtained in order to PURCHASE a handgun.
Rick April 06, 2013 at 01:02 PM
9 months andstill going strong, have not purchased one General Mills, Pillsbury, Green Giant, El Paso or any other related GMI product. My opinion is this. Companies are in business to provide a product. Publicly owned companies are in business to provide a return to shareholders. Powell probably made this decision because GMI is a huge employee of GLBT employees and essentially bowed to their pressure. Giving a group exclusive powers over the rest of the workers also creates a silent hostile workplace. Ask any employee who was at the HQ during the "Coco Champagne" episode.

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