Monday, July 16, 2012

Not necessarily bad for business

In the little more than a year since the Minnesota legislature decided voters would have an opportunity in November to vote on permanently banning same sex marriage, executives of some high profile companies have voiced their opposition publicly.

Just last week, some prominent Thomson Reuters executives spoke out against the MN marriage amendment.

“We believe the Minnesota marriage amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent,” Mike Suchsland, president of legal, and Rick King, chief operations officer of technology, wrote to employees Friday morning. “For this reason, we do not believe that the amendment would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state.”

This has been pretty much the same dialogue put forth by executives of General Mills, Target and Carlson Companies. And if the passage of the marriage amendment did indeed result in an impediment to hiring and recruiting top talent, I could sympathize with their point of view.

The only flaw in their logic is other states which have passed similar marriage laws haven't suffered to the degree Mr. Suchsland asserts.

A new CNBC study of America’s Top States for Doing Business also shows that nine of the top ten business friendly states have marriage protection amendments in their constitution. CNBC “scored all 50 states on 51 measures of competitiveness developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness.” The top ten states from 1-10 included Texas, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming and Georgia. Although Wyoming was the only state without a Marriage Protection Amendment, gay marriage is prohibited in all ten states. Minnesota was ranked eleventh.

The study dramatically refutes recent claims by Marriage Protection Amendment opponents that the proposed amendment would damage Minnesota’s economy because those in the so-called “creative class” would shun Minnesota if passed.

It's pretty obvious that executives in high profile companies didn't get to that high level position without a little savvy. While Americans don't vehemently oppose same sex marriage to the degree they did in 2004 (when it was soundly rejected at the polls in 11 of 11 states which had it on their respective ballots), approval of such a union is not even close to a substantial majority. With that in mind, Minnesota business leaders know it would be an economic detriment if they took an ideological stance against a marriage amendment that nearly half of MN voters support.Yeah, it's never a good idea to imply that your patrons who support the amendment are "bigoted" and "freedom-limiting." But if said executives address concerns from a business standpoint, it's a lot less confrontational.

Now if these same business leaders would just take a principled stance against high taxation and overbearing regulations.........



Mr. D said...

Yeah, it's never a good idea to imply that your patrons who support the amendment are "bigoted" and "freedom-limiting." But if said executives address concerns from a business standpoint, it's a lot less confrontational.

Yep. It's also good business to avoid noisy public relations campaigns against your corporation, as Target learned last time when it actually tried to do something in its own interest.

Brad said...

Indeed. I had Target in mind when I alluded to a principled stance against high taxes and overbearing regulations. Their financial donation to the Emmer for Governor campaign in 2010 was for the purpose of supporting a politician who supported business friendly policies.

The noisy public campaigns to which you refer likely includes the backlash over Target supporting a "anti gay marriage" gubernatorial candidate.