Well Being

NOM Protests General Mills, Forces Me To Defend Maker Of Crappy Sugar Cereal

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People are pretty angry at cereal giant General Mills, maker of sugary, marketed-to-kids cereals like Trix and Lucky Charms. But it’s not because they’re misleading parents with health claims and pumping kids full of their daily allowance of sugar before they even get to school in the morning. No, GM is under attack by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for fighting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Which means now I have to defend GM. This is awkward.

NOM, in partnership with Minnesota’s anti-equality organization, Minnesota for Marriage, have launched the “Dump General Mills” campaign, which is asking those who are against same-sex marriage to boycott GM, and demand that they stop supporting those who are against the constitutional amendment, which Minnesota’s voters will decide on in November. The campaign comes in response to GM’s progressive, pro-equality stance, which they’ve been very vocal about, with actions like serving refreshments to protesters of the ban.

But this tension between NOM and GM has put a lot of health advocates in a tough spot. Plenty of individuals and groups aren’t super-pleased with the way General Mills and other cereal manufacturers have continued to look for labeling loopholes, purposefully misinform parents about what’s good for their children, and refuse to overhaul their products in a way that would make them more nutritionally sound–but may also be against changing state constitutions to outlaw same-sex marriage. I don’t particularly want to defend GM…but I want to side with NOM less.

As a person who supports same-sex marriage (like half of America or more), but doesn’t support the way that crappy, sugary cereal is still a necessary food item, particularly in low-access areas and food deserts, I’m torn. I’d like to see people demand that GM and similar companies start making healthier, more sustainable options, particularly for children, but I also like them more as a company, knowing that they support marriage equality for all individuals, regardless of gender.

The Human Rights Campaign has already launched a petition in support of General Mills, which individuals who don’t like the constitutional amendment, or who want GM to know that their progressive stance isn’t going unappreciated. Unfortunately, there isn’t a place on the petition to add that you’d like it if they reassessed the quality of their products.

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