Capella Opposes Marriage Amendment; Mayo Stays Neutral

Capella University said that the proposed marriage amendment will negatively impact local companies’ ability to attract and retain employees; Mayo Clinic, meanwhile, will reportedly not take a position on the proposed amendment.
Capella Opposes Marriage Amendment; Mayo Stays Neutral

Minneapolis-based online college Capella University has joined a handful of local companies in publicly opposing a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.

In a Friday announcement, Capella said that it “stands united in opposition” to the proposed amendment, which would change the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Capella said it is the first major higher-education institution to speak out against the “freedom-limiting marriage amendment.”

Capella University employs more than 1,250 at its Minneapolis headquarters and more than 1,600 faculty members throughout the country. It is owned by Capella Education Company, which is among Minnesota’s 50-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $430 million in 2011.

In an e-mail to Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of organizations and individuals that is campaigning against the proposed amendment, Capella Education Company Chairman and CEO Kevin Gilligan wrote that the amendment is not in the best interests of Minnesota or Capella.

“I am very concerned that this amendment will have a negative impact on the ability of Minnesota companies to attract and retain talented employees,” Gilligan wrote. “I do not believe this amendment is aligned with Capella’s values, or our business interests.”

Meanwhile, Rochester-based Mayo Clinic will not take a position on the proposed amendment, according to a report in the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Karl Oestreich told the newspaper that the clinic, however, “is strongly committed to diversity, including for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities.”

He said that the clinic encourages its employees to express their personal views through voting.

Only a handful of local companies and employers have taken a stance publicly against the marriage amendment, and they include Golden Valley-based General Mills, Inc., Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical, Inc., and New York-based Thomson Reuters—which employs roughly 7,000 people in Minnesota. No major Minnesota corporations have gone on record to support the amendment.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation, meanwhile, hasn’t taken a stand on the marriage amendment, but the retailer has been selling T-shirts with gay-friendly themes and greeting cards that celebrate same-sex marriages.