Corporations and their Support for Gay Marriage

A recent Honey Maid ad for graham crackers depicts several different families, and then closes with the tagline: “Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family.” The ad provoked some controversy. The advocacy group One Million Moms had this to say:

Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves for their latest Honey Maid and Teddy Graham cracker commercial where they attempt to normalize sin. Right away it shows two men with a baby, followed by other families, and ends with different families pictured including the one with two dads. This commercial not only promotes homosexuality, but then calls the scene in the advertisement wholesome.

Many online comments were similarly negative toward the commercial.

Honey Maid responded by hiring an artist, who printed out the many negative comments and then formed the sheets of paper into a 3D script of the word “Love”. Here’s the accompanying video.

As a devout practicing Roman Catholic, I have expressed theological positions ranging from liberal to moderate to conservative on various open questions. But I believe what the Church teaches on matters of faith and morals. So I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. I also believe that homosexual acts and all sexual acts outside of marriage are gravely immoral. My beliefs are not an expression of bias or hatred, nor is my position accurately referred to as any type of phobia.

It is common for Christians who support gay marriage to cite the teaching of Jesus to love one another. That argument certainly works to counter any type of hatred against anyone for any reason, including hating gays or hating supporters of gay marriage. “Love one another.”

The same argument works against those persons who hate opponents of gay marriage. It is just as wrong to hate someone for opposing same-sex marriage as it is to hate someone for supporting same sex marriage. “Love one another.”

Jesus did not hate the woman caught in adultery. He did not hate the Pharisees (though He corrected them sharply). He did not hate Peter for denying Him. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

But the “love” argument fails to establish same-sex marriage as a true type of marriage. Jesus defined marriage as between one man and one woman (Mt 19:4-6), and His Church has always taught the same. And those who cite the second commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself”, in this context usually fail to mention the first commandment, to love God above all else. Love of God, who is Truth, requires us to seek the truth on matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to those truths, even if society disagrees.

Now on the subject of corporations who support gay marriage: they really don’t. It was not so many years ago that support for same-sex marriage was in the minority. I don’t recall any large corporations, at that time, being willing to associate themselves with support for gay marriage. You don’t see large companies supporting either side in any controversial issue, except when there is a clear majority view and it will help them sell product. Now that a majority of Americans support gay marriage, many corporations are willing to proudly proclaim their support. The majority view is always treated by society as an obvious truth, even when the majority view several years ago was the opposite.

A small company with a particularly liberal customer base might publicly support gay marriage earlier than other companies. But this only happens when a clear majority in their customer base takes the same point of view.

And what will happen if (or rather when) the majority view changes again, to oppose gay marriage? You will hear a deafening silence from these same large corporations. The smaller companies with more liberal customers will be the last to fall. But for-profit corporations do not loudly support the minority view on any controversial issue.

As for Honey Maid, they are owned by Mondelez International. According to the Open Secrets website, Mondelez International’s Political Action Committee (PAC) donated more money to Republicans than Democrats so far in the 2014 election cycle. Mondelez gave money to:

* Peter Roskam (R-IL), who supports the Defense of Marriage Act.
* Dave Camp (R-MI), who opposes same sex marriage.
* Aaron Schock (R-IL), who helped pass an amendment that would prevent funding of anything that contravenes the Defense of Marriage Act.
* Joseph Pitts (R-PA), who voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman.
* Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act and against repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
* Scott Garrett (R-NJ), who opposes gay marriage.
* Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who opposes gay marriage and supports the Defense of Marriage Act.
* Pat Toomey (R-PA), who voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage and YES on banning gay adoptions in D.C.
* Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, and voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.

To be fair, the Mondelez PAC also donated some money to politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who support gay marriage.

But my point is that corporations don’t really support gay marriage. They will publicly show support for any issue with the support of the majority, the support of the culture, if it will help them sell product. But they are not teachers or leaders on social issues. They follow the ebb and flow of the currents in society. And when it comes to politics, they play both sides of the fence, so that they have ears on both sides of the aisle to help their business.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Roman Catholic Marital Sexual Ethics
available in print (paperback, 388 pp.) and in Kindle format.

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