Local businesses support ‘Vote No’

Cupcake and FirstTech of Minneapolis have spoken out against the amendment.

Employee Ashley Krueger arranges cupcakes to be put in the display case Wednesday morning at Cupcake on University Avenue Southeast.

Ichigo Takikawa

Employee Ashley Krueger arranges cupcakes to be put in the display case Wednesday morning at Cupcake on University Avenue Southeast.

by Jessica Lee

Months after several large corporations spoke against the upcoming marriage amendment, small businesses in Minneapolis are following suit.

Cupcake, a local cafe and bakery near the University of Minnesota, opposes the amendment that would constitutionally define marriage between one man and one woman.

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of Cupcake, said the issue hits home because some of his staff, as well as himself, are gay.

“We’ve got several employees that are young and want to get married someday,” said VanDeraa. “They should have every opportunity to do that.”

Cupcake employees have “Vote No” bumper stickers on all of their vehicles and use Facebook to spread their message against the amendment.

“People come in cheering us on,” VanDeraa said. “Not just gay people but people in general really appreciate our efforts.”

The day after General Mills announced its position against the amendment, Cupcake “stood with them” and donated 100 percent of the proceeds from their signature Betty Crocker cupcake to Minnesotans United for All Families — an organization opposed to the amendment.

“People heard about what we were doing and came in that day, specifically to get the Betty Crocker cupcake,” VanDeraa said. “They wanted to do anything to help.”

VanDeraa said Cupcake is always looking to do events and fundraisers to fight the amendment.

“We’re standing together to defeat this,” he said.

Wilde Roast Café, a restaurant in St. Anthony Main, is another local business that supports LGBT causes in Minneapolis.

The Big Gay Race, a five-kilometer race that raised funds for Minnesotans United, used Wilde Roast Café as its starting point last weekend.

While big corporations like Chick-fil-A have come out against same-sex marriage, VanDeraa said it’s more common for local businesses to oppose the amendment or stay neutral.

“I think it’s a lot harder for businesses around here to come out and say yes to the amendment,” VanDeraa said. “People want a place where there is no discrimination.”

FirstTech, an Apple computer store in Uptown, supports MN United’s campaign by financially sponsoring events, like The Big Gay Race.

Harvey Zuckman said it’s a very important matter for him and his brothers, who own the store.

“We’ve made available ‘Vote No’ pins, signs and stickers for our employees,” Zuckman said. “There’s no pressure, but it’s been really nice to see people around the office showing interest.”

Spokeswoman for MN United Kate Brickman said hundreds of small businesses throughout Minnesota have signed the petition against the amendment.

“Businesses have been involved in the marriage discussion since the get go,” Brickman said. “This isn’t just a family issue.”

MN United created Businesses United for All Families to steer businesses and their leaders to outreach opportunities across the state.