Carlson chair urges to vote no

Marilyn Carlson Nelson spoke at the University on Wednesday.

Cody Nelson

One of Forbes’ most powerful women in the world, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, spoke out against Minnesota’s proposed marriage amendment Wednesday.

Nelson appeared with former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives Margaret Anderson Kelliher at an event sponsored by Minnesotans United for All Families at the Carlson School of Management.

The goal of the event was to urge Minnesotans to vote no on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Nelson is the chair of Carlson Companies, an international travel and hospitality company based in Minnetonka, Minn. She gave a business perspective on how the amendment could affect the state.

In her speech, Nelson said the push for gay equality is the “human rights struggle of this generation.” She said Minnesota needs to be “dynamic and welcoming” to attract people that would potentially be disenfranchised by the amendment.

Businesses took their stand on gay marriage long ago, Nelson said, citing companies like General Motors that granted health benefits to employees in same-sex relationships.

When Carlson Companies began giving health benefits to employees in same-sex relationships, Nelson said gay and straight employees were supportive of the company’s decision.

“The one thing I am quite sure [the amendment failing] would not harm is the institution of marriage,” Nelson said.

Wednesday’s event was part of Minnesotans United’s Main Street Tour, which began on Tuesday in Duluth.