«

»

Ben & Jerry’s: Married to Activism, Ice Cream and Gay Rights

It should come as no surprise that the Vermont, change-the-world-one-scoop-at-a-time ice cream enthusiasts, Ben & Jerry’s is changing some of their ice cream flavors in support of gay marriage. I can count two separate instances where the company has done so, and I found one image of a personalized ice cream flavored circulating the Internet called, My Fat Greek Gay Wedding.

When Vermont allowed gay marriage they changed classic Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby for the month in September 2009. Ben & Jerry’s opted for an ice cream buffet in 2010 instead of a wedding cake to celebrate when DC decided to allow same-sex couples the right to marry for couple too. They hosted a wedding and reception for local couple Keith Spangler-Vellios and Andreas Vellios at the Georgetown Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop.

And overseas in the UK, they are trying to encourage same-sex marriage awareness and understanding as parliament debates whether or not to legalize it with the aid of Stonewall, a gay rights organization. The activist flavor of choice in this case is Apple-y Ever After. There is also an extensive Facebook and social media campaign to help people influence government and show their support by virtually marrying each other and being able to download a letter of support to send to parliament.

In the US they are rewarding states that approve same-sex marriage with an icy, sweet treat which is wonderful, but I wonder if more campaigns like the one in the UK are more important in the long run in achieving equal marriage rights for all.

With a lot of customized ice cream flavors and monikers associated with specific causes, it is unclear via Ben & Jerry’s company reports whether buying the same-sex flavors proceeds go directly to the partnered gay organizations.

“Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of commitment to social justice, including gay rights. Its partnership with Freedom to Marry, a national leader in the movement for marriage equality, aims to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality and to encourage other states to follow the blazing trails of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Maine.”

Ben & Jerry’s Co-founder Jerry Greenfield is a sponsor of the ReligiousFreedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009.

Ben & Jerry’s has always taken corporate social responsibility to new levels and it’s great to see such a caring company dare to support a cause that could alienate other ice cream lovers. They’re putting social gain over ice cream consumption. That’s not something most companies are willing to do, even on an internal level. (In 1993, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first US companies to offer health and employment benefits to unmarried domestic partners regardless of their sexual orientation.) Their dedication to greater social causes and progressive business philosophies is just the cherry topping we all need.

 

Leave a Reply