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Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream company known for its kooky flavors like Truffle Kerfuffle and and Chunky Monkey, recently launched a marketing campaign to pressure the Australian government to legalize same-sex marriage. Their plan: Forbid customers from ordering two scoops of the same flavor in any of their 26 stores across Australia until Australia passes marriage equality.
Their plan might irk customers who just want two scoops of Cherry Garcia or Phish Food, but their campaign has a second component: They’re also providing postcards for customers to fill out telling their legislators that they support marriage equality. Customers can then deposit these postcards in a postbox right inside the store. They plan to deliver all of the postcards before the parliament’s final session meets on June 13.
The campaign is in partnership with Australia’s Equality Campaign, an organization seeking legalized marriage equality.
Here’s a poster explaining Ben & Jerry’s campaign:
One disgruntled Twitter user said, “My rights shouldn’t be trivialized for a shitty marketing gimmick to sell more ice cream,” and added, “I’d suggest they donate heavily to the lobby groups that do the heavy lifting and stop with the patronizing gimmicks.”
However, it’s worth noting that the ice cream company has long supported same-sex couples. In 1989, they were the first major employer in Vermont to offer health insurance to their employees’ domestic partners; in 1999, they publicly supported Vermont’s Civil Union Bill; and in 2001, they publicly supported the U.S. Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would have provided workplace protections for lesbians, gay and bisexual people.
In 2009, they celebrated same-sex marriage in Vermont by renaming their Chubby Hubby ice cream flavor to Hubby Hubby, and in 2011, they celebrated same-sex marriage in England with the new flavor Apple-y Ever After.
In 2013, they helped raise awareness about marriage equality in Australia with their “I Dough, I Dough” campaign and in Ireland with their “EngageMint Party” campaign. Lastly, in 2014 they participated in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade.
While their Australian campaign might seem like a risky move, 72 percent of Australians support marriage equality. Various Australian states and territories offer same-sex couples civil unions and domestic partnerships, but full-fledged marriage was prevented in 2004 by additional amendments added to the federal Marriage Act.
(Featured image by Craig Dingle via iStock Photography)