March 14, 2006

Anti-gay group launches boycott of Ford

DETROIT (Reuters) - A conservative Christian group has
launched a boycott of Ford Motor Co., saying the automaker had
reneged on a pledge to drop its advertising in gay publications
and support of gay rights groups.

The Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association
first threatened a boycott in May, but suspended the move in
June after several Ford dealers stepped in to broker a

In December, Ford decided pull advertising for its Jaguar
and Land Rover luxury brands from gay publications, but then
reversed course after coming under fire from gay-rights
activists for having conceded to pressure from the AFA.

"Ford has every right to give hundreds of thousands of
dollars to groups promoting homosexual marriage. But those who
oppose homosexual marriage have every right not to buy
automobiles made by Ford Motor Company," the AFA said in a
statement on its Web site.

The group is headed by Don Wildmon, a United Methodist
minister, and its Web site says it has 3 million "supporters."
The AFA said its Ford boycott was being backed by 18 other

The controversy comes at a difficult time for Ford, which
is struggling to reverse a slide in market share and return its
core automotive operations to profitability.

Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said in response to the
boycott announcement, "Ford is proud of its tradition of
treating all with respect and we remain focused on that we do
best, building and selling innovative cars and trucks

Ford is not the first company to come under fire for its
stance on homosexual rights. Other large companies including
Microsoft Corp. and Walt Disney Co. have also found themselves
facing demands from groups on both sides of the cultural

In declaring a one-year boycott of Ford, the AFA cited the
car maker's sponsorship of gay-pride events in the United
States and Britain and its practice of requiring employees to
undergo diversity training.

"The goal of every homosexual organization supported by
Ford is to get homosexual marriage legalized," the AFA said.