Pro-family organizations across the country have called for a one-year boycott of Ford Motor Co.
The boycott was called Monday after Ford reneged on an agreement made with the American Family Association to stop funding groups that actively promote gay marriage.
AFA originally called for a boycott last May but put it on hold when Ford dealers scrambled to appease the national organization with its more than three million members. Eighteen other pro-family organizations — including Renew America, CatholicVote.org and Liberty Counsel — have joined the boycott.
According to AFA, a meeting was held during which AFA agreed to suspend the boycott for six months "to give [the dealers] time to see what they could do to avoid the boycott."
By November 28, following three meetings with three Ford representatives (Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, corporate affairs; David Leitch, senior vice president and general counsel; and Jerry Reynolds, a Ford dealer from the Dallas area), an agreement was finally reached.
In the agreement Ford consented to no longer give cash donations to organizations or activites promoting gay rights (such as Gay Pride parades) and no longer advertise in gay media outlets (magazines, television, radio) — with the exception of $100,000 to be used by Volvo (but even then Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media and not target specifically the gay community).
In return, AFA agreed not to boycott Ford products.
But soon after the agreement was made, Ford, under intense protest from gay-rights activists, backed down from the deal, says AFA. Not only that, but Ford promised the activists more support than ever before.
Instead of Volvo being the only Ford brand to support gay media with advertising, Ford announced that all eight if its brands — Ford, Mercury, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Mazda, Lincoln and Aston Martin — would now do so.
Defending its stance, Ford sent out a press release on December 12 to clarify its policy on "inclusion" after meeting with national gay and lesbian associations in Washington, D.C. In it, Bill Ford, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Co., is quoted as saying: "We value all people — regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences. This is a historical commitment of the Ford Motor Company that I intend to carry forward."
And in a letter dated December 14 Ford re-affirmed its resolution to support national gay and lesbian associations and commitment to cater advertising to gay audiences. (To view a sample of these ads, click here.)
Ford also dismissed it’s meetings with AFA, saying: "We expect to be measured not by the meetings we conduct but by our conduct itself."
AFA’s response, as posted on its website:
“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.”
Kathleen Vokes, spokeswoman for Ford told HUMAN EVENTS, "Ford is proud of its tradition of treating all with respect, and we remain focused on what we do best — building innovative cars and trucks worldwide."
Below is a list of actions taken by Ford that AFA disagrees with (as listed on BoycottFord.com).
- Ford has publicly announced they are giving $250,000 to help build a dedicated gay community center in Ferndale, Mich.
- Ford held the first automotive conference aimed at bringing diversity to the car industry.
- Ford was given a 100% score on last year’s Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Ford was the only automaker and the largest corporation to get this score.
- Ford has been on the DiversityInc "Top 50 Companies for Diversity" list in each of the four years the rankings have been published.
- Ford actively recruited homosexuals for employment by advertising on gay job websites.
- Ford hired a D.C. marketing firm to target the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender market and developed a plan to involve Ford in the day-to-day business of selling vehicles worldwide to gay and lesbian customers.
- Ford was an executive sponsor of the 2004 "Out & Equal Workplace Summit Conference." The purpose of the event was to advance the gay agenda, including same-sex marriage, in major corporations.
- Ford donated to the Michigan Gay Pride March a red Mustang Cobra convertible. This was the first time an auto manufacturer has donated a vehicle for the Michigan Gay Pride Parade.
- Ford has been an "Emerald Sponsor" of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG), a national organization promoting the gay lifestyle including same-sex marriage.
- Ford has been an annual sponsor of the "Reaching Out MBA Conference" that promotes the education, visibility, and networking capabilities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender business leaders in the United States and around the globe.