AFA has declared that it is boycotting Ford for a year because Ford advertises to gay people, has a non-discrimination policy, and supports organizations that in turn are in favor of gay marriage.
Earlier, AFA had threatened a boycott and in a secret meeting with Ford had made demands that they believe were accepted by Ford.
Don Wildmon of the AFA says:
“We shook hands; we had everything down on paper,” he says, “and when the people who were negotiating with us went back to Ford, [officials with the automaker] killed all of our agreements that took us six months to agree on.”
Although Wildmon claims that everything was down on paper, he has not been able to provide any documentation that Ford had agreed to his demands.
Ford’s decision not to ignore the gay market is, in Wildmon’s view, taking side in the culture war. He couches his boycott language in terms of gay marriage:
The boycott was called after Ford reneged on an agreement with American Family Association to stop funding homosexual groups which promote homosexual marriage.
However, a review of the points demanded by AFA on their boycott website shows that the anti-gay groups had a far more extensive agenda:
At the last meeting on Nov. 28, here is what Ford and AFA agreed on:
1. Ford would not renew current promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle.
2. Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations that, as part of their activities, engage in political or social campaigns to promote civil unions or same-sex marriage.
3. Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to homosexual social activities such as Gay Pride parades.
4. Ford would cease all advertising in homosexual websites and media outlets (magazines, television, radio) in the U.S. with the exception of $100,000 to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media and not aimed at the homosexual community specifically.
After the gay community and many others pointed out the ramifications of shunning all customers who are gay or who have friends that are gay, Ford reversed the decision and wrote a letter committing to increase advertising with gay publications. Wildmon does not explain why he waited until today, three months after Ford’s letter of December 14, 2005, to launch his boycott.
In an effort to rally the troops, the AFA claims that:
To counter the pro-family boycott, homosexuals have begun a “buycott” of Ford made automobiles. The success of the boycott will be determined by which group—homosexuals or pro-family—are able to get the most people to support their efforts. The homosexuals have shown that they are dedicated to their cause of homosexual marriage. It remains to be seen if pro-family people are as dedicated to their cause.
While I have not heard of this “buycott”, AFA’s boycott would make me more likely to consider Ford in any vehicle purchases in the coming year. However, I doubt that there will be any noticeable change in Ford’s business either way.
The AFA’s position is extremist. They object to hiring gay employees, diversity training, and even developing “a plan to involve Ford in the day-to-day business of selling vehicles worldwide to gay and lesbian customers.” To seek that Ford not hire people and not advertise to a demographic goes beyond objection to gay marriage and shows clear evidence of hatred. Not hatred of a behavior or a sin, but hatred of a group of people.
Joining AFA in the ranks of extremism are a collection of anti-gay activist groups:
American Family Association
Center for Reclaiming America
Citizens for Community Values
Free Market Foundation
WIN Family Services
Point of View Radio
Coalitions for America
Mayday for Marriage
Coalition for Marriage and Family
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
National Association of Marriage Enhancement