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Gay Ads Back On Track For Ford


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Gay Ads Back On Track For Ford

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 14, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Ford Motor Company on Wednesday agreed to almost all demands from LGBT groups following a hastily organized meeting earlier this week with the company over a claim by the American Family Association that the company had made a pact with it to end support of the LGBT community.

The AFA said it was ending a threatened boycott of Ford after the company agreed to pull advertising from the gay media and to stop funding LGBT organizations.

On Monday Ford met with LGBT leaders in a Washington hotel to hear their concerns about the AFA statement. (story)

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Ford said that it would feature all of its brands in a 2006 ad campaign in LGBT publications. Previously Ford was advertising only its Land Rover and Jaguar brands in the gay press.

"It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue behind us," said the letter signed by Ford V.P. Joe W. Laymon.

The buying power of the LGBT community is estimated at $610 billion a year.

Without specifically mentioning the AFA by name, the company statement reaffirmed its commitment to its progressive workplace policies.

But despite a demand from LGBT leadership that Ford commit to maintaining its funding of gay rights groups the company was less definite.

"You asked directly whether Ford Motor Company will continue to support non-profit groups and events in the GLBT community. While we still support certain events, I know you understand that the business situation will limit the extent of our support in all communities in 2006," Laymon's letter said.

Nevertheless, LGBT groups said they were encouraged by the general tone of the letter.

“We welcome today’s statement from Ford Motor Company and commend their firm stance in support of inclusion," the 19 LGBT civil rights groups said in a joint statement.

"It is an unequivocal reaffirmation of Ford’s historic commitment to our community and the core American values of fairness and equality. Moreover, it is conclusive proof of what Ford leaders have repeatedly assured us -- that there never was any deal with anti-LGBT organizations concerning Ford’s support for our community.

The AFA has not commented on the Ford commitment to the gay community.

“We applaud Ford Motor for taking such a firm stand on behalf of our community — pledging to continue support for our community’s organizations and events, and increasing — not decreasing — its advertising in our community’s publications to include all Ford brands," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This is a very positive, welcome outcome."

“Ford’s action is a positive outcome and win for equality and fairness,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Ford has sent a powerful signal that corporate America values its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers."

The AFA has a long history of using boycotts to try to force companies to adhere to a strict conservative view, but with mixed success.

It boycotted Proctor and Gamble last year after the Cincinnati-based P&G supported the repeal of an anti-gay law in that city. (story)

In April AFA declared victory over Proctor & Gamble after the company ended most of its advertising in the gay media. (story) The group claimed that more than 300,000 people had signed pledges not to buy P&G products.

The effect on P&G is believed to be one of the major reasons Microsoft decided to withdraw its support of a gay rights bill in the state of Washington following a meeting with a conservative Christian leader. (story) Following outrage from the company's gay workers and LGBT rights groups in Washington the company reversed course again and announced it would support gay rights measures in the future. (story)

In May, the AFA took aim at Kraft Foods - stopping just short of calling for a full boycott - for sponsoring the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. (story) Kraft has not budged in its support for the games.

Earlier this month another Conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family, announced it was withdrawing its funds from Wells Fargo because of the banks involvement in pro-gay causes. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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