Anti-Gay Group Lifts Ford Boycott; Effectiveness Disputed

The American Family Assn. has ended its 2-year boycott of Ford Motor Co., saying its grievances have been resolved, The Tupelo, MS-based AFA had been boycotting Ford products since 2005 in protest of the auto maker's support for several gay and lesbian events and the advertising it places in gay-directed publications. In a statement, Ford says, The AFA has made its decision and is ready to move on.

The American Family Assn. has ended its 2-year boycott of Ford Motor Co., saying its grievances have been resolved,

The Tupelo, MS-based AFA had been boycotting Ford products since 2005 in protest of the auto maker's support for several gay and lesbian events and the advertising it places in gay-directed publications.

In a statement, Ford says, “The AFA has made its decision and is ready to move on.”

Contrary to AFA's claims, Ford says its “principles have not changed” and it “is committed to treating everyone fairly and with respect, including our dealers, customers and employees.”

In calling off the boycott, the AFA says Ford has met four key demands, including ending promotions that provide cash donations to homosexual organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle and ceasing all advertising aimed at gay consumers.

The AFA claims that 760,365 individuals signed its boycott petition, which resulted in Ford's sales dropping an average of 8% per month during the 24 months the boycott was in effect.

Ford sales fell 23.1% on a daily rate basis in February from like-2006, just prior to the launch of the AFA campaign, according to Ward's data, but there's no way of knowing whether the boycott was a factor. Some dealers believe they lost sales due to the negative publicity, sources say.

Ford's statement says the auto maker “will continue to market its products widely to attract as many customers as possible and make charitable contributions to strengthen communities to the extent business conditions allow.

“Difficult business conditions in recent years have reduced our overall spending across the board.”

Kevin McAlpine, director of development of the Triangle Foundation, a Detroit-based gay advocate group, says Ford never has wavered in its support of the gay and lesbian community and that the AFA ended its boycott because it was ineffective.

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