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Ford target of boycott

Conservative Christian group calls boycott of automaker, charging it has pro-homosexual agenda.

June 1, 2005; Posted: 8:01 a.m. EDT (1201 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A conservative Christian group is calling for a boycott of Ford Motor Co. for what it says is the automaker's support of a pro-homosexual agenda.

The boycott was called by the American Family Association, which a week before called off a nine-year boycott of Walt Disney Co. (Research) which it had declared on the same grounds.

AFA special projects director Randy Sharp told the Detroit News nearly 55,000 people had signed a pledge supporting the boycott by Tuesday afternoon.

Ford (Research) provides health care benefits for same sex partners of its employees, as does General Motors Corp. (Research) and Chrysler Group, a unit of DaimlerChrysler (Research), according to the News. But the group said that it also objects to donations that Ford has given to gay rights groups and advertising it bought in programs at gay pride events.

"From redefining family to include homosexual marriage, to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support homosexual groups and their agenda, to forcing managers to attend diversity training on how to promote the acceptance of homosexuality...to sponsoring Gay Pride Parades, Ford leads the way," said a notice on the group's Web site.

Ford vice president of human resources Joe Laymon told the Detroit News that the company "values all people, regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences."

Tupelo, Miss.-based AFA told the News it e-mailed an announcement about the Ford boycott to 2.2 million supporters.

The group said last month that it was ending its boycott of Disney because of some signs of change at the media conglomerate and because, "We feel after nine years of boycotting Disney we have made our point."

It also said that the problems that the group has with Disney have become "lost among the other battles being fought on a crowded cultural battlefield."

The AFA cited the upcoming retirement of Michael Eisner as CEO, the departure of the founders of the Miramax film studio from the company as what it feels are positive moves at the company. It also cheered the decision by Disney co-produce a film based the book "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis, which the group described as a "Christian literary classic."

It said that Disney is reaching out to Christian groups to market the film, due for release in December.

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