The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) on Wednesday launched a campaign against a group protesting Ellen DeGeneres' new role as spokesperson for JCPenney because she is openly gay.

The group One Million Moms, which is closely associated with the Christian conservative group American Family Association (AFA), called on JCPenney to reverse its decision.

“Funny that JCPenney thinks hiring an openly homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly,” the group said in a statement.

“By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, JCPenney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over all these years.”

The 54-year-old DeGeneres, who publicly came out in 1997, is the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and is a spokesperson for CoverGirl and American Express. DeGeneres married actress Portia DeRossi in 2008.

“While designated hate groups try to start 'culture wars,' it's clear that a vast majority of Americans today support Ellen as well as their LGBT friends and family members,” Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD, said in a statement. “Selecting an out performer who has inspired and entertained millions, is not only a smart business practice, but a reflection of how LGBT Americans today are an integral and valued part of the fabric of our culture.”

The group's online petition in support of DeGeneres had attracted more than 9,000 signatures by early Thursday.