A protest against corporate giant
McDonald's ended when the Christian-based American Family Association
announced the fast-food chain had made an abrupt about-face. On
Thursday, the AFA said it had ended its half-year boycott against
McDonald's after the company agreed to “remain neutral in the
culture war regarding homosexual marriage.” Gay groups, however,
questioned the validity of the statement.
In May, the AFA launched a website
denouncing McDonald's for its support of the gay and lesbian
community. The website, found at boycottMcdonalds.com, says the
protest was about the company refusing to remain neutral in the
culture wars. “McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but
give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual
agenda, including homosexual marriage.”
Among its objections, the AFA said
McDonald's' involvement in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of
Commerce (NGLCC) was unacceptable.
In its Thursday statement, the group
said it had dropped its boycott because McDonald's had agreed to no
longer support “homosexual marriage,” and that it would not seek
to renew its membership to the NGLCC in December.
Gay groups, however, questioned the
abrupt victory. They point out that a company that scored 85 out of
100 points on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index
and includes a corporate sponsored gay and lesbian employee resource
group (McDonald's Gay, Lesbian and Ally Network MGLAN) would not use
an outmoded term such as “homosexual marriage” in an official
Further fueling their cynicism was a
statement released Thursday by NGLCC leaders denying any knowledge of
a withdrawal from McDonald's.
“Like all our corporate
relationships, McDonald's USA has been a good partner with the
Chamber,” the group said in a press release. “There has been no
discussion between the NGLCC and McDonald's regarding continuing
membership, nor has the NGLCC been notified of any move not to renew
our work together.”
A McDonald's spokeswoman admitted that
a McDonald's Vice President Richard Ellis would vacate his NGLCC
board seat, but explained the reason was personal – Ellis had
recently transferred to a post with McDonald's' Canadian operation.
In March, the AFA ended its two-year
boycott against Ford Motor Company after it stopped advertising in
the gay media. The automaker, however, has said it stopped running
all niche advertising when the economy soured.
The association, founded in 1977 by
Rev. Donald Wildmon, has a long history of objecting to equal rights
for gays and lesbians. It has lobbied against gay marriage and
hate-crime legislation that would benefit gays.