The Rev. Don Wildmon has resigned as chairman of the Christian-based American Family Association (AFA), the AP reported.

The announcement follows a prolonged hospitalization for the 72-year-old Wildmon, whose son Tim will take over the AFA's helm.

The group, founded in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency, has a long history of objecting to equal rights for gay men and lesbians. It has lobbied against gay marriage and hate-crime laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

It has also organized several boycotts against large corporations which support the gay community, including Ford Motor Company, Hallmark, Pepsi, McDonald's and Campbell's.

Last year, gay activists protested the group's promotion of an anti-gay video titled Speechless: Silencing the Christians that asserts that the gay men and lesbians are largely responsible for the HIV/AIDS epidemic along with all STDs and that gay marriage hurts the family because it deprives children of a mother or a father, among other things.

The film aired in several markets throughout the country.

AFA has an annual $20 million budget and owns 180 radio stations.