NEW YORK, WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14, 2005 — The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today applauded Ford Motor Company’s letter declaring its commitment to reaching the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) market.
Ford’s "Letter to National Gay and Lesbian Organizations," available at http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_display.cfm?release=22205, puts to rest widespread public and media speculation that Ford had capitulated to the demands of a radical anti-gay group called American Family Association, which had threatened a boycott of Ford for its outreach to and support of the LGBT community.
"Ford did the right thing here, both for its brand and for its bottom line," said Neil G. Giuliano, president of GLAAD. "Their message today signals a strong commitment by Ford to fairness, to inclusion, and to a quality relationship with our community."
"It’s important for corporations and media companies alike to understand that these anti-gay groups with the deceptive names do not speak for America’s families," Giuliano said. "And when 90 percent of Americans support employment non-discrimination for gays and lesbians, when 80 percent support military service by gay Americans, when six out of 10 Americans favor legal protections for gay and lesbian couples, it’s clear that Ford’s policies are in line with the values and the inclusion that most Americans support."
On Dec. 12, a coalition of community organizations (including GLAAD; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; the Human Rights Campaign; the National Black Justice Coalition; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); the National Youth Advocacy Coalition; and the Triangle Foundation) met with senior Ford executives in Washington, D.C., to discuss the LGBT community’s concerns about those reports and request a statement clarifying Ford’s policies.
A broad coalition of local and national LGBT civil rights organizations, including GLAAD, also released the following joint statement applauding Ford’s commitment to the LGBT market:
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER ORGANIZATIONS COMMEND FORD MOTOR
Hail "Reaffirmation of Commitment to Our Community and American Values"
"We welcome today’s statement from Ford Motor Company and commend their firm stance in support of inclusion. It is an unequivocal reaffirmation of Ford’s historic commitment to our community and the core American values of fairness and equality. Moreover, it is conclusive proof of what Ford leaders have repeatedly assured us — that there never was any deal with anti-LGBT organizations concerning Ford’s support for our community.
We are proud to be back in gear with Ford and look forward to working with them in the years ahead."
- Commercial Closet Association
- Family Pride
- Freedom to Marry
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
- Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute
- Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- Human Rights Campaign
- Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization
- Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (NYC)
- Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
- National Black Justice Coalition
- National Center for Lesbian Rights
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- National Minority AIDS Council
- National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC)
- Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
- PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
- Pride at Work
- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
- Triangle Foundation
- World Congress of GLBT Jews: Keshet Ga’ava
The controversy erupted on December 1 when the American Family Association (AFA) officially announced it was dropping its threat of a boycott, saying Ford "heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are." The next day a Ford spokesperson appeared to confirm an agreement by saying the company would stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications. AFA is an extremist anti-LGBT organization that routinely threatens boycotts against LGBT-supportive companies, television programs it does not like, or even cartoon characters such as SpongeBob.
On December 5, eighteen leading LGBT organizations issued a statement calling upon Ford to disavow any agreement with AFA, to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBT community and to meet with the LGBT community and resolve the issue. As a result of that statement, Ford Motor executives met with LGBT community representatives in Washington, DC on December 12. There, Ford said it would issue a statement based on the topics discussed and the comprehensive statement released today was the result.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.