Victory for Christians as McDonald’s gives in over gay rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Christian and conservative Americans are claiming they have forced one of the world’s best-known companies to withdraw from National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

The American Family Association said their five month boycott of McDonalds is over.

They had claimed their protest was “not about hiring homosexuals, not about homosexuals eating at McDonald’s and not about how homosexual employees are treated” but about the company promoting a “gay agenda.”

The company has more than 31,000 restaurants and is the world’s largest fast food chain.

The AFA described McDonald’s Vice President Richard Ellis desicion to resign from the board of NGLCC as proof “they will remain neutral in the culture war regarding homosexual marriage.”

The boycott began in May.

In an e-mail to McDonald’s franchised owners the company said:

“It is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald’s remains neutral on same sex marriage or any ‘homosexual agenda’ as defined by the American Family Association.”

In a statement today the NGLCC said it had not been notified by McDonalds “of any move not to renew our work together.”

“The NGLCC does not lobby on the issue of same-sex marriage,” it said.

“The NGLCC’s number one legislative priority is access to quality and affordable healthcare for our business owning members. The mandate of the NGLCC is to foster strong businesses, and not to pursue individual political agendas.

“Like all our corporate relationships, McDonald’s USA has been a good partner with the Chamber.

“There has been no discussion between the NGLCC and McDonalds regarding continuing membership.”

NGLCC’s corporate partners include IBM, Kodak, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Motorola, JP Morgan and American Express.

Earlier this year the AFA organised a campaign against an advert that was only shown in the UK.

The ad featured a kiss between two men.

Heinz’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh was deluged with complaints from some of the estimated 3.5 million fundamentalist Christians in the AFA.

The group targeted IKEA last year for showing gay families in their ads, and has led boycotts of Ford and Disney because of their commitment to equality.

The AFA describes itself as: “a Christian organisation promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on TV and other media.”

Its chief aims are the recognition of Christmas in seasonal print advertisements and the criminalisation of homosexuality and lobbying in favour of “traditional marriage.”

They have frequently opposed equal-rights and hate-crime legislation that would benefit homosexuals and advocated censorship of print and electronic media.

Last year in a dramatic u-turn Wal-Mart, the largest grocer in the US and the second largest in the world, stepped back from the active support it was previously giving to gay-rights groups.

The AFA threatened to boycott Wal-Mart’s next big sales period and condemned the blanket support it offered to gay-friendly business initiatives.

The company succumbed to the AFA’s latest threat to urge shoppers to boycott their post-Thanksgiving sale.