NASHVILLE (BP) — The American Family Association has suspended its three-year boycott of The Home Depot, saying it is satisfied the company has withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups.
A spokesman for Home Depot, though, said the company has made no changes.
In a news release Sept. 9, AFA President Tim Wildmon said the pro-family group had monitored Home Depot for several months and was glad to report the end of the boycott.
“I truly believe this is a direct result of the involvement of our supporters,” Wildmon said. “In fact, more than 750,000 people signed the ‘Boycott Home Depot Pledge’ and we commend those who took the time and made the effort to demonstrate that they disagree with the normalization of homosexuality.”
AFA will continue to monitor Home Depot’s behavior, Wildmon said, adding, “We suspect Home Depot will publicly deny having made changes, but their actions speak louder than words.”
Indeed, Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes told The Atlanta Journal Constitution Sept. 9 that he is not aware of any funding that has been removed and that the company continues to promote the inclusion of homosexual groups.
“We haven’t made any changes to our policies for inclusion and respect of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Holmes said. “We have not directed our sales associates to discontinue participation in Pride or other community events, and have no intention of doing so.”
Holmes told The Journal Constitution that many decisions about funding and participation in gay and lesbian events are made at the local level.
When AFA launched the nationwide boycott in July 2010, it cited Home Depot’s “support for the radical homosexual agenda,” specifically for “exposing young children to homosexual behavior.”
Wildmon said at the time that AFA had appealed to Home Depot officials to remain neutral in the culture wars but the company insisted on giving money and its name to gay pride parades and festivals. Home Depot was “determined to keep using their influence to push the normalization of homosexual behavior,” Wildmon said.
Among the reasons cited by AFA for launching the boycott:
— In 2010, Home Depot set up a “Kids’ Workshop” as a vendor at the Southern Maine Pride Festival and parade.
— In 2009, Home Depot gave more than $5,000 to sponsor the Nashville Gay Pride Festival in Tennessee, and the company also sponsored pro-homosexual parades in Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland and San Diego.
— Home Depot offers insurance benefits that cover sex change operations for employees. The insurance extends to same-sex partners of employees, indicating that the company considers such couples “married,” AFA said.
— In 2008, Home Depot sponsored the Durham Pride Weekend in North Carolina with a kids’ crafts workshop and parade. Events included a cross-dresser show.
— In 2005, Home Depot placed a full page advertisement in the “Out & Equal” homosexual workplace conference program guide.
As late as March of this year, AFA was calling for a continued boycott of Home Depot, reporting that the Atlanta-based company gave $8,500 to the Atlanta chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy group, as a sponsor of a gala and auction.
Last August, a Home Depot employee contacted AFA to comment on the boycott’s effectiveness.
“We have customers who come into our store and confront our store managers over the HD’s support of gay pride,” the employee said. “The AFA is having an effect on HD.”
AFA said Sept. 9 it will continue to challenge major U.S. companies to remain neutral in the culture wars.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).