McDonald's reverses itself on gay agenda

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CHICAGO, Ill. — The American Family Association is ending its boycott of McDonald's restaurants.

Mississippi-based AFA called for the boycott in May after the fast-food giant joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. McDonald's has notified the pro-homosexual organization that McDonald's vice president Richard Ellis resigned from the board of directors of the gay-based chamber and his seat on the board will not be replaced.

Further, in an e-mail from McDonald's to its franchise owners, the company stated its policy is "to not be involved in political and social issues."

Randy Sharp, director of special projects with AFA, said McDonald's has pledged to remain neutral in the culture war surrounding homosexual marriage. 

"The franchise owners understood very early that this was an issue that McDonald's did not need to be involved in from a corporate level, and (that)] they needed to stick with serving good food products in a convenient way, at a good price."McDonald's officials also said the company has no plans to renew its membership in the Gay and Lesbian chamber when it expires in December.

In May, the American Family Association had called for a nationwide boycott of McDonald's after Ellis joined the gay chamber of commerce. Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, said he would eat elsewhere.  

"The next time you find yourself in one of their restaurants, I wish you would let management know how disgusted you are with this new affiliation," Dr. Dobson wrote in his June newsletter. "As for me, I will patronize other food establishments."

Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family Action, called the recent decision "a terrific move for McDonald's."

"They should never have gotten involved in the public policy arena," he said. "We'll be watching to see if they take additional steps to end their support for radical groups such as Out and Equal and the Human Rights Campaign, and gay-pride parades."

EP