The American Family Association, which opposes same-sex marriages, said it is suspending a boycott of Home Depot because the retailer has pulled funding for gay and lesbian groups, but the Atlanta-based company said its policies have not changed.
AFA launched a boycott three years ago because it said the home improvement retailer financially supports gay and lesbian organizations. The group said more than 750,000 people signed a “boycott Home Depot pledge” to not shop at the retailer.
In a letter posed recently on its website, AFA President Tim Wildmon said he was “glad to report” Home Depot had “withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups and events.”
A spokesman for Home Depot, however, said Monday that he is not aware of any funding that has been removed and that the retailer continues to promote inclusion of gay and lesbian groups.
“We haven’t made any changes to our policies for inclusion and respect of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation,” spokesman Stephen Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have not directed our associates to discontinue participation in Pride or other community events, and have no intention of doing so.”
Holmes said many decisions about funding and participation in gay and lesbian events are made at the local level.
In a statement to the AJC, Wildmon declined to specifically name the groups that it said have been denied support.
“We have been monitoring Home Depot quite closely, and there is no doubt that at the corporate level the company has withdrawn major financial contributions to gay activist organizations,” Wildmon said. He said AFA is sparing Home Depot “intense pressure that would come from specific groups if we started naming names.”
In his earlier letter, Wildmon said, “We suspect Home Depot will publicly deny having made changes, but their actions speak louder than words.”
AFA says it has more than 2 million online supporters and about 180,000 paid subscribers to its journal.
Home Depot isn’t the first company confronted by the group, which was founded in 1977 and is based in Tupelo, Miss. In June, the group called for an email campaign against Kraft Foods for its “Let’s Get Zesty” salad dressing campaign, which featured a naked man lying on a picnic blanket with part of the blanket covering his private.
In March, AFA urged investors to sell their Starbucks stock because it said CEO Howard Schultz insulted Christians by suggesting they buy shares elsewhere if they didn’t support his views on same-sex marriages.