Antigay groups boycott Procter & Gamble products
Two conservative organizations are calling for a boycott of two Procter & Gamble Co. products because the organizations say P&G is tacitly supporting gay marriage. The American Family Association, of Tupelo, Miss., and Focus on the Family, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said they urged their supporters this week to refuse to buy Crest toothpaste and Tide detergent, two of P&G's biggest-selling
products. P&G spokesman Doug Shelton said the organizations have wrongly characterized the company's support of repealing a Cincinnati charter amendment to mean that it is supporting same-sex marriage.
P&G has given $10,000 in support of a November 2 ballot issue for repeal of a 1993 city charter amendment that forbids Cincinnati to enact or enforce laws conferring "minority or protected status" based on sexual orientation. P&G said it believes the amendment makes it harder to attract visitors and potential employees to Cincinnati and that it subjects gay people to potential discrimination in workplaces and housing. Federated Department Stores Inc., a Cincinnati-based corporation that owns the Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, also has given $20,000 in support of the campaign. "P&G has not supported gay marriage. The definition of marriage is a subject that will be debated and decided by voters," Shelton said Friday. "We've not taken a position on that--and we won't."
Activists say the amendment, upheld on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1998, denies special legal protections to gays and lesbians. Sixty-two percent of Cincinnati's voters approved the amendment in 1993. The November 2 ballot issue is the first time voters have had an opportunity to decide whether to keep or repeal it. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, urged listeners of his syndicated radio show Thursday to boycott the P&G products. Dobson said P&G's statements and policies support gay activists' position that restricting marriage to one man and one woman is discriminatory. "For Procter & Gamble to align itself with radical groups committed to redefining marriage in our country is an affront to its customers," Dobson said.
The American Family Association has established a Web site in support of the protest. "Procter & Gamble, to my knowledge, is the first corporation in this country that has given money for a political campaign pushing the homosexual political agenda," said the Reverend Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association.