Saturday, April 08, 2006

Will Ford Bow to Homophobic Pressure?

PlanetOut Network

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. shareholders will decide whether to amend the company's equal employment policy to exclude sexual orientation after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission denied Ford's request to keep the issue off its proxy statement, the automaker said Tuesday.

Ford's policy now says the company won't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, religion and other factors. Shareholder Robert Hurley of Alton, Ill., has submitted a proposal recommending Ford change its policy to exclude any reference to sexual interests, activities or orientation.

Ford asked the SEC to exclude the proposal from its proxy statement, saying it would hurt the company's ability to recruit employees because some universities require companies to include sexual orientation in their policies. Ford also said publicity over changing the policy could hurt sales to gay rights supporters.

But in a recent decision, the SEC said Ford can't exclude the proposal. The SEC said a rule that allows companies to reject proposals that deal with "ordinary business operations" doesn't apply to this case.

Ford is sending its proxy statement to shareholders Friday, spokeswoman Becky Sanch said. Shareholders will vote on the proposals and the results will be announced at the company's annual meeting May 11.

"We will include it, and we will have our comments in the proxy statement," Sanch said.

The SEC agreed with Ford's decision to keep other proposals off the proxy statement, including one that would have required the company to pay managers no more than $500,000 per year.

Ford has had an ongoing struggle with the American Family Association and other right-wing groups about homosexuality. In December, Ford said it would stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands in gay publications to reduce marketing costs. But after meeting with several gay rights groups, Ford said it would put ads featuring all eight of its brands in gay publications.

Last month, 19 right-wing groups reinstated a boycott against Ford over the issue. The American Family Association said Tuesday that it supports the SEC's decision.

"I find Ford's logic in asking the SEC to omit the resolution interesting," AFA Chairman Don Wildmon said in a statement. "In essence Ford is saying they are concerned that a boycott by homosexual groups would financially hurt the company, but the boycott by the pro-family groups will not."

Ford shares were unchanged at $7.77 in afternoon trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.


dusty said...

Ford is trading at less than 8 bucks a share? LMFAO..

I know thats not the point of your post..but I am tired.

Everyone caves into the religious nutjobs..why wouldn't Ford?

JimBob said...

Not sure if Ford really supports gay rights or not - I don't follow them that closely.

However, being a marketing expert (I have had exactly ONE college-level marketing class LOL!), I'd think that Ford realizes that there are more homosexuals out there than there are fanatic right-wingers.

THAT'S how you get corporate support for ANY cause; by affecting their bottom line.

You can bet that if the psychotic right had the numbers, Ford would be more than ready to blow off the homosexual consumers.

No pun intended...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd like to see the American carmakers circle the pipe and disappear down it completely. They've had thirty years to respond to the crisis of dwindling oil reserves and what was their response? To build bigger, heavier, thirstier gas guzzlers. If they went out of business tomorrow, I wouldn't be saddened.

Karen Zipdrive said...

If Ford went out of business, it wouldn't impact my life one iota.
The last Ford I owned was a 1971 Pinto.
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I'm glad you survived your Pinto ownership! Ralph Nader should've written a book about the Pinto like he did for the Corvair.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Our family owned 3 Corvairs in the 60's.
Daddy sure knew how to pick cars back then. Now the senile old fart drives a 20 mph.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame the Corvair and the Pinto were so dangerous. In a time when most other cars were basically "living rooms on wheels" those little cars got pretty good gas mileage. My grandmother had a couple of Corvairs. Even as good as the little car was with gas, she used to let off the gas pedal and coast down hillsides thinking she was saving gas, and that was back when gasoline was less than twenty-five cents a gallon! Her best friend had a monster sized Cadillac and when she drove she never used the gas pedal. That's right! She coasted along the city streets at whatever speed the carbuerator idle setting afforded. When I rode with her and my grandmother, I'd duck down low in the back seat so nobody would see me. Oh, for the good old days...

CLD said...

Wasn't our illustrious government also giving out tax credits to folks who bought those ridiculous over-sized SUVs?

Karen Zipdrive said...

Yes, Chari.
The tax credit was for a truck or SUV that cost more than $50,000 that was "used for work."
After the credit, a Hummer or a Lincoln Navigator would cost the buyer the same as a Pontiac Sunbird.
"Used for work" could include a doctor or lawyer who used his giant vehicle to drive to and from work.