An anti-gay group that has a religious woody for Home Depot is nailing the group again, this week criticizing it for sponsoring Atlanta Pride. Trouble is, the Atlanta-based retail giant isn’t a sponsor. In an alert to its members on Monday, the American Family Association went after Home Depot for “expanding support for gay marriage” by sponsoring Atlanta Pride and the annual commitment ceremony that is part of it. They also urged members to pray for the company, sign a boycott pledge and peddle their harassment against equality to individual store managers.
Home Depot is showing it wants to advance same-sex marriage in America. The company is planning to set up a booth at the October 8-9 Gay Pride Festival in Atlanta. The event includes a "Commitment Ceremony" in which two gays get "married.” This picture was taken at the Atlanta gay "marriage" ceremony last year. Home Depot paid for printing thousands of brochures promoting it. Video of last year's ceremony sponsored by Home Depot here. Home Depot is also sponsoring the Atlanta pride parade and plans to march alongside groups like Dykes on Bikes, Queer Femme Revolution and Human Rights Campaign.Yet, the AFA alert plays fast and loose with the truth. Home Depot isn’t a Pride sponsor and they didn’t print brochures for the commitment ceremony last year, says JP Sheffield, Pride’s executive director. “That is part of [AFA’s] agenda -- to get upset over anybody supporting anything that is good for the LGBT community,” Sheffield says. “It seems misplaced. Home Depot is one of many national corporations that participate in Pride.” Home Depot is scheduled to take part in the Pride parade and host a booth in the marketplace during the festival next month. The company has scored well, through not perfectly, on a ranking of LGBT-friendly policies, helped fund a renovation of Atlanta's gay Rush Center, and its non-profit arm recently awarded $25,000 to Jerusalem House, a non-profit that provides housing to people with HIV. The AFA also takes aim at Home Depot in a Pass Along Sheet (pdf), documenting other Pride activities Home Depot takes part in across the U.S. The group urges its supporters to print the sheet and distribute it at church services. Last year, the AFA aimed its woody at Home Depot and Target for their “open displays of homosexual activism on main streets in America’s towns.” Ironically, Home Depot got smacked earlier this year for donations to anti-gay causes. Sheffield says corporate sponsors, including Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, play a critical role in the annual Pride festival. Without their dollars, the event wouldn’t be able to offer its extensive entertainment line-up, he says. “Having corporate sponsors means we are able to do what we do. Very little of our funding comes from individual donors. We also don't charge a ticket price to get into the event. We don't charge a ticket price to see the entertainment. We certainly wouldn’t be able to afford to have any entertainment at all if their weren’t corporate sponsors,” Sheffield says.