At a time when many Curves For Women franchise owners are fighting for financial survival, Curves International is risking a public backlash by promotionally partnering with the divisive and highly controversial anti-gay and pro-life American Family Association.
The promotion: Curves and American Family Radio (AFR) – an affiliate of the American Family Association (AFA) – are promoting a healthy recipe contest. The Curves ads were nestled between politically charged pro-life stories and videos on the AFR website, and the prize included a free year membership at a Curves Club and an audio Bible dvd.
According to its website, the American Family Association (AFA) is a non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization that believes “in holding accountable the companies which sponsor programs attacking traditional family values. We also believe in commending those companies which act responsibly regarding programs they support.” One of their main goals is to “expose the misrepresentation of the radical homosexual agenda and stop its spread though our culture.”
The controversial AFA has put pressure on a number of franchise organizations. It picketed Southland Corporation for selling adult magazines in 7-11 stores and led a boycott of McDonald’s for contributing to supposedly supporting a gay rights organization.
The Curves For Women/AFA promotional partnership has already begun drawing the ire of the gay and lesbian community.
In the past AFA has supported through its mis-information campaigns; the criminalization of homosexuality, has lobbied against same-sex marriage, and opposed equal-rights and hate-crime legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity under categories already protected and generally would like to see gays and lesbians disappear from the face of the earth.
The AFA also has called for the arrest of an openly gay Arizona Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, the boycott of the Girl Scouts of American was because it does not ban lesbian scouts or lesbian scout leaders and harassed any company the AFA even remotely thought might be supporting what it refers to as the “homosexual agenda.”
Needless to say the AFA is all and all not really an organization that as a lesbian I would really find very endearing and in the same token don’t find it very endearing that Curves would be partnering with such a group.
The blog Queers United has been actively blogging and posting comments on Twitter to “Demand that Curves drop their sponsorship and association with the anti-gay hate group known as the AFA.”
The big question: WHY?
Why would Curves International risk kicking a hornet’s nest for a minor recipe contest promotion with little potential upside?
Why risk stirring up the media firestorm it endured in 2005 when Curves was (falsely) accused of funding radical anti-abortion groups.
Is Curves founder and born-again Christian Gary Heavin using franchisee ad money to support his personal charities?
How do Curves franchise owners feel about the promotional partnership with the American Family Association?
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