McDonald's has come under attack recently over what critics claim to be a high-profile endorsement of homosexuality.
Last month, the vice president of communications for the nation's largest fast-food chain joined the board of directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), an organization "dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) business community."
"I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work," Richard Ellis said regarding the move in a released statement.
"I share the NGLCC's passion for business growth and development within the LGBT community and I look forward to playing a role in moving these important initiatives forward," he added.
Among the groups that have lashed out against the recent move has been the American Family Association (AFA), which has encouraged pro-family citizens to write in to McDonald's with complaints, condemning the action.
McDonald's, however, has denied that the appointment of its vice president of communications to the board of the NGLCC constitutes an endorsement of homosexuality, arguing that the AFA has wrongly overblown the issue in its newsletters attacking the company.
"There are numerous other Fortune 500 companies that serve as corporate partners with NGLCC," the company stated in a series of emails addressing customer complaints.
"While one McDonald's employee is affiliated with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), McDonald's is in no way 'aggressively promoting the homosexual agenda' as suggested in the [AFA] newsletter," the company said.
The AFA, however, is not convinced.
"To refer to Richard Ellis, who is the vice president of communications for McDonald's, as 'one McDonald's employee,' as if he is a teenager flipping hamburgers, is disingenuous at best," AFA said in a statement responding to McDonald's.
"Giving money to and partnering with a homosexual lobby organization is certainly an enthusiastic promotion of the homosexual agenda," AFA said.
Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of AFA, has suggested that a boycott on McDonald's products was a "possibility" if the company would not rectify its actions, according to Baptist Press.
Founded in 1977, and based in Tupelo, Miss., the American Family Association (AFA) is among one of the largest Christian activist organizations dedicated to the promotion of "the biblical ethic of decency in American society."