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McDonald’s draws fire for diversity effort

OAK BROOK Ill. The appointment of a McDonald’s Corp. executive to the board of directors of a national gay and lesbian organization has prompted a right-wing advocacy group to solicit support for a protest.

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a Washington-based organization that supports businesses owned by gays and lesbians, announced last month that it had appointed to its board Richard Ellis, vice president of communications for McDonald’s USA. McDonald’s is also one of several corporate partners for the NGLCC. Other business partners include Kimpton Hotels, Sodexho, Marriott and Starwood hotels, as well as companies in other industries, including IBM, Well Fargo and Lehman Bros.

The American Family Association, a nonprofit organization based in Tupelo, Miss., however, has singled out McDonald’s participation in NGLCC, calling on members to contact their local McDonald’s and question operators about why the fast food chain “is using its size and resources to promote the homosexual agenda.”

Aspokeswoman for the more than 30,000-unit McDonald’s defended the company’s support of NGLCC, saying that the chain has always strived to value diverse groups.

“We believe that by embracing our differences we are better enabled to value and respect other people as well as understand differing points of view,” said McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud.

The company has long promoted its efforts to create a diverse workforce and serve diverse customers. Some of the recognition it has received includes being named among the Top 25 Companies for People with Disabilities, the Top 50 Places for Hispanic Women to Work, the 30 Best Companies for Diversity and the best employer for Asians.

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