US conservatives groups are enforcing a boycott of car manufacturer Ford because of the company’s support for gays and lesbians.

The American Family Association, is encouraging car buyers to avoid buying Ford vehicles for a year because they believe the carmakers have not “remained neutral in the cultural battles.”

Protesters are voicing disapproval at Ford advertisements in gay publications of their Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles as well as other designs. A spokeswoman for Ford said: “Ford is proud of its tradition of treating all with respect and we remain focused on what we do best, building and selling the most innovative cars and trucks worldwide.”

However, the AFA claim the company backtracked on an agreement that it would not advertise in alternative publications. In a statement on their website, chairman Donald Wildmon said: “Ford has the right to financially support homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage, but at the same time consumers have a right not to purchase automobiles made by Ford.”

Gay groups reacted angrily to the plans, Sean Kofosky, director of policy at the Triangle Foundation, told the Associated Press, “There’s a risk anytime a mainstream company strays too far left or right.”

He labelled the AFA as “an extremist hate group that does nothing that promotes families. All they do is bully people into supporting discrimination. They want to attack American automakers who market to every niche and support free enterprise.”

Ford has previously faced protest from the AFA but avoided a boycott after removing the adverts in question, although the company insisted the move was not due to the AFA threats. Last year Joe Laymon, Ford’s head of human resources, told gay and lesbian groups that the decision to drop adverts in gay and lesbian publications had been misinterpreted.

He added, “As a result, we have decided to run corporate ads in these targeted publications that will include not only Jaguar/Land Rover but all eight of Ford’s vehicle brands.”

“It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford’s desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue behind us.”