Given its present sales and fiscal problems, the Ford Motor Company finds itself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place over its support of gay rights, the recruitment of gay employees and offering benefits to same-sex couples.

In the land of the free, the nations' number two automaker has caved-in to threats of a product boycott by the deep-South , Mississippi-based American Family Association.

No longer will Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover brands advertise in gay publications, although there will be no change at Volvo, whose market appeal is to those of a more thoughtful disposition.

Ford spokesman Mike Moran insists the Jaguar/Land Rover decision is not linked to boycott threats. "The decision with regard to advertising [in gay media] was a business decision."

But the gays aren't taking it lying down.

Fulminates the snappily named group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: "We expect Ford to publicly reaffirm its historic support for our community. And, we expect Ford to meet with [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] representatives this week to resolve these concerns."

Ford's cave-in coincides with moves by a Colorado Springs-headquartered conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family, which announced it is closing its account with Wells Fargo because of the San Francisco bank's support of gay organizations.

The bank's reaction is as yet unknown. However, historians will recall that whenever issues of human rights clash with those of religious zealotry, the inevitable winner is Mammon.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff