Focus on the Family leaves bank over pro-gay issues
December 3, 2005
DENVER – Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian group based in Colorado Springs, is withdrawing funds from Wells Fargo because of its alleged involvement in pro-gay causes, the Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday.”Focus on the Family has elected to end its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, motivated primarily by the bank’s ongoing efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda. These efforts are in direct opposition to the underlying principles and purpose of Focus, and thus a decision of conscience had to be made, and a stand taken,” said a statement Saturday on the Focus website.The group did not return a call seeking comment. The statement did not say how much money they had deposited with Wells Fargo.The News reported that the Wells Fargo logo was used in an internet fundraising campaign for a “fight against the ‘anti-gay industry’ – a group that pro-gay organizations have stated includes Focus on the Family.”Chris Hammond, a vice president of business development for Wells Fargo, said the bank agreed to match contributions to a media campaign fund for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but had not authorized its logo to be used for the internet fundraising campaign and did not approve of it.”We simply made a grant to one of many nonprofits Wells Fargo supports in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Hammond said. He said he told Focus officials that the bank contributes to many charities, “including nonprofit agencies Focus on the Family believes in.”Focus replied by broadening its criticism, said the News. The group said a Gay Pride Festival event in San Francisco, called “Leather Alley,” had been staged in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo branch.Focus said Wells Fargo’s website says the bank has donated more than $14 million to pro-gay organizations in the last two decades.A bank statement on its website said, “We direct our giving to areas that we believe are important to the future of our nation’s vitality and success: community development, education and human services.”Wells Fargo is a target for gay groups, and is one of 49 of the Top 50 Fortune 500 companies that “have adopted pro-gay policies. Looking at the entire list, 85 percent of the Top 500 companies have done so,” said Focus CEO Jim Daly.