A boycott petition of Target stores has climbed to more than a half-million signatures.
The petition was announced last week by the American Family Association after Target announced on April 19 that its stores were allowing transgendered people to use the restroom and fitting room of their choice.
The reason for the reminder, Target said, was to side with "inclusivity" after the issue of public restrooms has "reignited a national conversation" about "inclusivity."
Target's announcement appears to be in response to legislation in North Carolina, where a state law requires individuals to use the bathroom for the gender given to them at birth. That law overturned a bathroom ordinance in Charlotte allowing people to use the bathroom of their "gender identity."
"This is about protecting women and children," AFA spokesman Walker Wildmon says of the boycott petition.
The safety concern is likely why the petition has garnered such support, he says.
AFA President Tim Wildmon, announcing the boycott and petition drive, said the boycott is not meant to single out transgender people.
"Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims," Wildmon wrote about the boycott. "And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?"
To push AFA's point, the announcement included numerous links to news stories highlighting such incidents at a Macy's, a women's shelter, a university, and a mall's food court, among others.
The petition drive was launched Friday, April 22. It had climbed to more than 500,000 signers over the weekend and reached 540,000 signatures by mid-day Monday.
Wildmon's own commentary at AFA.net has more than 214,000 shares on Facebook.
Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association began in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency, when Rev. Don Wildmon was angered by sexual content during family-viewing time on network television.
The ministry has launched numerous boycotts in the past, though the Target boycott is the first one in recent memory.
Beyond the AFA petition, Target's announcement has seen pushback.
A story at website Resurgent.com described Target as "the most dangerous store in America," noting for example its anti-firearms policy.
"Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests?" reads a 2014 press release denouncing so-called open-carry laws.
Resurgent writer Stever Berman also questioned the reaction by Janna Potts, Target's executive vice president, if a man followed her into the ladies' restroom at the corporate headquarters.
In a Youtube video published April 20, a man asks Target managment is he can "self-identify" as a Target employee to receive the store's 10-percent employee discount on the candy bar he was purchasing.
Store managers mistakenly believed the man, Tony Miano, was claiming to be the employee of another store and requested his employee verification. But he explained he was not a Target employee but wanted to self-identify as one.
"But men can come in here and use the women's bathroom, and women can come in and use the men's restroom," Miano told a store manager. "And all they have to do is self-identify as either a man or a woman."
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News, which includes news website OneNewsNow.