New Balance issued a statement distancing itself from a controversy over a $500,000 contribution from the company's chairman, Jim Davis, to a pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future. The move came after after the
Republican presidential contender signed a pledge opposing gay marriage.

The statement appeared on Wednesday afternoon on the New Balance website:

A letter from our CEO:

Dear New Balance associates, customers and consumers:

Earlier this year, a private donation was made by our Chairman to a political action committee that is affiliated with Mitt Romney. First, let me be clear that this was a private donation and not a contribution from New Balance. We encourage civic engagement at all levels and will always respect the right of any of our associates to engage in the political process as they see fit. We typically do not comment on private political donations; however, this situation is different.

Mr. Romney recently signed a pledge that challenges same sex marriage and that has offended many including those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Mr. Romney's position on this issue is not reflective of Jim Davis', my or New Balance's position and support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community. As a company, New Balance embraces the differences in all people and we work tirelessly to create and sustain an environment where everyone – our associates, consumers, customers and guests – are treated with dignity and respect.


Rob DeMartini

The statement comes after the website ran a petition demanding to know whether New Balance stood behind the contribution made by the company's chairman. The petition received 2,645 signatures before New Balance issued its statement.

The National Organization for Marriage announced last week that Romney
and three other rivals for the GOP nomination – Michele Bachmann, Rick
Santorum, and Tim Pawlenty – signed a five-point pledge opposing
same-sex marriage.