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Lawmaker: Chick-Fil-A Agrees To End Donations To Anti-Gay Groups

by David Badash on September 19, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,News,Politics

Post image for Lawmaker: Chick-Fil-A Agrees To End Donations To Anti-Gay Groups

Chick-Fil-A has reportedly stated it will no longer donate to anti-gay organizations or groups that actively oppose same-sex marriage. The $4 billion fast food chicken restaurant also reportedly has sent a company-wide memo stating the organization respects all people, including gay people, and supports equal treatment for all, according to a Chicago lawmaker, and local Chicago LGBT organization, who claim Chick-Fil-A will no longer funnel millions of dollars, via its Winshape Foundation, to anti-gay hate groups, like the Family Research Council, or anti-gay organizations like Focus On The Family.

READ: Five Reasons Chick-Fil-A Isn’t What You Think

The changes come as the result of a ten-month long negotiation headed by Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who came under intense fire for stating he would not allow Chick-Fil-A to open a restaurant in Chicago until they instituted policies disallowing discrimination.

READ: Chick-Fil-A: From NYC To San Francisco, Mayors Weigh In On Banning The Bird

“The company outlined its shift in policy and practice in a letter addressed to Moreno, who in July declared that he would block the popular fast food chain from opening a new location in his ward unless they adopted gay-friendly policies,” the Chicago Phoenix reported overnight.

The letter, signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate reads, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”

In an internal memo titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” issued to franchisees and stakeholders, the company said that as a whole it would, “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender,” and that its “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”

“Chick-fil-A has provided a way to ensure that their employees know that discrimination will not be tolerated,” Moreno said. “It sends an important message and is a very positive step for Chick-fil-A as it looks to expand into urban markets. It is also a positive step forward for the LGBT community.”

“Moreno first made national headlines in July when he said he would block construction of a Chick-fil-A in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue because of comments [Chick-Fil-A COO Dan] Cathy made during an interview published in the Baptist Press, the Chicago Tribune is reporting:

Cathy said he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

Critics questioned Moreno’s commitment to free speech and whether he could legally block construction of the restaurant over the company owner’s political views. Moreno insisted it was a civil rights issue.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a supporter of gay marriage, also entered the debate, saying, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.”

Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, said the “Who We Are” statement is “a step forward” but “not the endgame.”

“We would still like to see Chick-fil-A adopt … (an) anti-discrimination policy that specifically states they won’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Martinez said.

He said his group was more pleased with the pledge not to fund groups that oppose gay marriage, adding that it will monitor donations by WinShape, a company-affiliated nonprofit group that has made contributions to groups opposing gay marriage.

Meanwhile, Illinois Family Institute Executive Director David Smith said the pledge to respect all people was simply in keeping with the Cathy family’s values.

“That’s just consistent with their Christian beliefs — that’s consistent with orthodox Christian values,” Smith said.

But there is valid cause for skepticism. First, Chick-Fil-A has not announced publicly — aside from their vaguely-worded letter signed by their real estate director — they will stop all donations to groups who oppose same-sex marriage or equality for LGBT people, so, technically, the Winshape Foundation could donate to the Boy Scouts. And Chick-Fil-A could set up another foundation, or funnel donations elsewhere. Of course, the Cathy family can donate whatever and to whomever they please,

But it’s a start. Stay tuned.

Related:

Attention, Members Of The Media: Here’s Why FRC Is Labeled A ‘Hate Group’

BREAKING: Chick-Fil-A Gets Multiple Human Rights Act Complaints Filed Against Them

Chick-Fil-A Profits Are Supporting Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill?

 

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{ 5 comments }

BeerandOnion September 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

One small step of the road to equality — I hope.

bfirrera September 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I'll believe it when I see it. We've yet to see a response to the story from Chick-Fil-A or from the Cathy family themselves. We also have not heard of them giving an equivalent donation to a GLBT charity (or a few). This still doesn't mean they are getting my money, knowing that it's not just the gays but Jews, Muslims, women and other minorities who frequently get mistreated at Chick-Fil-A.

freedomsaid September 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

MEH, I'll believe it maybe, maybe, when Dan Cathy pens a document and swears on his bible publicly

Dave_Koch September 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

If he were true to his faith, he wouldn't change his position just because his business is hurting. His faith is for the convenience of the moment. Boycott the bigot.

Dave_Koch September 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, and during the Chick-Fil-A fifteen minutes of fame, Chick-Fil-A will go the way of Anita Bryant. Now the organization is obviously facing some serious consequences. (See Link at bottom of this post)

Dan Cathy (Chick-Fil-A's CEO) is desperately trying to kiss and make up with the LGBT community. Why? Well, based upon my business experience, I can guarantee that all of the banks affiliated with Chick-Fil-A are very paranoid about lending money either to Chick-Fil-A or to anyone looking at buying and financing a franchise. In fact, I would bet that lending for franchise sales is completely dead right now.

You can also be sure that all of the insurance underwriters for Chick-Fil-A and its franchisee's got a real pucker from the dumbass stunt pulled by its CEO.

Employee Practices Insurance is generally underwritten by Chubb. I would not be surprised if Chick-Fil-A lost a good portion of its insurance coverages. Dan Cathy's stunt opened Chick-Fil-A up to some very ugly employee lawsuits. He basically made Chick-Fil-A a plaintiff attorney's wet-dream.

Anyone looking at buying a franchise is receiving stern advice from their attorneys, insurance carrier, and from their banks to by a Dairy Queen or McDonalds – ANYTHING but a Chick-Fil-A. Aside from that, who would want to pour their life savings into a franchise that is managed by a loose cannon cowboy?

Banks do not like taking risks that cannot be calculated within the guidelines of customary business operation risks, and for those, the bank wants to see insurance. Insurance companies do not want to write insurance for someone who is waiving a banner, "please sue me." Finally, you can't buy insurance for having a CEO who is an ass nozzle.

I suspect that Chick-Fil-A lost a great deal more business than it gained from its one-day escapade of catering to the all of the right-wing, homophobic, low information knuckle draggers. However, what is far more impacted is its business model, and how it has tainted itself with its lenders, insurance underwriters, franchisee's, vendors and everyone who has actually evolved beyond the 17th Century.

I was in my early twenties while Anita Bryant self-destructed. Anita Bryant is still the best thing that ever happened to the LGBT community – indeed Anita Bryant created the organized LGBT community.

Dan Cathy and Chick-Fil-A consciously decided to viciously attack innocent people on the basis of what we now see is a totally phony theology. If Mr. Cathy were really devoted to his theology, he wouldn't be trying to backpedal. Mr. Cathy's theology is practiced only for the convenience of the moment or the situation. It's a total veneer.

Some people would suggest that the LGBT community accept Mr. Cathy's disingenuous olive branch and forgive him. I personally say use him and Chick-Fil-A as the sacrificial goat to show the rest of the country that there are consequences with what amounts to corporate sponsorship of hate and bigotry. Mr. Cathy made himself and his organization the sacrificial goat – not the LGBT community.

I believe that this is the biggest opportunity to advance equality since Anita Bryant. Just because Chick-fil-A is floating a balloon that it won't give donations (that anyone can find) to anti gay organizations doesn't suddenly cure Dan Cathy of his numerous malfunctions, including being a repugnant bigot. My personal vote would be to continue the boycott until Dan Cathy, et al are in chapter 11.

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