Chick-fil-A, which has always put its money where its mouth is by refusing to open on Sundays, could soon be easing the company’s firm anti-gay stance that was the center of a national controversy this past summer.
According to a Chicago-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy group, the company has agreed to cease donations to right-wing groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
In a Wednesday press release, the Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) cites Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno as confirming that Chick-fil-A officials declared in an internal document that the company “will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation.”
TCRA reportedly served as an advisor to the alderman as he negotiated these concessions with Chick-fil-A executives, although details of exactly what those negotiations entailed remain unclear.
“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” Anthony Martinez, executive director of TCRA, said in the statement. “I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights.”
The fast-food chain’s internal memo, which is titled, “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” reportedly states that they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.”
Among those to praise the document was Rick Garcia, policy advisor for TCRA, though he noted his organization still hoped the company would adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level.
TCRA’s statement appears to confirm earlier published reports which indicated that Chick-fil-A might be reconsidering their LGBT stance.
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The recent backlash against the Atlanta-based fast food chain was sparked by Dan Cathy’s remarks in a July 16 interview with the Baptist Press. Cathy, the son of company founder S. Truett Cathy, about the restaurant group’s “support of the traditional family,” Dan Cathy said, “Well, guilty as charged.”
Cathy went on to note, “We are very much supportive of the family — 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…we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Yet even before the national controversy, students at colleges and universities have been among the most vocal critics of Chick-fil-A’s well-reported donations to anti-gay groups. Campus Pride, a non-profit LGBT college student advocacy organization, announced on Thursday morning that it was suspending its “5 Simple Facts About Chick-fil-A” campaign, which informed students about the company’s anti-LGBT connections.
“At the end of the day,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride, “this is not about politics for Campus Pride, this is about dignity, respect and the campus safety of all students at colleges and universities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.”