Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain that had activists up in arms over anti- gay statements issued by its founder, has apparently come clean and no longer donates financially to anti- gay groups, according to a statement released today, January 29, 2013.
Chick-fil-A angered LGBT activists and supporters last summer when its president, Dan Cathy, made a statement declaring his support for the family; specifically, the Biblical definition of a family unit. This meant, of course, opposition to the LGBT community and same sex marriage. Worse for the LGBT community, Chick-fil-A is known to have previously made financial donations to anti- gay organizations such as Focus on the Family and Exodus International.
Based on IRS 990 tax documents, however, it appears that the promoter of chicken sandwiches as a substitute for hamburgers is no longer contributing to these divisive organizations. According to an official statement from Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain is no longer donating any money to these types of groups and is avoiding donations to any type of organization that engages in discriminatory behavior. The official press release from Chick-fil-A reads:
"Over the past three years alone, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations around the country, in addition to providing millions of dollars in food donations. While we evaluate individual donations on an annual basis, our giving is focused on three key areas: youth and education, leadership and family enrichment and serving the local communities in which we operate. Our intent is to not support political or social agendas. This has been the case for more than 60 years. The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect and to serve great food with genuine hospitality."
Chick-fil-A’s actions last year set off a series of boycotts and counter- protests from those on each side of the same- sex marriage debate. Supporters of LGBT rights hoped that a restaurant boycott would hurt Chick-fil-A financially to the point that it would have to reconsider its position on this issue.
Whether or not the boycott made a significant difference in the Chick-fil-A bottom line is unknown, but what is known is that Shane Windemeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, had been meeting and conversing with Dan Cathy and other Chick-fil-A upper management for some time. He was even invited as Cathy’s guest at the Chick-fil-A Bowl game and wrote an op- ed titled “Dan & Me: My Coming Out as Friends of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A.”
Chick-fil-A is still operated as a conservative organization and will likely continue to remain family- centered in the traditional sense. But LGBT community members and their supporters can be at least a little comforted in knowing that Chick-fil-A has softened its position somewhat and is no longer donating to organizations with a known anti- gay agenda.
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