Restaurant chain Chick-fil-A will no longer donate to anti-gay organizations, an advocacy group said Tuesday, in an apparent about-face on a religious and political issue that put the company in hot water this summer.
In a statement on The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) website, the Chicago-based group said local Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno was in final discussions with the chicken restaurant over the company's stance on sexual orientation.
"Alderman Moreno has confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation," the statement said.
The statement clarified that Chick-fil-A's real estate arm 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."
WinShape had previously given to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
Both of these organizations are deemed anti-gay groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once called the fight against homosexuality a "second civil war."
Meanwhile, NOM, a less overtly anti-gay organization "is playing a shell game, avoiding the most egregiously false defamations of gay people on its own website, but linking directly to others who don't," according to the SPLC.
Chick-fil-A, which ranks 89 in Forbes' top 400 with a net worth of $4.2 billion, has long based its company on Christian values. Locations are closed on Sundays and employees are asked to disclose marital status and church involvement on official forms.
The TCRA statement did not mention a reason for the sudden change of heart of the family operated fast-food chain and its President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy.
Earlier this summer, Cathy caused a firestorm in LGBT circles and the media when he said he supported a Biblical interpretation of marriage.
"I think we're inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say you know, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Cathy told a local radio station in July.
After reiterating his remarks in other news outlets, pro-LGBT groups and politicians came out against his views. Moreno and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said they would not allow any further Chick-fil-A outlets to be built in the city.
"Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," Emanuel said at the time. "They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty."
Activists then staged pro-gay "kiss ins" at many restaurant locations, but these demonstrations received less support than "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," championed by conservative politicians like Mike Huckabee.
After the warring demonstrations took place, Chick-fil-A made a statement defending their history of Christian charity while also welcoming all patrons.
"From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business," a July 31st statement read.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender...Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena," it added.
Going forward, TCRA policy advisor Rick Garcia said they hope to see an anti-discrimination policy adopted at the corporate level.
Chick-fil-A did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the TCRA press release.
by RTT Staff Writer
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