The seeds of chaos were planted in July when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy appeared on a radio show and publicly stated that his company opposes same-sex marriage. It didn't take long for his statements to reverberate throughout the nation, with civil rights groups, media outlets and the public at large responding feverishly. This, teamed with the angst that was already created months before over Chick-fil-A's past donations to groups that support the traditional family unit, created a furor.
With the dust having finally settled, a shocking report from a Chicago-based gay rights group claims that the fast food chain has now pledged to stop funding groups that stand against legalizing gay marriage. In a press release on Tuesday, The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) announced that an internal Chick-fil-A document shows that the company is re-thinking which organizations it will fund.
The Huffington Post has more on the alleged developments:
TCRA's statement appears to confirm earlier reports which indicated that Chick-fil-A might be reconsidering their LGBT stance. Last month, reliable sources who did not wish to be identified told the HuffPost Gay Voices team that Dan Cathy, the fast food chain's president, "welcomed campus leaders to a private luncheon in Atlanta...to discuss diversity, hospitality and the opportunity to find common ground," though no further information regarding exactly which college groups were present was provided.
While the gay rights group claims that they are content with the internal statement, which seems to indicate that the company will avoid giving to conservative groups, they are hoping that Chick-fil-A will draft an official, anti-discrimination policy and release it publicly at the corporate level. TCRA also claims that there is a climate of mistreatment that is waged against gay workers and that the supposed culture must be confronted.
However, the internal memo did allegedly go out to stakeholders and franchises, calling for the company to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender." The statement, which also seeks to separate Chick-fil-A from social and political debates, was placed on official, internal record.
TCRA, which purportedly advised Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno (who previously threatened to block Chick-fil-A from his city) as he negotiated terms with the company, praised the alleged development in a statement released on its web site. According to the press release, Moreno has confirmed these details to the organization.
The Chicago Tribune has more about the arrangement and Moreno's work to arrange it:
Though Moreno said he scored a "big win," the company made nearly identical pledges in a July 19 Facebook post that went up even before Moreno took issue with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage.
The statement of respect also falls short of Moreno's goal of adding language opposing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the company's employee handbook.
Moreno said the statement will be included in a memo called "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are" to be distributed to all corporate employees and restaurant operators.
TCRA, while optimistic about the developments, was also cautious in its assessment of the movements on the part of Chick-fil-A.
"We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue," said TCRA executive director Anthony Martinez. "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."
While Martinez praised the development, he was careful to note that it is only one step in the right direction when it comes to relations between Chick-fil-A and the gay community. TCRA also claims that there is a letter that was addressed to Moreno and that came from the fast food chain's senior director of real estate. It purportedly reaffirms the company's pledge to re-examine and inevitably stop funding these groups.
"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," the letter allegedly reads (Winshape is Chick-fil-A's non-profit organization).
Some of the organizations that the company has supported include Exodus International, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. While BuzzFeed attempted to get a reaction from Chick-fil-A representatives, a spokesman refused to confirm or deny the story. Instead, the outlet received a statement that is reminiscent of what the food chain has said numerous times before.
"We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone. We have a 65-year history of providing hospitality for all people and, as a dedicated family business, serving and valuing everyone regardless of their beliefs or opinions," it read. "The genuine, historical intent of our WinShape Foundation and corporate giving has been to support youth, family and educational programs."
(H/T: Huffington Post)