Chick-fil-A has pledged to stop giving money to anti-gay groups and to back off political and social debates after an executive’s comments this summer landed the fast-food chain smack in the middle of the gay marriage debate.
The Civil Rights Agenda, which dubs itself the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group in Illinois, said Chick-fil-A agreed in meetings to stop donating to groups such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. Such groups oppose same-sex marriage.
A report from LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters found that between 2003 and 2009, Chick-fil-A donated more than $3 million to Christian groups that oppose homosexuality. In 2010, the fast food company gave nearly $2 million to such causes, according to the report.
The LGBT collective said the Atlanta-based restaurant chain also sent a letter, signed by its senior director of real estate, to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno.
Chick-fil-A said in the missive that its nonprofit arm, the WinShape Foundation, “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,” according to TCRA.
Moreno helped fan this summer’s controversy, after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said his company was “guilty as charged” of supporting the biblical definition of the family unit. Moreno, who runs Chicago’s trendy Northwest Side ward, said he would block the chain from opening shop in his area.
Now, according to the Chicago Tribune, Moreno has softened his stance and will allow Chick-fil-A in.
The restaurant firm may have helped mend the relationship by also promising to amend an official company document to reflect that its “intent is not to engage in political or social debates,” according to TCRA.
The document, called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” will also state that the chain will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.” The company took a similar stance this summer, as politicians, celebrities and customers around the country began taking sides.
Outside of that statement, Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnston said the company is “not offering any response” to the news from TCRA.
“Chick-fil-A has taken a big step forward,” said Anthony Martinez, TCRA’s executive director, in a statement. “We are encouraged by their willingness to serve all people and ensure their profits are not used to fight against a minority community that is still trying to gain full and equal civil rights.”
Now, the group wants Chick-fil-A to put in a corporate anti-discrimination policy to address complaints about a “culture of discrimination within the company,” it said.