Chick-fil-A, working with Illinois-based advocacy group The Civil Rights Agenda, has reportedly ceased making donations to anti-gay organizations and has circulated an internal memo emphasizing its commitment to fair and equal treatment of all people.
According to The Civil Rights Agenda’s press release:
In a letter addressed to Alderman [Poco Joe] Moreno [from Chicago’s First Ward] and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “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.” In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.
Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that stated that, as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender,” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”
This decision follows months of protests, kiss-ins, vandalism and condemnation from important public figures over president Dan Cathy’s stance against marriage equality and the chain’s history of donating millions of dollars to conservative, anti-LGBT groups.
Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, said that they are “very pleased with the outcome,” however, policy advisor Rick Garcia thinks Chick-fil-A’s new anti-discrimination policy doesn’t go far enough:
“It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”
Soooooo, does this mean you’ll start chowing down at Chick-fil-A again?
UPDATE: Chick-fil-A released a statement of their own, neither confirming nor denying the Civil Rights Agenda’s release, but claiming that the chain has never been anti-anyone:
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…The genuine, historical intent of our WinShape Foundation and corporate giving has been to support youth, family and educational programs.
The Chicago Tribune also points out:
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.