Why Did Chick-fil-A Cross the Road? Because Being Anti-Gay is Bad for Business

19 Sep

I have a rule. If everyone else is writing about something, I’m more than likely not going to write about it – unless three straight friends personally email me about it. So here it is-

Chicago Alerman Proco “Joe” Moreno made headlines a few months ago when he vowed to block the anti-gay fast food chain, Chick-fil-A from building its second Chicago store. People screamed about the corporation’s right to free speech, etc and attacked Moreno and other lawmakers who were vowing similar challenges. And while legally, no lawmaker can just decide someone can’t do business because of their beliefs – there are other ways of legislatively challenging new businesses from opening. These include discriminatory employment practices among other things. Point being, nothing ever happened and no one stopped any Chick-fil-A’s from selling their horrifically unhealthy chicken sandwiches.

One thing that needs to be made clear here – the reason gay people were up in arms about Chick-fil-A had very little to do with CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks regarding his anti-equality view on marriage. The tremors were caused by Chick-fil-A contributing more than $5 million to virulently anti-gay groups over the past several years. Some of those groups have even been linked to Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill which would mean life in prison and in some cases, execution for being gay. It even went so far as to punish those who didn’t report friends and family for being gay.

Flash forward, dozens of anti-gay groups have now hosted anti-gay “Chick-fil-A Days” and other homophobic actions supporting the chain. One anti-gay group has even gone so far as to declare every Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Day.”

Now it appears through several talks, Alderman Moreno has made some headway with the higher-ups and is declaring victory. It seems Chick-fil-A has agreed to stop funding these anti-gay groups and has sent around an internal memo to all franchisees and stakeholders that says the company must “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.”

This is quite clearly a win for us and proves that being anti-gay is bad for business. While we will have to wait to see their tax returns which disclose the groups they contribute to, and while Dan Cathy made a similar claim in January of 2011 that Chick-fil-A and their charitable arm, Winshape will “not champion any political agendas on marriage and family,” I think this is most definitely a win.

Upon revisitation, there are still quite a few things left up in the air that I want to caution about before we run back for our waffle fries:

  • This agreement was made between a Chicago politician and Chick-fil-A’s Director of Real Estate. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of clout a Director of Real Estate might have with regards to Chick-fil-A’s employment or giving practices.
  • The policy that’s being touted as a success is their philosophy that they don’t give to groups with political agendas is one that has been in place since the company was founded – what’s making them stick to that philosophy now and who at Chick-fil-A does the deciding on what is or is not a group with a political agenda.
  • Finally, No one at Chick-fil-A has corroborated or denied the reports in this press release. Until that happens, stick to KFC.

The full statement from The Civil Rights Agenda:

Chick-fil-A Ceases Anti-gay Donations, Clarifies Stance on

Gay Customers & Employees

September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A.  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 Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A.  Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.

In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno 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.”  Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.  In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “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.  It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”

Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states 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.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “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.”

7 Responses to “Why Did Chick-fil-A Cross the Road? Because Being Anti-Gay is Bad for Business”

  1. meggy81 September 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    It’s just sad though that they’re only doing it because they were found out and were losing money. There’s no way that this company is really doing it because they’ve seen the light and that being a bigoted SOB is not what God had in mind when he said Love thy neighbour. Just my cynical 2 cents

  2. Randall labolle September 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    I do not think they have changed at all. They will just make an attempt to hide their donations more carefully. Through a spouse or child. Somewhere we are not going to see the money flowing. I don’t trust them and I will never eat in their restaurants ever. This is all publicity. I think you’ve been duped.

  3. a pedophile September 24, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    Regarding your article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-mcgonnigal/antigay-boy-scouts-find-s_b_1890574.html I would like to quote your own link:

    “Members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority’s most vulnerable members.” (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html)

    Well that is EXACTLY what society is doing against pedophiles. Pedophiles are NOT a danger to children anymore than gays or heterosexuals are. You know who IS a danger to children? People who lack empathy, abusers. Just because someone is a pedophile or gay doesnt mean he is sick or a danger!

    When most people say they hate pedophiles, they forget
    that they are including regular people, who want to share this Earth with
    other people, who just have problems. They just want to live a normal
    life, and enjoy things everybody else does. They don’t all want to have
    sex with children. It’s the ones that do that we should be aware of. I
    agree with protecting children, but that doesn’t mean to dehumanize people
    with pedophilia. Why does everybody think pedophiles are single-minded
    child-harming machines who have no purpose other than harming the world.

  4. graysugar October 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    You know I’m a good southern girl I love a #1 from Chick-fil-A but now I drive by a CFA and my stomach turns….I’ll never eat there again.

  5. elliottmissions October 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Wait, wait wait, the “virulently anti-gay group” is Focus on the Family? Really? Hardly a hate group…

    • Jamie McGonnigal October 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Really? That’s strange. I’d think a group who states the following things certainly qualifies as a hate group:

      They frequently misrepresent research to make it look as though gay parenting is harmful to children. The researcher of the study they quote came out and said as much.

      James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family has said some of the following statements which I think certainly qualify as hateful and false:
      “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.”

      “Most gays and lesbians do not want to marry each other…the intention here is to destroy marriage altogether.”

      “Same-sex relationships undermine the future generation’s understanding of the fundamental principles of marriage, parenthood, and gender.” He also stated that the alleged destruction of what it considers to be the traditional family by permitting same-sex marriage will lead to “unstable homes for children”.

      And here are a few choice quotes from their published material:

      “Heterosexuality is fundamental to the vitality and even the existence of any society. Scripture is very clear in its condemnation of homosexual conduct, for such sin is a deviation from God’s creation and design.”

      “There is no evidence that homosexuals, as a class, are discriminated against in the present society. They are not like African-Americans, Hispanics or other historically disadvantaged groups, for they have a far higher average income than most Americans, a higher level of education than most Americans and significant political influence.”

      “Focus on the Family also opposes the efforts of radical homosexual ‘social reformers’ who wish to redefine the family, permit homosexual ‘marriages,’ be able to adopt children and recruit the young.

      “Focus on the Family has seen that, by God’s grace and through compassionate counseling, it is sometimes possible, although always difficult, for a person to move from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation. When that change appears impossible in an individual case, such a person is in the same position as the heterosexual single who has no prospects of marriage. They are both called by Scripture to a life of sexual abstinence.”

      They spend more than 75% of their resources spreading anti-gay bigotry and very little on “family.” So their actual focus is on bigotry, not family. And yes, they are most certainly a hate group.

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