ABC News is reporting that the company has decided to "take a much closer look" at groups that receive donations from the WinShape Foundation, a non-profit created by founder Dan Cathy's family and funded almost entirely by the Atlanta-based restaurants.
“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,” said Chick-fil-A’s senior director of real estate in a letter to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno.
According to WinShape's tax records, between 2008 and 2010, they donated $3.2 million to groups that support traditional marriage, including $2,000 to the Family Research Council and $2,500 to the Alliance Defense Fund which backed Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage.
When news of these donations leaked earlier this summer, it sparked an outcry from gay-marriage activists who tried to initiate a ban of Chick-fil-A restaurants. The effort backfired and supporters turned out in droves on August 1 - the official Chick-fil-A Day - which amounted to record sales for the restaurants.
However, when ABC News requested clarification from Chick-fil-A that their policies had indeed changed, they received the same statement the company sent during the summer controversy.
“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,” Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Tracey Micit said in the statement. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Moreno also claims that the company agreed to amend its corporate policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy.
“The company today has put into writing, for the first time, that its employees are to ‘treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender. .. our intent is not to engage in political or social debates,” Moreno said in a statement.
While supporters of same-sex marriage are pleased with the reversal, supporters of traditional marriage are fuming.
"Chik fil a does not discriminate in their hiring practices in regard to homosexuals. They serve homosexuals. So what is the beef?" asks a commenter named Lucky Strike.
"Homosexuals want them to support homosexual causes and REFRAIN from supporting groups that find homosexuality offensive and repugnant. Chick fil A has a right to use their dollars however they choose. I support them and will continue to support them as long as they stay on their present course. If they change course, I can find other places to spend my dollars. We will work our side of the street and the homosexuals can work their side."
Chutney thinks the reversal is a mistake. "Chick-fil-a shouldn’t back down on their beliefs. If the owner of this private business objects to gay marriage, that’s his right. No one should back down or be threatened by city officials because of his or her beliefs."
Jenn's disappointment was painfully obvious. "Guess I wasted my money eating there," she wrote. "Another company gone down the drain."
Click here to contact Chick-fil-A and ask them to stand firm for traditional marriage.
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