Has Chick-fil-A stopped giving money to anti-gay marriage groups?
The answer is yes, according to one elected official in Chicago, but no, according to the restaurant chain.
Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, who represents Chicago's First Ward, said he has negotiated a property deal with Chick-fil-A that is contingent upon the company's promise to address concerns raised by the LGBT community over funding.
Moreno said he would block the construction of the restaurant in his ward after Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A's president and CEO, caused a stir over a comment he made to Baptist Press in July.
When asked about his company's position on the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage, Cathy said, "Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
On Wednesday, Moreno confirmed to CBS Atlanta News that he was told Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to "anti-gay" organizations.
In a statement provided to CBS Atlanta News, Alderman Moreno states, "In my last meeting with company executives, I corroborated what they told me back in January: that donations to anti-gay groups, which most concerned the LGBT community, have ceased. In a letter 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.'"
However, when CBS Atlanta News reached out to Chick-fil-A to confirm the reports on Wednesday, the company responded with a statement that did not mention funding anti-gay and anti-gay marriage groups such as Exodus International, National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family.
"Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
"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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
"Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
After receiving the statement, CBS Atlanta News reached out to Chick-fil-A again, specifically asking if it would continue to support anti-gay groups. Chick-fil-A did not respond.
On Thursday afternoon, Chick-fil-A posted a release on its website regarding the situation in Chicago and the organizations to which it donates.
The release stated that the company had tried to "remain out of this political and social debate," but felt the need to "provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving."
The release then said:
"A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A's giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas."
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