According to a release issued today by The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Chick-fil-A has agreed to cease its support of organizations with anti-gay "political agendas."
Alderman Moreno, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocate, has been participating in negotiations with the company about the issue. A letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A's senior director of real estate states:
"(Chick-fil-A's) 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, company executives clarified that they will no longer donate money to organizations such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage, which actively lobby against LGBT equality policies.
Additionally, Chick-fil-A executives 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."
"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 important part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased their donations to anti-gay groups in 2011 and going forward. With some of the groups that they were donating to being classified as hate groups, and others actively trying to halt the movement toward full civil rights for LGBT people, Chick-fil-A has taken a big step forward. 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."
Although Chick-fil-A has issued the aforementioned internal statement, the company has yet to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level. Rick Garcia, policy advisor for the Civil Right Agenda, said he is hoping for this additional effort.
"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," he said. "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."
The Chick-fil-A donation debate was intensified in July after president/COO Dan Cathy voiced his opposition against gay marriage.
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