Chick-fil-A under fire again from gay rights groups

July 3, 2012

A new report from Equality Matters shows that Chick-fil-A has continued to donate millions of dollars to organizations that are considered anti-gay. This continued support is despite numerous protests and boycotts from various gay rights organizations throughout the past couple of years, stemming from a similar report released in 2009.

According to Equality Matters, a communications initiative in support of gay equality, the chicken QSR chain donated more than $3 million to organizations such as the Family Research Council and Exodus International between 2003 and 2009. In 2010 alone, Chick-fil-A donated nearly $2 million to similar organizations.

The donations were channeled through Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation.

In 2010, WinShape donated nearly $2 million to the following organizations:

  • Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $247,500
  • New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000
  • Georgia Family Council: $2,500

Donald "Bubba" Cathy, Chick-fil-A's senior vice president, helped launched the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund (MFLF), which is used to "pool funds for a national marriage media campaign and provide start-up grants for local initiatives to promote stable, lasting marriages."

Equality Matters has expressed concern over a comment from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' program director claiming that God frees people from homosexuality. Exodus International has been known to conduct "ex-gay" therapy, the practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation from gay to straight.

And the Family Research Council is considered an "anti-gay hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In 2011, a handful of colleges protested these types of donations by rejecting the development of Chick-fil-A restaurants on their campuses.

Dan Cathy, president and COO of the chain, responded to the protests with a statement claiming the company doesn't have an agenda against anyone. The statement continued:

"At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions. We seek to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect, and believe in the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.

"We also believe in the need for civility in dialogue with others who may have different beliefs. While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.

"Chick-fil-A has a long history of trying to encourage and strengthen marriages and families, both within our Chick-fil-A system and with our customers. My father and our founder/CEO, Truett Cathy, is a role model for the Cathy family and all those who have joined Chick-fil-A. His personal and business values have always reflected a belief in the importance of marriage and family. We have seen these principles honored powerfully in Dad's marriage of more than 63 years to our mother Jeannette and those of his family, including my wife Rhonda and me in our 37 years of marriage.

"At Chick-fil-A, we have a heart for helping marriages because we know marriage can be difficult at times. Through the years, we have supported our Chick-fil-A staff and franchised operators in their marriage journey, and since the formation of our family foundation, the WinShape Foundation, we have helped others as well. Primarily through WinShape, we have supported summer camps for girls and boys, 14 foster homes, more than $26 million in college scholarships and the development and operation of the WinShape Marriage Retreat Center.

"Chick-fil-A's Corporate Purpose is 'To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.' As a result, we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. This decision has been made, and we understand the importance of it. At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in biblical principles."

Read also Chick-fil-A's big, gay predicament.

Read more about operations management.

Topics: Chicken , Customer Service / Experience , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management , Trends / Statistics

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