ByÂ Tim Devaney-The Washington Times
Chick-fil-A stopped funding traditional-marriage groups in an effort to open a new Chicago restaurant, but the company initially kept quiet about the decision, prompting gay rights groups to speculate that the company feared a backlash from conservative customers.
The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the companyâ€™s move there. Chick-fil-A wrote a letter to AldermanÂ Joe MorenoÂ affirming this, according to his spokesman,Â Matt Bailey, but the company initially wouldnâ€™t allow his office to release the letter to the public. Three weeks later they relented.
â€œThere was concern from them,â€ saidÂ Anthony Martinez, executive director for the Civil Rights Agenda, the Illinois lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender group that negotiated with both Chick-fil-A and the alderman to stop funding for so-called anti-gay groups. â€œThey really didnâ€™t want to announce it, really, but, of course, the alderman needed to clarify why he was changing his stance on them opening a restaurant within his ward.â€
Chick-fil-A did not returns requests for comment, and has previously said it will not discuss the issue with the media.
Mr. MartinezÂ said Chick-fil-A told the alderman they will no longer fund groups that support traditional marriage through their charity arm, theÂ WinShape Foundation, and will instead use that money toward educational programs and food donations.
â€œThe 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,â€ Chick-fil-A wrote in the letter.
Chick-fil-A also sent an internal memo called â€œChick-fil-A: Who We Areâ€ stating the company will â€œtreat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.â€
Mr. MorenoÂ called it a win for gay rights.
â€œPrior to today, Chick-fil-A had a poor record when it came to acknowledging equal rights for all of our citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation,â€ he said. â€œBut today, we have a new path: For the first time, Chick-fil-A has changed their practices and promised the workplace protections that all of our citizens deserve. Instead of being a company that openly promotes discrimination, Chick-fil-A has vowed to move forward.â€
This could also help in other areas, such as Boston and San Francisco, where politicians vowed to oppose new Chick-fil-A restaurants.
The Civil Rights Agenda was also happy with the move, but said more needs to be done.
â€œWeâ€™re very pleased with this move,â€Â Mr. MartinezÂ said. â€œWe think it is a big step forward.â€
The group would also like to see Chick-fil-A include an anti-discrimination policy in the companyâ€™s employee handbook. He said companies in many states are still allowed to discriminate against gay and transgender people, so a company policy would help prevent that.
To read more, visit:Â Chick-fil-A no longer will fund traditional-marriage groups – Washington TimesÂ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/19/chick-fil-a-no-longer-will-fund-traditional-marria/#ixzz274a6xi00
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