.- Despite claims that Chick-fil-A has ceased funding groups that support traditional marriage in hopes of expanding locations in Chicago, the restaurant has not released any definitive statement about who will or will not receive money.
Gay advocacy group, The Civil Rights Agenda, said in a Sept. 18 press release that after a meeting with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, the restaurant and its nonprofit arm, The WinShape Foundation, would no longer donate to “anti-LGBT” groups.
However, in a Sept. 20 press release following the meeting, Chick-fil-A made no mention of its intention to cease funding, but rather attempted to clarify how its corporate giving had been “mischaracterized” in recent months.
Rather than saying it would remove support for groups that promote traditional marriage, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain reiterated its “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,” the statement said.
While the company will “continue to focus our giving in those areas,” their intention is “not to support political or social agendas.”
“The Chick-fil-A culture and 66-year service tradition,” the statement added, “… is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
However, Tiffany Hsu of the Los Angeles Times reported in a Sept. 20 article that meetings between Chick-fil-A exectuives and Alderman Moreno went further. They agreed to stop funding groups opposed to same-sex unions, including Focus on the Family and National Organization for Marriage.”
Focus on the Family said that they would “be offering no further comment” regarding the issue other than president Jim Daly's Sept. 20 statement which made no mention of funding cuts.
President of National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, clarified that his organization has never received money from either Chick-fil-A or its charity branch, The WinShape Foundation.
“Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation donated money to our organization—this is false,” Brown said in a Sept. 20 press release.
Thomas Peters, Cultural Director of the National Organization for Marriage, told CNA Sept. 21 that reports about Chick-fil-A changing its support for traditional marriage in order to expand its locations, were “intentionally meant to be confusing.”
“There's several layers of false narratives that are out there at this point,” he said.
The fast food chain found itself embroiled in controversy this summer when president Dan Cathy said in a July 2012 interview that he supported “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Following Cathy's statement, Chicago Alderman Moreno, along with several other mayors in major American cities, said the restaurant was not welcome in their respective cities.
The restaurant saw a wave or support following Cathy's remarks as former Arkansas governor and radio host Mike Huckabee called for a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” Aug. 1, resulting in crowds of customers and record-breaking sales.
That same week, supporters of “gay marriage” organized a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A” on Aug. 3.
The company's executive vice president for marketing, Steve Robinson, alluded to the planned same-sex kissing event, in an Aug. 2 statement following the day of appreciation.
“We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food,” Robinson said.
Alderman Moreno did not respond to CNA's request for comments by press time.