An investigation by Equality Matters into the political donations made by company Chick-fil-A reveals that, despite claims by the company’s president Dan Cathy that Chick-fil-A has “no agenda” when it comes to gay people, the company has given over $1 million to organizations supporting anti-gay initiatives including so-called reparative therapy designed to “cure” gay people.
The investigation came about after a spot of controversy in January when a Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A restaurant sponsored what was billed as a “traditional marriage” event.
Wanting to know where Chick-fil-A stood on the matter, LGBT rights advocates called for a position statement from the owners whereby Dan Cathy dismissed allegations the company was anti-gay, saying that the one restaurant’s actions were to be considered an isolated incident.
“We have no agenda against anyone. While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees,” said Dan Cathy in a written statement, adding that the company would not “champion any political agendas” relating to marriages or families.
Not so says Equality Matters – and they’ve got the 2003-2008 IRS forms of Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm WinShape to prove it.
In its investigation, Equality Matters reveals donations have been made to several groups with strong anti-gay credentials, including:
- $4,800 to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes who condemn gay people as living an “impure lifestyle” and have, in conferences, indicated that they support cure attempts with the message that God can deliver people from homosexuality.
- $5,000 to the Alliance Defense Fund who regularly and willfully take on lawsuits that are designed to challenge and roll-back LGBT equality. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Alliance Defense Fund as one of America’s most influential groups fighting against LGBT equality.
- $1,000 to the Family Research Council who have been condemned by a variety of organizations for continued anti-LGBT misrepresentation.
- and $631,000 to the National Christian Foundation which is a grant-making foundation that in turn supports numerous anti-gay organizations such as The Family Research Council and Focus on the Family to name but a few. Chick-fil-A partnered with Focus on the Family for a time in 2005 – Focus on the Family is widely known to advocate religious based sexual orientation change therapy.
Equality Matters lists other anti-gay affiliations the company has fostered as well as drawing attention to a company spokesperson’s questionable statements regarding termination of employees for “sinful” behavior and how the company favors (presumably straight) married employees because it believes they are more productive.
Of course, what a company does with its money is its own business, but Chick-fil-A can not claim that its anti-gay donations are in any way an “isolated incident.”
Nor can it hide behind the meme of just supporting “traditional marriage” when it has been shown to also support groups who go a lot further than that and peddle the damaging and false assertion that one can use religious based reparative therapy to change a person’s sexual orientation, a practice that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the mainstream medical community as being at best ineffective and at worst extremely damaging.