Report: Chick-Fil-A To Stop Funding Anti-Gay Groups

Chick-Fil-A is apparently abandoning its practice of donating to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage:

Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches are no longer homophoburgers or free-speech-you-can-eat or whatever the fast food meant during this summer’s culture wars. Fried chicken just went back to being delicious as the chain promised to stop “supporting organizations with political agendas,” which includes anti-gay groups–a move that’s gotten them back into a Chicago’s good graces. We learned the news by way of Chicago’s The Civil Right Agenda (TCRA) an LGBT-rights advocacy group, who report that Chick-fil-A has penned a letter saying, “The 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.” That letter was addressed to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who along with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, said they would block the chain for its anti-gay views. WinShape is the chain’s not-for-profit charitable arm that had previously donated to groups opposing gay marriage. TCRA adds, “In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.”

Chick-Fil-A itself, or its charitable arm The Winshape Foundaton, has not confirmed this yet, but it seems to be for real:

Since this story broke, Chick-fil-A hasn’t yet responded to any comments or inquiries or officially stated that they will give up their anti-gay donations. Believe us, we don’t like relying on one side of the story either. But Gawker’s Cord Jefferson did talk to TCRA director Anthony Martinez, and was told that Chick-fil-A showed Alderman Moreno a spreadsheet of the company’s givings as proof of the company’s promise to end anti-gay giving. We went ahead and e-mailed Alderman Moreno’s office about the spreadsheet and the company’s promise to end anti-gay giving and came up with this response from spokesman Matthew Bailey:

Yes, I can confirm that he was shown proof by company executives.

So, just to be clear: Chick-fil-A hasn’t spoken (yet), but now we have confirmation from both the TCRA and Alderman Moreno’s office that Moreno was promised by company executives that the anti-gay giving would be halted. In his official statement on the subject of Chick-fil-A, Moreno even states:

In my last meeting with company executives, I corroborated what they told me back in January: that donations to anti-gay groups, which most concerned the LGBT community, have ceased. In a letter signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations [sic] 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.”

I’m already hearing rumblings from some conservatives on Twitter complaining that Chick-Fil-A has given in to blackmail but, there are a few caveats there. First of all, as noted above, it appears that the company had already said as long ago as January that it would stop donating to organizations with political agendas, so this may be less of a change in policy than some are making it out to be. Second, whatever the reason for the change in contribution policies might be, it’s worth remembering that Chick-Fil-A exists for one reason only, to sell chicken sandwiches and various other products and make a profit. Part of that includes expanding the company’s franchise locations outside of its traditional area of dominance, areas such as Chicago. In general, corporations don’t like to take controversial stands on issues of public concern, because they end up pissing off half their potential customer base. In that sense, Chick-Fil-A’s decision can be seen as a wise business decision.

In any event, now that this controversy is apparently over, can we stop politicizing food already?

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    I’ll hold my breath until I see that they’re _actually_ not funding such things, rather than just putting out a press release to take the heat off. But this?

    I’m already hearing rumblings from some conservatives on Twitter complaining that Chick-Fil-A has given in to blackmail

    I’d love to know who. Not that I doubt you Doug, but just so I know who the dumbest of the dumb are in the conservative twittersphere. Lots of people are going to have huge butthurt about this being BLACKMAIL and a VIOLATION of the FIRST AMENDMENT (complete with the all-caps and a bunch of extra !!!s), when really, this is a perfect example of the free market correcting itself: enough consumers made enough noise that Chick-Fil-A had to change their tune to continue making money. But I want to call out just who is dumb enough to imagine that the free market would never do anything that wasn’t completely in line with their own personal moral beliefs…

  2. David M says:

    In general, corporations don’t like to take controversial stands on issues of public concern, because they end up pissing off half their potential customer base. In that sense, Chick-Fil-A’s decision can be seen as a wise business decision.

    That’s what I never understood about this controversy, why the corporation was making these donations instead of just letting the owner make personal donations. It seemed like that was just asking for trouble, involving the entire company for no good reason.

  3. PJ says:

    I bet Mike Huckabee is ecstatic about this, he can now boycott Chick-Fil-A and hopefully he’ll drop the extra weight he has added since he started eating there to show his support for them.

  4. David says:

    While I am glad chik will no longer fund those groups through its foundation, I still won’t eat there. The profit still goes to someone who thinks I am a second class citizen. Besides, I avoid fast food as much as possible any way, and I’d much rather have what few dollars I spend on fast food not be used against me.

  5. Davebo says:

    That’s what I never understood about this controversy, why the corporation was making these donations instead of just letting the owner make personal donations. It seemed like that was just asking for trouble, involving the entire company for no good reason.

    Perhaps the many many franchisees made it clear they didn’t want to get involved in this mess.

  6. swbarnes2 says:

    @David M:

    That’s what I never understood about this controversy, why the corporation was making these donations instead of just letting the owner make personal donations.

    What’s the point of hating and scorning gay people if no one sees you do it? If someone truly thinks that gay marriage is a terrible scourge, why shouldn’t they spend what resources are at their disposal to slow it down? For a weekend, the owner probably felt great about his choice, because it was wildly popular with a number of people. A rich guy spends money to make himself highly popular for a bit, why is that hard to explain?

  7. @Davebo:

    Perhaps the many many franchisees made it clear they didn’t want to get involved in this mess.

    There are no independently owned Chick-Fil-A restaurants. They’re all corporate owned.

  8. wr says:

    But… but… but… Doug, you explained so clearly over and over again that boycotts like the one against Chik-Fil-A could never have any effect, because hippies, drum circles, free market. Now it seems that these peaceful protests against a private business have persuaded the owners that it’s bad for business to participate in political action that harms gays.

    So didn’t the boycott actually, you know, work?

  9. Clanton says:

    Either way, I will still eat at Chick-Fil-A and continue to thoroughly enjoy every minute. I will also continue to drive my Ford, wear Nike shoes, watch Warner Brothers cartoons, shop at JC Penney, and drink Coca-Cola(Ty Cobb was a big stock holder).

  10. @wr: “Now it seems that these peaceful protests against a private business have persuaded the owners that it’s bad for business to participate in political action that harms gays.”

    Yes, the peaceful protests in August and September had effects that traveled backward through time to January. Someone call Stephen Hawking, we finally have proof that causality can flow temporally backwards!

  11. Hal 10000 says:

    Who am I supposed to boycott now? I’m so confused.

  12. billy says:

    Focus on the Family is a great organization. It is has a political arm that supports traditional marriage but this is a small part.

    This is very disappointing. The real haters seem to have won.

  13. jd says:

    @billy: “This year, Focus on the Family — for years, the powerhouse of anti-gay religious organizations in America — moderated its position” ( http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners )

    Not a “small part”.

  14. Ralph says:
  15. Bob2 says:

    Ha ha, they just went and became bundlers and just released this to make it seem liked they cared. Oh naivete.