The Civil Rights Agenda of Chicago, Illinois states that city officials were informed through correspondence with the company that adjustments were being made to certain corporate policies. The city had opposed Chick-fil-A’s desired expansion in Chicago heretofore.
One of the purported changes included the reevaluation of the company’s donations to pro-family groups, which are conducted through Dan Cathy’s charity The Winshape Foundation.
“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,” Chick-fil-A is said to have written in the letter to city alderman Proco Moreno.
Company representatives also reportedly had meetings with Chicago officials where they affirmed that Chick-fil-A would distance itself from some of the organizations it had supported in the past.
The Winshape Foundation had come under criticism from pro-homosexual groups for its financial support of groups such as Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund. According to reports, Chick-fil-A donated $2,000 to Family Research Council between 2008 and 2010, and $2,500 to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defense Fund. Alliance Defense Fund has been involved in the fight to preserve California’s Proposition 8 in the courts. It also represents a number of clients that face legal hardship due to their refusal to condone homosexuality.
Additionally, as previously reported, the company issued a statement in July outlining that it would remain neutral on the issue of homosexuality, and would decline to make any further statements about the matter.
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect, regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” spokesperson Tracey Micit wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
A second spokesperson, Jerry Johnson, also issued the following statement to the media this past week:
“We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone. We have a 65-year history of providing hospitality for all people and, as a dedicated family business, serving and valuing everyone regardless of their beliefs or opinions. The genuine, historical intent of our WinShape Foundation and corporate giving has been to support youth, family and educational programs.”
According to Moreno, in addition to reconsidering its donor practices, Chick-fil-A has agreed to amend its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation.
“The company today has put into writing, for the first time, that its employees are to ‘treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender. … [O]ur intent is not to engage in political or social debates,” he stated.
As previously reported, Chick-fil-A first came under fire following comments that president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy made to Baptist Press outlining that he is “very much supporting of the family — the Biblical definition of the family unit.”
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” he said.
According to the Washington Post, Cathy had also stated on a radio broadcast in June that he believed that the promotion of homosexual “marriage” was evoking the wrath of God upon America.
“As it relates to society in general, I think we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” he opined. “And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”
Cathy’s comments have stirred much discussion on both sides of the issue. While “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on August 1st was believed to have set world records, Hollywood celebrities announced that they would be boycotting the restaurant, and mayors from Boston to San Francisco have warned Chick-Fil-A to keep out of their cities. Chicago mayor Rahm Immanuel, former White House aide to Barack Obama, was one of the prominent leaders that stated that the popular fast food chain is not welcome in his city.
“Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values,” he announced. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. … This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
However, now that Chick-fil-A has allegedly made adjustments to its company policies, Chicago alderman Proco Moreno says that he will make a recommendation that the city allow the restaurant open in the city.
Chick-fil-A did not return phone calls for comment by press time.