Chick-fil-A remains silent on claims of defunding traditional marriage groups

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CHICAGO — A gay rights advocacy group issued a press release September 18 claiming that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to organizations that oppose gay marriage.

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) group stated that they helped Chicago alderman Joe Moreno negotiate concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A. Moreno had previously said he opposed opening new Chick-fil-A restaurants in his district because the company was "intolerant."

Chick-fil-A has been the source of criticism since its president, Dan Cathy, was quoted in a newspaper article and in a radio interview in July as standing up for the biblical definition of marriage.

Cathy told a reporter that he supported the biblical definition of the family while respecting anyone who disagrees.

The restaurant chain officials are not responding to requests to confirm TCRA's claims about the document or the foundation's donation policies.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Moreno said that Chick-fil-A would be allowed in the Windy City after agreeing to "include a statement of respect for all sexual orientations in an internal document and promised that its not-for-profit arm would not contribute money to groups that oppose gay marriage."

TCRA applauded the concessions made by Chick-fil-A but they are looking for more.

"Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level," said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda.

"With some of the groups that they were donating to being classified as hate groups, and others actively trying to halt the movement toward full civil rights for LGBT people, Chick-fil-A has taken a big step forward," said Anthony Martinez, the group's executive director.

The "hate groups" that are being reported as cut–off from Chick-fil-A's support are Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.

Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said that, in spite of media reports, NOM has never received any funding from the restaurant chain.

"Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation donated money to our organization—this is false," said Brown.

Brown added that they stand behind Chick-fil-A president's position in defense of marriage and his freedom to speak.

"We support Chick-fil-A's philosophy that every person is treated with 'honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,'" said Brown.

In July, Chick-fil-A clarified in a statement that all people, no matter their sexual orientation, are welcome at the restaurant chain and will be treated respectfully.

It reads:

"Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business.

"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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

"Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."