The Civil Rights Agenda of Illinois has announced that Alderman Moreno has finalized negotiations with Chick-Fil-A to open a new restaurant in Chicago. The new restaurant can go ahead so long as the company no longer gives money to anti-gay organizations and that they issue a formal policy regarding the treatment of their employees irregardless of their sexual orientation.
TCRA worked with Moreno as an advisor during the negotiations. They also spoke to members of the Chick-Fil-A executive team during the negotiations.
Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate stated in a letter to Moreno that “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.”
In the past, Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-A, has donated to groups like Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. In the meetings, the executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-LGBT groups. It should be noted that many of these groups often use racist, sexist, and anti-religious language or spread such beliefs as well. NOM, for instance, is known to use race-baiting and racist attacks to try and drive a wedge between Blacks and Gays.
Anthony Martinez, the executive director of TCRA, stated “We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue. I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”
TCRA also stated that
Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states that as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”
Policy advisor Rick Garcia said “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. It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”
The problem may be that neither Chick-fil-A nor WinShape have been donating to these groups. Chick-fil-A CEO and President Dan Cathy has, as a citizen, made several anti-LGBT statements, and donated to these groups with his own money. This agreement does not stop him from continuing to do so.