Huffington Post Gay Voices – No, You Can’t Go Back to Chick-fil-A

No, You Can’t Go Back to Chick-fil-A
Posted: 01/29/2013 1:26 pm
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Chick-Fil-A Boycott , Shane Windmeyer , Shane Windmeyer Chick-Fil-A , Shane Windmeyer Dan Cathy , Campus Pride Chick-Fil-a , Chick-Fil-a , Chick-Fil-a Anti-Gay , Chick-Fil-a Gay Marriage , Dan Cathy , Gay Voices News

In a HuffPost blog post published yesterday, Jan. 28, Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer issued a cease and desist on behalf of Chick-fil-A.

Following several meetings with Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy and an invitation to be his personal guest at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Shane issued the all-clear. This is not the first time he has attempted to allay the LGBT community’s fears about Chick-fil-A. In September 2012 he formally suspended his organization’s boycott of the company, which seemed to some as though the entire LGBT community was doing the same.

After a HuffPost Live segment in which ThinkProgress LGBT’s Zack Ford and I discussed these topics with Shane, I thought it necessary to follow up. One of the important revelations in Shane’s piece is that he’s been allowed access to top-secret internal Chick-fil-A documents and has seen tax forms proving that Chick-fil-A is no longer giving to the “most divisive” anti-gay groups, such as Focus on the Family and Exodus International, both of which have been linked to Uganda’s infamous “kill the gays” bill. That’s hard to comment on, because Cathy only showed the forms to Shane.

Nevertheless, there are enormous questions that arise, and it’s important that we ask them before chomping into a greasy, fatty, homophobic sandwich. Some were voiced during the HuffPost Live segment but were never answered, and others are now being asked around the Web.

Why would Dan Cathy attempt to clear his name and his organization’s reputation by sharing these internal documents with the executive director of Campus Pride rather than with a reporter? There could be several reasons for this. If the story were leaked to the mainstream media and turned out to be true, some of Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay customers could get really angry. Alternatively, perhaps Cathy specifically sought Shane’s stamp of approval so that Shane would become a Chick-fil-A advocate on all those college campuses that are seeking to open new Chick-fil-A franchises. Either way, Chick-fil-A is still contributing to anti-gay groups.

And why would Dan Cathy choose to pursue only Shane Windmeyer and Campus Pride instead of larger, further-reaching LGBT organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)? Is it that Cathy thought Shane seemed like a nice guy, or is it that winning over Shane could open up lucrative opportunities on college campuses?

Finally, Shane’s piece, though ultimately about his budding friendship with Cathy, has led to claims in the media that Chick-fil-A has ceased funding anti-gay groups. Although Shane blames the media for overlooking the fine print (notice that he wrote that Chick-fil-A had stopped contributing to just the “most divisive” anti-gay groups), he has nevertheless managed to provide cover for a virulently anti-gay company and its virulently anti-gay president.

I hate conspiracy theories, truly I do, but there seems to be something going on that isn’t kosher — and I’m not talking about the soggy pickle in a Chick-fil-A sandwich. I like Shane, and I think Campus Pride does incredibly important work, but I would hate to see Shane’s and his organization’s reputations at all sullied by lifting up those who steadfastly stand in opposition to equality. Dan Cathy very well may have found a friend in the LGBT community (many homophobes have stated, “Some of my best friends are gay!”), but the harm that Chick-fil-A’s contributions to anti-gay groups have done cannot be overlooked simply because the company’s president invited a gay guy to a football game.

Watch Shane Windmeyer, Zack Ford and I discuss this story on HuffPost Live:

ABC News – Chick-fil-A CEO and Gay Activist Are Now Friends

Chick-fil-A CEO and Gay Activist Are Now Friends

The leader of a national gay-rights group says he’s coming out–as a friend of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.
“I’ve gotten to know Dan, he’s gotten to know me. He’s shared concerns about young people, about Chick-fil-A being used for certain purposes,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, told ABC News.
Last year, Cathy sparked a national controversy by telling a radio host that “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. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
Windmeyer said that Cathy called him last year, during the heat of the controversy that led national gay-rights groups to protest Chick-fil-A. Cathy reached out seeking advice and understanding, Windmeyer said. Windmeyer was a guest of Cathy’s at this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl between LSU and Clemson at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The activist also says Chick-fil-A has stopped donating to anti-gay groups, according to his review of the company’s 990 tax forms.
For years, Chick-fil-A donated to socially conservative groups, drawing the ire of gay-rights activists. In July, Equality Matters examined tax forms and found that in 2010 the restaurant chain had donated over $1.9 million to “anti-gay causes.” In September, the restaurant chain pledged to stop donating to anti-gay groups. Windmeyer says those donations stopped in 2011.
“In 2011, [according to] the 990s that I saw, they did stop funding the more divisive, anti-gay groups that actively work to harm and hurt LGBT people,” Windmeyer told ABC News.
Windmeyer says he knows he and Cathy disagree about gay marriage but that they’ve reached an understanding of each other as people.
“If my husband and I ever get the right to marry in North Carolina, I’ll include Dan Cathy on the guest list,” he told ABC News.
Chick-fil-A did not respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: Chick-fil-A offers a written statement:
Over the past three years alone, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations around the country, in addition to providing millions of dollars in food donations. While we evaluate individual donations on an annual basis, our giving is focused on three key areas: youth and education, leadership and family enrichment and serving the local communities in which we operate. Our intent is to not support political or social agendas. This has been the case for more than 60 years.
The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect and to serve great food with genuine hospitality.

Los Angeles Times -Gay-rights supporters plan kissing protest at Chick-fil-A

Gay-rights supporters plan kissing protest at Chick-fil-A
August 2, 2012 | 5:16 am

“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” an event Wednesday in which supporters converged on the fast-food establishment to back its chief executive’s controversial stance on gay marriage, is not the end of the controversy.

Gay rights supporters are planning a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A” on Friday. As part of the event, couples are encouraged to go one of the chicken restaurant’s locations and take a photo or video of themselves kissing.

“Let’s show Chick-fil-A thanks for their support of Love, Equality, and the Real Definition of Marriage! Invite your friends!” organizers said on its Facebook page.

Gay rights advocates on Wednesday also suggested that supporters eat at KFC instead of Chick-fil-A.

On Wednesday, much of the attention was focused on supporters of the embattled eatery.

Mark Almlie, 39, said he’s never had Chick-fil-A food, but drove from Simi Valley to the restaurant Wednesday to support “people that will stand up for what they believe in.”

“I’m not against gay rights by any means, but I think this guy is getting a bad rap,” Beaumont resident Ed Vatter, 57, said over a plate of chicken nuggets and waffle fries at the Chick-fil-A in Laguna Niguel.
“Plus,” he told The Times, “the food’s pretty good.”

Hundreds of people turned out at chicken eateries throughout the state Wednesday in support, including at a Northridge Chick-fil-A.

Gwilym McGrew, who drove to the fast-food restaurant from Woodland Hills, said more than 100 cars were waiting along Tampa Avenue to pull into the parking lot. “A couple hundred” people had lined up on foot, he said, some drinking water distributed by employees.

“It’s very calm madness,” McGrew said. “Everybody’s very orderly.”

McGrew was one of many people who ventured to the restaurant to show support for Chick-fil-A, which drew criticism after chief executive Dan Cathy recently said he and his company were against gay marriage. The comments drew strong reactions, with customers pledging to boycott the chain and some mayors proclaiming they would not allow Chick-fil-A to open in their cities.

In response, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared Wednesday to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, calling on people to eat at the restaurant to show support.

McGrew said he came to the restaurant to support Cathy’s religious beliefs, even though he said he himself is not religious.

“I’m not getting myself involved in the issue of gay marriage and all that; I’m not getting involved in a religious debate,” he said. “I’m getting involved in the government putting their thumb on a businessperson for his religious beliefs.”

Customers said they waited in line for about 20 minutes, and were told it would take about an hour longer before they could order food.

Earlier Wednesday, more than a dozen people stood outside the Northridge Chick-fil-A, waving American flags and holding signs: “Free to speak, to build, to boycott.” The event was organized by the San Fernando Valley Patriots, a local arm of the tea party.

“That man — just like you or I — has a right to say, ‘This is what I believe and not be punished for it,” Karen Kenney of the San Fernando Valley Patriots told KTLA.

The Northridge restaurant declined to comment and referred questions to the company’s corporate office.

[For the record, 7:10 a.m., Aug. 2: An earlier version of this post and headline incorrectly stated that the protest was organized by the gay rights group GLAAD. It was organized by grass-roots activists, but is supported and promoted by GLAAD. GLAAD is also supporting — but not organizing — an effort to eat at KFC instead of Chick-fil-A.]