Chick-Fil-A Says No Donations to Anti-Gay Groups; Tax Records Show Otherwise

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday March 21, 2019

Tax records show that the foundation associated with fast food chain Chick-fil-a, which has in the past expressed opposition to marriage equality, has donated to several anti-LGBTQ groups, reports ThinkProgress.

LGBTQ advocates and allies have boycotted the company for seven years, ThinkProgress reported, following CEO Dan Catty's 2012 declaration that if it were to legalize equal marriage rights for same-sex families, America would be "inviting God's judgment on our nation" for supposedly telling a higher power that "we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."

A controversy ensued that saw both a boycott and a one-day "appreciation" that saw anti-gay religious conservatives flock to the chain's restaurants. Controversy has continued to swirl around the company, which has seen resistance to some of its efforts at expansion. Earlier this year, Rider University in New Jersey declined to allow Chick-fil-a on its campus, a move that prompted a religious faculty member to resign her deanship in protest. (The professor did not resign her faculty position, however.)

The company has publicly distanced itself from Catty's remarks, but tax filings indicate that the Chick-fil-a Foundation gave almost $2 million to a trio of overtly anti-gay organizations, with the bulk of the money — more than $1.5 million — going to the fellowship of Christian Athletes, which ThinkProgress says "is a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes and requires a strict 'sexual purity' policy for its employees that bars any 'homosexual acts.' "

The other two anti-LGBTQ beneficiaries of the foundation's largesse are the historically homophobic Salvation Army, which reaped a contribution of $150,000 from Chick-fil-a, and "Christian residential home for troubled youth" that teaches anti-LGBTQ views to its clients, including a claim that two devoted people of the same gender formalizing their commitment through civil marriage constitute a form of "rage against Jesus Christ and His values," the ThinkProgress report noted.

When ThinkProgress reached out to the company for comment, a spokesperson said that the foundation had made a determination no longer to contribute to the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army, the article also noted, says that it has adopted a nondiscrimination policy that covers sexual orientation and gender identity.

The company itself has not changed insofar as it has no such nondiscrimination policy in place for employees, the article said.

In its coverage of the story, Grub Street reported that the foundation responded to a request for comment by claiming that "The sole focus of our donations was to support causes focused on youth and education."

Added the foundation's response: "To suggest our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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