Chick-fil-A, the chicken chain that stoked controversy over same-sex marriage last summer, seems to have stopped donating to groups that "actively engage in a political or social agenda to harm LGBT people and their families," according to one gay-rights group.
Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, said in a statement that he reviewed the 2011 IRS 990 tax documents for Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation charity. The documents, he said, showed no sign of giving to organizations such as the Family Research Council or Exodus International, which advocate against gay marriage.
Instead, WinShape’s nearly $6 million in outside grant funding went to beneficiaries supporting youth, education, local communities and what Campus Pride called “marriage enrichment,” according to the group.
The tax forms were filed on Nov. 15, according to Campus Pride. Chick-fil-A did not respond to requests for comment.
[Updated 12:20 p.m. PST, Jan. 28: Chick-fil-A released the following 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."]
In addition to being given “access to internal documents,” Windmeyer described in an op-ed on Huffington Post Gay Voices “months of personal phone calls, text messages and in-person meetings” with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy.
Windmeyer said he was Cathy’s guest at the Chick-fil-A Bowl football game in Atlanta last month and met with company representatives as recently as last week.
Cathy sparked months of debate and demonstrations -- both of support and disagreement -- when he said in July that he was “very much supportive of the family,” specifying that he meant “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Gay-rights supporters demanded a boycott of the chain, while former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee launched a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day that led to long lines at the chicken chain nationwide.
In the op-ed, titled “Dan & Me: My Coming Out as Friends of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A,” Windmeyer wrote that he was “nervous” about publicly discussing his communications with the company.
“Our mutual hope was to find common ground if possible, and to build respect no matter what,” he said. “We learned about each other as people with opposing views, not as opposing people.”