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Chick-fil-A will apparently no longer donate to groups that campaign against gay rights, a concession that has won the restaurant chain permission to open a new branch in Chicago.
Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain that drew both anger and applause this summer when its president denounced same-sex marriage, has agreed to stop making donations to anti-gay rights groups, according to activists.
A Chicago-based group, The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), says in a press release that Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, WinShape, will no longer give money to "political" organizations – including anti-gay ones.
According to campaign group Equality Matters, WinShape gave nearly $2 million to "anti-gay causes" in 2010 – such as the Family Research Council, which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
TCRA has held talks with Chick-fil-A as consultants to Chicago alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, who threatened to block the restaurant's plans to open a branch in his district over its position on gay rights.
According to TCRA, one of Chick-fil-A's directors wrote to Moreno to assure that:
"The WinShape Foundation 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."
The activists say Chick-fil-A has also agreed to include a statement that the company will "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender" and that its "intent is not to engage in political or social debates" in its official mission statement.
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Alderman Moreno hailed the developments as a "big win," the Chicago Tribune reported. He told the paper that he had got what he wanted: for Chick-fil-A to "affirm that they do not have discriminatory policies."
Moreno says he will no longer oppose the opening of a new Chick-fil-A in his Northwest Side ward, according to the Tribune.
Contacted by BuzzFeed, Chick-fil-A would not confirm or deny TCRA's report. A spokesman sent a general statement that said: "We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone."
The company had already posted a similar statement on Facebook on July 19:
"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. [...] Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
It followed public outcry over comments by company president Dan Cathy that "we are inviting God's judgment on our nation" by accepting gay marriage.
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