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Chick-Fil-A re-evaluates funding for anti-gay marriage groups

1:18 PM, Sep 19, 2012   |    comments
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A Chicago lawmaker says that Chick-fil-A is re-evaluating the multimillion-dollar donations the company gives to anti-gay marriage activists and other groups with "political agendas," a month after company CEO Dan Cathy's pro-traditional marriage comments created a firestorm in the fast-food world between LGBT supporters and gay-marriage opponents.

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After weeks of negotiations with city Alderman Joe Moreno, the fast-food restaurant agreed to take "a much closer look" at which groups receive donations from the WinShape Foundation, a non-profit created by the Cathy family and funded almost entirely by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, the company told Moreno.

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"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," Chick-fil-A's senior director of real estate said in a letter to Moreno.

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Between 2008 and 2010, the WinShape Foundation gave $3.2 million to groups that advocate against same-sex marriage, according to the group's tax reports. That included $2,000 to the Family Research Council, which was designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010, and $2,500 to the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported California's Proposition 8 to outlaw gay marriage.

The Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund did not return requests for comment.

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News of these donations, which was sparked by Cathy's saying he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit," sparked national outcry from gay-marriage activists and an overwhelmingly supportive response from traditional-marriage conservatives, who turned out in droves to dine at Chick-fil-A restaurants Aug. 1.

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Moreno, who represents the ritzy Northwest Side of Chicago, vowed to block construction of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward after Cathy's remarks. But in a statement today, Moreno commended the company for making "real progress" toward addressing "the very legitimate concerns of the LGBT community regarding Chick-fil-A."

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Along with re-evaluating funding to anti-gay marriage activist groups, Moreno said Chick-fil-A has agreed to amend its corporate policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy.

"The company today has put into writing, for the first time, that its employees are to 'treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender. .. our intent is not to engage in political or social debates,'" Moreno said in a statement.

Because of such changes to company policy, Moreno said he will recommend to the Chicago City Council that Chick-fil-A construction plans be approved for its new location in Chicago.

Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment or confirmation of Moreno's statement.

The WinShape foundation directed all comments through the Chick-fil-A headquarters, which also serves as the foundation's main offices, which did not respond to requests for comment.

ABC

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