On Monday (Nov. 18), fast-food giant Chick-fil-A published a statement that signaled the end of its donations to two companies accused of supporting anti-LGBT beliefs. According to CNN, the popular chain restaurant once supported the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Salvation Army, both of which have been criticized for anti-LBGT rhetoric in its employee applications or using the Bible as a means of condemnation.
In a statement made by the restaurant’s president and chief operating officer Tim Tassopoulos, the decision, however, will still take into consideration all organizations, “faith-based or non-faith-based.” The United States’ third-largest fast-food chain (McDonald’s, then Starbucks), will now focus its donations on outlets that place issues like homelessness, education, and hunger at the forefront.
“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations—areas in which the Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed,” a statement from the Salvation Army reads.
In a May 2019 interview with Business Insider, Chick-fil-A’s executive director of its foundation, Rodney Bullard, said partnering with an LGBT organization would have to be “authentic” and “impactful” for both parties to reach its goals.
“Would it be authentic for us to partner with that organization? For them to partner with us? And for us to get work done?” Bullard questioned. “I think those are the things that we would definitely consider and be mindful of. Would we do it just for reasons that weren’t authentic? No, we wouldn’t do that.”
The statement arrived five years after the company’s CEO, Dan Cathy, expressed controversial thoughts on same-sex marriage. “I think we are 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,'” he said on The Ken Coleman Show. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.” After a wave of responses to his public revelation, Cathy said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that although he and his family “believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.”
In October 2019, Chick-fil-A attempted to open its first store in Berkshire, England. Supporters of LGBTQ rights protested its arrival, leading the company to announce an indefinite closure once its six-month lease is over. Protests also ceased the arrival of the fast-food chain in certain parts of Buffalo, New York, and San Antonio, Texas, NBC News reports.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott previously signed Senate Bill 1978, or “Save Chick-fil-A” bill, that provides businesses with religious protections. The legislation stops the government from implementing “adverse action” to businesses that place religious beliefs at the forefront of its policies and places it decides to donate to.
There are 2,300 Chick-fil-A restaurants in the United States.