Dan Cathy took part in Chick-fil-A talks on gay rights

August was a busy month at Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, especially when it came to the topic of gay marriage.

On Wednesday, a Chicago alderman had dropped his objections to the first standalone Chick-fil-A restaurant in his city, after the fast-food franchise persuaded him that it had withdrawn from the political battle over same-sex marriage.

Several weeks of negotiations with Chick-fil-A executives had produced internal company guidelines that prohibit discrimination in hiring and customer service. Alderman Joe Moreno also said that, in August, executives of the family-held firm also opened the books of Chick-fil-A’s charitable foundation, to prove that it no longer gave money to groups opposing same-sex unions.

chickgay

Gay marriage supporters gathered at the Chick-fil-A store in Decatur in August for a "kiss-in" protest of company president Dan Cathy's stand on gay marriage. Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com

Less known is the fact that, at the same time, Chick-fil-A was also holding talks with Campus Pride, a gay rights organization based in Charlotte, N.C., that had targeted the several hundred Chick-fil-A outlets on college campuses with an “education” campaign.

College students eat a lot of chicken sandwiches.

Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, paid his most recent visit to Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta last Monday, after which he announced the suspension of his group’s campaign. Windmeyer said he, too, was given a chance to preview Chick-fil-A’s new hiring and service policy. He, too, was offered evidence that the company’s WinShape Foundation no longer gives money to groups considered hostile to gay rights.

“Chick-fil-A has treated myself and my organization with dignity and respect. They really have been willing to sit down and dialogue. It hasn’t been an adversarial relationship,” Windmeyer said.

Those are words that Chick-fil-A is no doubt eager to have bronzed. But more important is the fact that Windmeyer said Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy was personally involved in the negotiations, in both face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations.

A spokesman for Moreno said Friday that the alderman spoke by phone with Cathy.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. AP/Chick-fil-A, Stanley Leary

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. AP/Chick-fil-A, Stanley Leary

It was Cathy, of course, who caused a stir this summer with comments declaring his support for traditional marriage between a man and a woman. “Well, guilty as charged,” Cathy told Baptist Press in July.

Gay rights activists and their allies immediately began organizing a shunning of the firm. Religious conservatives rallied to its side. Business analysts posited that the hoopla wouldn’t damage the largely Southern firm in the short term – though it could limit expansion opportunities in more liberal regions of the nation.

But clearly Chick-fil-A took the gay marriage threat seriously and began immediate efforts to defuse the situation.

Skeptics remain. Gay rights groups point out that even as his company was making nice last week, Cathy personally Tweeted a photo that showed him participating in a motorcycle ride to benefit a group called the Marriage and Family Foundation – a group that lobbies against gay marriage, and which once received funding from the company’s WinShape Foundation.

One presumes that Chick-fil-A will attempt to draw a line between Cathy family giving and its corporate largesse. How that sells is a matter for the future.

“We chose to suspend our campaign, not to end our campaign,” Windmeyer said. “Sometimes you have to be willing to put down the stick in order to listen to somebody.”

Two more aspects are worth noting about Chick-fil-A’s wrestling match over gay marriage.

That episode in Chicago, for instance, was brought about by an alderman’s veto power over a rezoning required for what will be Chick-fil-A’s first standalone restaurant in the city.

The alderman had that power because Chick-fil-A, an Atlanta firm, sought to subdivide and purchase a lot in the city currently owned by Home Depot, another Atlanta company.

The irony: Yes, Chick-fil-A has been the target of a two-month boycott spurred by its opposition to same-sex unions. But Home Depot has endured a much longer, though low-grade boycott by the American Family Association, a conservative group upset by the DIY company’s support for gay rights, including its steadfast participation in Atlanta’s annual gay pride parade.

Then there’s the matter of timing. In August, at the same time Chick-fil-A was negotiating its way out of the gay marriage debate, Republicans in Tampa were attempting the same maneuver.

Opposition to gay marriage was written into the platform adopted by the Republican National Convention. But that position never received a mention during three days of televised speeches. Like Chick-fil-A, Republicans decided to bow out of the dispute – at least while a general audience was watching.

Jamie Ensley, president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, said he took solace from the omission. “Keeping it out of prime-time TV was the right thing to do,” he said.

Like Chick-fil-A, Republicans will soon have to choose between short-term politics and long-term expansion plans, he said. “It may take a couple of national elections to convince everyone,” Ensley said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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187 comments Add your comment

Lib in Cobb

September 22nd, 2012
11:58 am

What Cick fil A publishes in their corporate speak handbook/memos is much different that the core vales of the Cathy family and its management. I am certain that the Cathy family would not promote anyone who was openly supportive of gay marriage. Just look at what’s in their heart, if you can, then you will see the real person. Just listen to what they say to their Christian friends, you will hear the hypocrisy.

Look before I leap...

September 22nd, 2012
12:00 pm

@It’s damn shame…

Bye!
Delta flies direct to just about anywhere you may want to go.
I hear Syria is nice this time of year.

Larry

September 22nd, 2012
12:04 pm

What’s the matter, wasn’t that one day “eat-in” by all the homophobes and bible thumpers enough business to offset those of us who quit eating at CFA altogether? I’m not gay but I certainly won’t do business with anyone who intentionally seeks to persecute an innocuous group of people in the name of religion. I honestly don’t know anyone who has eaten at CFA since the great “Christian Taliban” pig out – yeah, like most of those people need MORE greasy fried food.

ray k

September 22nd, 2012
12:07 pm

@It’s a damn shame – Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You won’t be missed.

MB

September 22nd, 2012
12:12 pm

I am also disappointed that the Cathy family have caved in on their values and beliefs. For years the Christian community has actively supported your company. Now that you have turned your back on your beliefs maybe Chic-fil-a will not be our fast food chain of choice.

So what’s next, opening your restaurants on Sunday…

Johnny Sak

September 22nd, 2012
12:16 pm

@My Two Cents – “If you don’t believe in the principle’s of the founder of CFA don’t visit their business.”
—————

Well, that’s exactly what happened. While you and all the other knuckle draggers had your big one-day show of support, many open minded and clear thinking people just stopped going there. Their business has been way off for the last 30 days and they found new markets closed to them. So while you and your paranoid grease eating brethren may feel like you made a point, you’re fortunately a shrinking and irrelevant minority. Obama – 4 More Years!!

Don Abernethy

September 22nd, 2012
12:24 pm

They blinked so I won’t eat there any more.

william tecumseh sherman

September 22nd, 2012
12:27 pm

Mr Cathy has every right to express his hateful views against the un-natural abomination act of homosexual marriage of two men or two women. It’s Mr Cathy’s first amendment right! Although I disagree with his views, His company’s food is really good, I still continue eating there.

Danny G

September 22nd, 2012
12:28 pm

According to this interesting post from Galloway, CFA and Cathy told Moreno and Windmeyer they had quit giving money to anti-gay groups and have been “offered evidence”. Interesting then that Huckabee also claims to have spoken with Cathy and that he has a message from CFA that they have not changed.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2012/09/22/huckabee-no-change-at-chick-fil-a.html

Jethro

September 22nd, 2012
12:33 pm

For the idiot that called Christians taliban, Christian’s love our brothers and sisters regardless of their sexual orientation. We don’t kill them like radical Muslims and the Taliban. Your comments show just how ignorant you are and many church musicians are gay and we love the heck out of our church musician. The problem you(gays) are using thug tactics to pressure people into accepting your lifestyle which I don’t care about because I don’t have to live with you. However your problem is with the Federal government in your benefits argument such as social security, insurance, etc. You can get married at the United Church of Christ or any liberal Christian church, but you force your ideology on the rest of us, you are the bigot actually. I work with gays, have associates that are openly gay and your movement frightens them. Remember you were in the Middle East, you would NEVER HAVE THIS ARGUMENT, YOU WOULD BE IN JAIL AND EXECUTED.

Pete

September 22nd, 2012
12:50 pm

A “little” less likely to make Chick-fil-a my food choice on a given day. To those who say it is unchristian to support marriage as God ordained it ” You are wrong”.

AtlSteve

September 22nd, 2012
12:52 pm

All Chick Fil A’s I driven by in the past few weeks seem to be doing just fine.

kerryb

September 22nd, 2012
12:53 pm

So, an organization funded by Chik-fil-a that does the good work of promoting and building stronger families is considered by gay groups as the equivalent of a domestic terrorist group. That shows the degenerative groups thinking. Everyone needs to stop caving to this group of degenerates that is a small percentage of the population in this country. They are the same as the radical Islamist in the middle east. You either agree with them or they attack you. If Chik-fil-a caves to them after they got all of that support back in August and raked in a ton of money I will never grace the door again and that is my favorite fast food restaurant.

Look before I leap...

September 22nd, 2012
12:58 pm

If the Catholic church is to be believed, then Christ’s views on marriage are akin to a vegan’s view on how best to grill a rib-eye steak.
And since the Bible seems to be pretty big on multiple wives, why then as a “Christian” nation, do we have laws prohibiting bigamy?

kerryb

September 22nd, 2012
1:01 pm

Look before I leap…
September 22nd, 2012
12:58 pm

If the Catholic church is to be believed, then Christ’s views on marriage are akin to a vegan’s view on how best to grill a rib-eye steak.
And since the Bible seems to be pretty big on multiple wives, why then as a “Christian” nation, do we have laws prohibiting bigamy?

______________________________________________________________

Apparently you have never read the book. There were multiple wives during Old Testament times. The New testament and Jesus’ teaching did not condone more than one wife. It’s funny when people who think they know so much attack things in the Bible using Old Testament and the laws of Moses that we are no longer are bound by.

Chick Fil A | NewsTrendr

September 22nd, 2012
1:11 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

GaBlue

September 22nd, 2012
1:17 pm

Yeah, well Mr. Cathy’s bottomless pit of corporate lawyers are still suing a little Vermont t-shirt maker for his Eat More Kale business, even though he doesn’t sell fat- and sodium-laden chicken sandwiches in Vermont, and you’d have to be an idiot to confuse a t-shirt with a chicken sandwich.

Here’s why: It’s no fun having a BILLION and a HALF dollars, that you made using the images of semi-literate dairy cows peddling chicken sandwiches as the greater alternative for a fast meal, unless you can use all those fatty wads of cash to pay lawyers to prevent a small businessman from making $5K selling t-shirts to promote locally-grown produce. Mr. Muller (the t-shirt maker) cannot copyright his t-shirts, but Mr. Cathy can somehow “own” the words “eat” and “more” used together, even though he spells one of them incorrectly.

A BULLY is a BULLY is a BULLY. Not buying your garbage food, Mr. Cathy, until you stop picking on people!

Suki

September 22nd, 2012
1:19 pm

This is 2012 people….Get over your homophobia, racism, bigotry and other idiocies. Cathy should learn to stuff his mouth with more chicken sandwiches instead of blurting out his personal feelings about gay marriage. This is 2012 Mr. Chatty Cathy…..DEAL WITH IT!

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
1:19 pm

( It’s a damn shame). GOODBYE Try an find a country with a low level of education Were religion rules the country Most 3rd world country’s Should fit your values Of hate an bigotry

Ooh La Lah

September 22nd, 2012
1:29 pm

LydiasDad

September 22nd, 2012
1:36 pm

I don’t listen to Rush (shatters your stereotypes huh?), and marriage is not a “right.” It’s a not a right for gays, and it’s not even a right for heteros. It requires a license from the state, just like driving. Gays should not be allowed to marry, and and nature is the main reason. Nature abhors a vacuum, and gay marriage.

LydiasDad

September 22nd, 2012
1:38 pm

And only the FAR left uses this as an argument: “Get over your homophobia, racism, bigotry and other idiocies”. It’s become laughable. Against gay marriage is not against gays. If it is, then nature’s against you too. Is nature homophobic? LOL.

LydiasDad

September 22nd, 2012
1:42 pm

And I hope that CFA continues to support traditional marriage financially and publicly. That’s the right thing to do. It always has been. Just because a few extremists think gay marriage and traditional marriage are the same (laughable, even according to nature), doesn’t mean thats the way to go.

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
1:43 pm

Nature is not homophobic But Lydia’s dad is Gay people can get married That is very natural

Randy

September 22nd, 2012
1:45 pm

They can pander for profits all they want… I’m still not eating there. Discriminatory hate by the religious right is sickening and I will not support it. WWJD – why do christians not follow the teachings of christ?

Libtards

September 22nd, 2012
1:48 pm

I do not care if gay’s do whatever it is they do in the privacy of their own home. Just do not get into my face and demand that I consider what you do as normal. It is not normal. It is an abomination of nature. A freak show. And do not call me homophobic. Phobic would insinuate I have some sort of fear. I do not. I just do not accept what you do as anything on the same planet as normal. Go back into the closet please.

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
1:49 pm

Lydia’s dad. Is the stereotype He is a racist a bigot a homophob. And he does listen to right wing talk and he does use the bible too justify his hate But just a guess when he goes online to watch his porn. It’s always girl on girl.

LydiasDad

September 22nd, 2012
1:49 pm

maybe God messed up somewhere??

observed in close to 1,500 species – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
1:52 pm

Hey libtard. Your idol. Neil Boortz. Is for gay marriage

pfffft

September 22nd, 2012
1:57 pm

it still kills me how some people think their opinion is right and all others are idiots for having / speaking a different opinion. so it is blasphemous for Cathy to have an opinion against gay marriage, speak it, support it. we should boycott his business and anyone who supports chick fil a. but it is perfectly OK for someone to support gay marriage, donate to special interest groups, lobby congress in support, march and protest. and we should support them and their businesses? really, who said their opinion is right? so if you believe in gay marriage, you can trample on other peoples god given rights? obviously not as many folks support gay marriage as you think, as seen by how much the protests have hurt chic fil a. in fact the whole thing petered out pretty quick. get over it folks. he has an opinion and has every right to voice it, politic for it, just like you have your right to voice yours. now i could give a damn if he supports gay marriage, ha makes the best freakin chicken sandwich in the world. and all those protests did was make folks like me eat there more to support his right to have his own opinion. now if he said gays should be burned at the stake, will never work or eat in my bussiness, then your damn right id have a problem with him too. but having an opinion and voicing it, is allot different than discrimination just because his views are different than yours. and there is absolutely no evidence that he or his company EVER discriminated against anyone, or the frivilous lawsuits would be all over the news. again get over it and move on to a story that matters.

Libtards

September 22nd, 2012
1:58 pm

I don’t listen to Boortz, don’t have time. I work for a living. I didn’t say I was against gay marriage either, did I. I said i don’t care what you do. Just do it in private and don’t expect me to consider it normal. Because it is not. But nice stereotyping there with that broad mind of yours.

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
1:58 pm

Lydia’s dad. That is your argument Now you have video of animals humping. And the bible

Go look up some actual facts

Libtards

September 22nd, 2012
2:00 pm

And pffft is 100% right on.

cc

September 22nd, 2012
2:00 pm

“But more important is the fact that Windmeyer said Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy was personally involved in the negotiations, in both face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations.”

“Skeptics remain. Gay rights groups point out that even as his company was making nice last week, Cathy personally Tweeted a photo that showed him participating in a motorcycle ride to benefit a group called the Marriage and Family Foundation – a group that lobbies against gay marriage, and which once received funding from the company’s WinShape Foundation.”

You can’t have it both ways. If you compromise a principle for the sake of business prosperity, it is worse than never claiming the principle, and if you publicly take a stance for the sake of business and conduct your private life differently you demonstrate hypocrisy at its worst.

Chick-fil-A is no longer a dining option for me . . .

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
2:05 pm

Libtard. Yes you do. Listen too Boortz That’s we’re u got libtard. And I’m glad you have a job And you are a bigot an a homophob. Because you feel the need to express your form of bigotry on this blog Even though gay marriage will never affect you in any way

Kujohn

September 22nd, 2012
2:07 pm

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. –Matthew 7:1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shore/the-best-case-for-the-bible-not-condemning-homosexuality_b_1396345.html

GaBlue

September 22nd, 2012
2:09 pm

Why do some of you (bigots) think it MATTERS how you feel about it, or whether you consider it “normal?” American citizens deserve the SAME rights from our government, no matter what rights or privileges are on the table.

The license issued by the state is not a privilege; it’s a document that holds an inherent set of legal rights. If you and your adult spouse-to-be of mutual choosing can go down to the courthouse, pay your fee, sign the papers and get it, then your neighbors should be able to do the same. Period. YOUR FEELINGS about their relationship are not even remotely relevant!

If the state cannot issue licenses to citizens equally, then the state should stop issuing these licenses. YOU can go marry in a church that accepts you, and then YOU can hire a lawyer and pay through the nose for a “civil contract” defining personal and property rights within your relationship. Then you can keep your disgust and express it however you like, in his here “free country” we would have then, if that’s what makes you feel good about yourself.

Vashtai

September 22nd, 2012
2:12 pm

You so-called Christians complaining about how the Gay community is bullying you I find very ironic. Gay people have been penalized forever because you’ve wrapped your religion in our laws, making Gay people 2nd class citizens. I know most of you are older and white. It just must gall you that your children and grandchildren are not bigoted like you. Equal marriage protection for all is coming to a SCOTUS near you. DOMA will be thrown on the dust bin of infamy. Men will marry men, women will marry women, and no one will marry their dog or sister.

honested

September 22nd, 2012
2:15 pm

Wasn’t it nice back when corporations were prohibited from being involved in political activity?

If they wanted to donate to CHARITY, you know organizations providing service to CITIZENS while not taking a profit, that was fine.

Everything else was taxable, which usually prevented the donation.

Ahhhh, the good old days.

honested

September 22nd, 2012
2:16 pm

Vashtai,

As for your last sentence, a close examination of the Georgia gop would tend to indicate one or both of those things may have already happened!

Kris

September 22nd, 2012
2:16 pm

@ Crazygirl “”Good attempt at PR clean up. Sadly, it only strengthens my belief that the All Might Dollar is held in a higher regard to Republicans than their All Mighty One.”
“All Mighty One.”
Is this a referral to GOD? Or the Charlatan from the planet Kolob? Or the $.

I still like KFC. Its finger licking good.

Rick

September 22nd, 2012
2:19 pm

What a sell out. Very disappointing. Dan why don’t you just go ahead and open the stores on Sundays. Your priorities are cash based, which is OK, but don’t try to come across so righteous.

barbmcwethy

September 22nd, 2012
2:19 pm

I think there is a big difference between a company’s view and a personal view. I applaud the company for deciding to be more open in who it supports, thus allowing more business expansion in the future in areas that may not have been open to them opening. I don’t have a company so it’s not an issue for me that way, but if I did I don’t think I would sponsor ANYBODY just because I believe that they are separate issues.If Mr. Cathy wishes to participate in bike rides for agencies that he PERSONALLY believes in, I have no problem with that and no one else should either. I decide where my personal donations go based on what I believe and believe everyone else has the same right.

barbmcwethy

September 22nd, 2012
2:19 pm

I think there is a big difference between a company’s view and a personal view. I applaud the company for deciding to be more open in who it supports, thus allowing more business expansion in the future in areas that may not have been open to them opening. I don’t have a company so it’s not an issue for me that way, but if I did I don’t think I would sponsor ANYBODY just because I believe that they are separate issues.If Mr. Cathy wishes to participate in bike rides for agencies that he PERSONALLY believes in, I have no problem with that and no one else should either. I decide where my personal donations go based on what I believe and believe everyone else has the same right.

barbmcwethy

September 22nd, 2012
2:26 pm

cc- I don’t agree. I believe business is business and personal is personal. I really don’t believe you can lump it all together, even though personal perspective plays a role in the company’s operations it can’t be the only influence over business policy. If personal beliefs were believed to be the only way things were run, every child in GA would be looked at as ‘Honey-Boo-Boo’ and we know that isn’t true.

DLink

September 22nd, 2012
2:28 pm

GaBlue, too sensible.

Would everyone who does not believe in equal rights please raise your hand before posting? So helpful, thank you in advance.

Kris

September 22nd, 2012
2:53 pm

Sorry my hand is not up….

Crazygirl

September 22nd, 2012
3:03 pm

@Kris… Yes, I was talking about their God and their money. I am not a Christian and do not see things the same way that they do. Yet, I still have respect and tolerance for their religion. After all, it is not secret that the Cathy’s are very devout Christians. Yet I do not understand Christian hypocrisy. IMO, that is exactly what I am witnessing with the release of these statements.

Wilbur

September 22nd, 2012
3:03 pm

Surely you are not confused about the supreme court decision in Citizens United and the right of privately held companies to contribute to charity as they choose. Surely you don’t think that the government should be able to tell people which charities they may give to and which they may not support.
Maybe you are just stupid but maybe you are a stalinist

return to CFA

September 22nd, 2012
3:05 pm

I am satisfied with Cathy’s efforts and am happy to return to Chick-fil-a, a company that I respected prior to this issue. They are welcome to their personal views, but when they started to fund groups that are anti-civil rights and maybe even hate groups they stepped over the line. Now that they know that we expect more from them, everyone can move on and appreciate the many great things this company does. Hopefully the next generation of Cathys will be more open minded and inclusive by nature instead of by pressure.