Chick-fil-A moves closer to repairing its reputation

Chick-fil-A has agreed to end donations to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, according to a public official who led the opposition to an opening of the restaurant in Chicago.

Chick-fil-A has agreed to end donations to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, according to a public official who led the opposition to an opening of the restaurant in Chicago.

Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno said he will allow the fast-food chain to open a branch in Logan Square because Chick-fil-A executives promised to stop contributing to organizations that “promote discrimination…against LGBT civil rights.” Additionally, Moreno said the restaurant agreed to include a statement of respect for all sexual orientations in an internal document, titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” that will be circulated among corporate employees and restaurant operators.

Public officials such as Moreno, as well as celebrities, businesses, and student groups, came out against Chick-fil-A after president Dan Cathy voiced his support in July for the “biblical definition of the family unit,” or those led only by a man and a woman. The Jim Henson Co., a supplier of kids' meal toys, severed ties with Chick-fil-A, and Boston Mayor Tom Menino urged Cathy to reconsider the chain's plans for a Boston location.

Moreno said his reverse in course, which follows negotiations with Chick-fil-A executives and LGBT civil rights advocacy organization The Civil Rights Agenda, was a “big win.” But the company has not yet confirmed this new position. Instead, Chick-fil-A spokespeople have issued a statement to media that is very similar to what it posted on its Facebook page 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,” the statement read. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

The proposed language in the company's internal document also falls short of Moreno's goal of including a statement in the employee handbook that opposes discrimination against the LGBT community.

Chick-fil-A might have taken a step in the right direction, but it still has a long way to go in repairing its reputation. The company itself needs to publicly affirm that it has stopped donating to anti-LGBT groups, and take more proactive steps to assure employees of all backgrounds and orientations that they will be treated with respect.

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