deep ties to the anti-gay movement have been exposed and uncovered by a number of activists, most notably Jeremy Hooper at Good As You. Whether it's Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, or Exodus International, Chick-fil-A ties run deep.
Of course, the President of Chick-fil-A wants gay people to share no hard feelings. The restaurant will gladly feed homosexuals gobs of chicken sandwiches, after all. But when it comes to marriage, Chick-fil-A believes strongly that same-sex couples just don't deserve equal rights.
As we wrote about a few weeks ago, Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, has been particularly active in the fight against marriage equality. They've hosted conferences with some of the leading opponents of gay marriage in this country. A higher up at WinShape has even praised the efforts of anti-gay activist David Blankenhorn for working against marriage equality, and for articulating a solid reason why American culture should reject same-sex couples.
Now comes some email correspondence that Good As You has shared on their blog, where the WinShape Foundation's Retreat Center -- a center run by the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A -- admits that they have a severe distaste for LGBT people.
The email correspondence goes a little something like this. Someone writes WinShape an easy question about whether their retreat center is open to LGBT people. WinShape's response:
"WinShape Retreat defines marriage from the Biblical standard as being between one man and one woman. Groups/Individuals are welcome who offer wholesome, educational conferences and programs that are compatible with Biblical values and WinShape's purpose," WinShape wrote back.
Kind of some corporate speak, right? So the activist wrote back: can you just give a clear-cut answer? And WinShape confirmed:
"We do not accept homosexual couples because of the statement in our contract."
And so it goes like this: Chick-fil-A is a restaurant where franchises frequently donate to anti-gay organizations like the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Focus on the Family and others. The restaurant's charitable arm, WinShape, holds conferences for opponents of gay marriage and praises their work. And this charitable arm's Retreat program puts a blanket ban on gay couples using their facilities, because they "do not accept homosexual couples."
Yet the President of Chick-fil-A still says that all people, including LGBT people, are treated with respect by the restaurant? Huh, what a funny definition of respect.
Meanwhile, check this story out. So the Human Rights Campaign's NOMExposed project tried to submit an equality-minded video to the Ruth Institute's "Reel Love Video Challenge." The Ruth Institute is an affiliate of the National Organization for Marriage, and they're running a contest where folks can submit videos talking about what love means. The video below was originally accepted, but then promptly booted out of the project once the Ruth Institute became aware that it actually championed equality for same-sex couples.
Here's the kicker: the Ruth Institute's "Reel Love Video Challenge" has a tie-in to Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation. Wouldn't it be nice to hear why the Ruth Institute and the WinShape Foundation find the below video so offensive? After all, what is love if it isn't equal?
petition text -
Pull Chick-fil-A's sponsorship of February event with anti-gay group
Dear Mr. Robinson and Ms. Green,
I recently became aware that Chick-fil-A is sponsoring a February 2011 event with the Pennsylvania Family Institute on "the biblical definition of marriage." The Pennsylvania Family Institute has a lengthy track record of rhetoric that is very offensive to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and in recent years has made fighting same-sex marriage a cornerstone of their work. Why would Chick-fil-A decide to partner with an organization promoting such values?
Indeed, the Pennsylvania Family Institute has called gay marriage a threat to civilization, suggested that same-sex couples harm children, and believes that same-sex marriage should be banned not only in Pennsylvania, but also in the U.S. Constitution. Does Chick-fil-A agree with this? And if not, why would the company choose to cosponsor an event with the Pennsylvania Family Institute on the subject of marriage?
I am very concerned about Chick-fil-A's sponsorship of this event, and will be telling friends and family about the role of the company in promoting the Pennsylvania Family Institute's anti-gay message. I urge you to pull your sponsorship from this event, and not join forces with an organization with such a lengthy track record against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Thank you for your time.
[Your name here]