Editor’s note: Read our update – Chick-Fil-A Issues Statement: Traditional Marriage Groups Funding Will Continue
Chick-Fil-A this week in a written agreement signed by a corporate senior director promised to no longer donate to anti-gay organizations or political groups, as a condition of being able to open a restauranrt in Chicago. But on Tuesday, hours before news of Chick-Fil-A’s supposedly new corporate policy was published — and after the legal agreement with the City of Chicago was signed — Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy tweeted a photo of himself riding a motorcycle as part of a “Ride for the Family” which is a fundraiser for one of Winshape‘s top anti-gay recipients, the Marriage and Family Foundation.
Could there be a loophole in Chick-Fil-A’s newfound neutrality?
“That long ride is a fundraiser for an organization that helps lobby against marriage equality,” Lucas Grindley, writing for the Advocate, reports:
Registration forms for the event ask that checks be sent, not to the WinShape Foundation that Chick-fil-A operates, but directly to the Marriage and Family Foundation at 5200 Buffington Road in Atlanta, Ga.
The forms say the ride fee is $3,500 for each individual or couple. But sponsorship packages posted online show that organizations could pledge $5,000 for “silver” status, $10,000 for “gold” or $15,000 and more to reach “platinum.” The Chick-fil-A logo accompanies everything, and so does the WinShape name, but it’s unclear whether the foundation continues to make donations.
The Marriage and Family Foundation was not only included in the investigation by Equality Matters of the fast-food chain’s questionable giving history, it was identified as the top antigay recipient in 2010. WinShape had given more than $1 million to the group in 2010 alone.
Equality Matters explained the group’s history in detail. It was originally named the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund when it was founded in 2007 by a member of the Cathy family. In fact, the current Buffington Road address in Atlanta is now shared by Chick-fil-A’s headquarters.
The Marriage and Family Foundation was created as the “implementation and funding arm” for something called the Marriage CoMission, which Equality Matters says is host to an annual conference about the supposed decline of marriage. The conference has been attended by the founders of the National Organization for Marriage and Exodus International, which had once focused on changing people from gay to straight. The Cathy-family group originally was intended to contribute to multi-million dollar public awareness campaigns about its values.
Granted, the group’s sole focus isn’t on same-sex marriage. The CoMission emphasizes lowering the divorce rate and making couples more satisfied in their marriages, for example. But even in those instances, the group has made clear it’s worried only about heterosexuals being happy in their marriages and avoiding divorce.
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