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  1. 1. Rachel Mauro5/28/13Backgrounder for Chick-fil-AANTI-GAY CONTROVERSYIssue: Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy publicly announces a disagreement with “nontraditional” marriage.Background: Truett S. Cathy founded Chick-fil-A and its values by closely following his Christianreligion in 1946. In 1984, a nonprofit organization and charitable foundation called Winshape was founded;its main purpose was to help “shape winners.”For years, Chick-fil-A gave millions of dollars to organizations fighting same-sex marriage and supportingheterosexual ones. June 2012, Dan Cathy publicly announced, “the biblical definition of the family unit” issupported by Chick-fil-A. Immediately after Cathy’s statement about same sex marriage, a New Yorkresident, Carly McGehee, decided to stage a same-sex-kiss-in on Aug. 3. This kiss-in urged gays andlesbians to show up and protest the food chain across the country.Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, declared Aug. 1 as Chick-fil-A appreciation day in rebuttal toMcGehee’s same-sex-kiss-in.Following the statement and countrywide debates, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphiamayors openly opposed Cathy’s statement along with his unwelcomed beliefs and views on same-sexmarriage.The Jim Henson Company, creators of Muppet toys for the chains, refused to make any more toys forChick-fil-A. Chief Executive Officer Lisa Henson openly supported same-sex marriage and donated all themoney received from Chick-fil-A to support the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).Simultaneously, Chick-fil-A posted a “voluntary recall” of all Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet KidsMeal toys. Chick-fil-A cited reports that children were getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the
  2. 2. puppets. This rift in business relationships was later addressed as having nothing to do with the gaymarriage controversy.July 2012 Chick-fil-A released a statement saying, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debateover same-sex marriage to the government and political parties.”Progressive groups, with over 80,000 signatures, petitioned publisher HarperCollins to not allowBerenstain Bears as part of a kids’ meal promotion for Chick-fil-A. HarperCollins responded with thefollowing statement, “It is not our practice to cancel a contract with an author, or any other party. Forexercising their First Amendment rights.”By September 2012, Chick-fil-A announced to ABC they, “ceased donating to organizations that promotediscrimination, specifically against LGBT Civil Rights.” Chick-fil-A emphasized on treating every personequally, regardless of his or her sexual orientation. It was also announced that the Winshape Foundationwould be taking a closer look at the organizations it considers helping. Winshape Foundation will stick totheir main philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.Sept. 20, 2012 Chick-fil-A internally released “Who We Are,” a document promising Winshape would notcontribute money to groups opposed to gay marriage. It also stated that the Winshape Foundation wouldstill donate money to groups supporting “the biblical definition of marriage.”As of Jan. 2013, gay activist and leader of the National Gay Rights Group, Shane Windmeyer, andPresident of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy have grown to understand eachother and are now considered friends.Action: Chick-fil-A will no longer donate money to anti-gay groups.May 2013###