Earlier this year, Chick-fil-A became embroiled in a controversy surrounding its donations to anti-gay groups, and although Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy denied having an “agenda against anyone,” an investigation by Equality Matters found that Chick-fil-A donated more than $1 million to anti-gay causes between 2003 and 2008, and double that amount in 2009.
The 2009 contributions reflect the most recent year for which public records are available.
According to the Equality Matters report, the WinShape Foundation — Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984 — received substantial funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2009 alone, WinShape received $7,814,788 from Chick-fil-A Inc.
In 2009 alone, WinShape distributed $1,733,699 among seven anti-gay groups, including the Marriage And Family Legacy Fund, Exodus International, and two groups identified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center — Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
Exodus International is one of the world’s largest promoters of “ex-gay” therapy. Focus on the Family and the FRC have earned their “hate groups” designation for promoting known falsehoods about the LGBT community, including FRC’s claim that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem.”
Earlier this year, a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pennsylvania co-sponsored a marriage conference along with the Pennsylvania Family Institute — the PFI had previously worked to kill a state bill that would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations, and had filed an amicus brief against the trial ruling striking down California’s Proposition 8.
Following news reports of the sponsorship, Chick-fil-A scrubbed its name from the event’s advertisements.
In response to the controversy, Cathy released a statement denying that Chick-fil-A’s donation was an endorsement of traditional marriage, and argued that Chick-fil-A has “no agenda against anyone,” and that the company would not “champion any political agendas” relating to marriages or families.