Stella Maxwell
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Chick-fil-A Still Isn't LGBTQ-Friendly, Despite Pledge on Donations

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A’s announcement that it will no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ groups is significant, but it doesn’t mean the company is friendly or affirming to LGBTQ people, the Human Rights Campaign says.

“At HRC, we always encourage companies to ensure that their giving is in line with LGBTQ-inclusive values,” Beck Bailey, director of workplace equality at the HRC Foundation, said in an emailed response to an inquiry from The Advocate. “And while this is an important step for Chick-fil-A, the company still does not have workplace protections and policies that are fully inclusive of LGBTQ people. We look forward to the day when Chick-fil-A’s commitment to welcoming all is reflected in their workplace policies and practices by including explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination protections.”

The privately held company states on its website, “We do not discriminate in employment decisions based upon sex, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, and/or any other status, classification or factor, protected by federal, state or local law.” Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in federal antidiscrimination law — passage of the Equality Act or a positive decision from the Supreme Court in cases currently pending would change that — and state and local laws vary from place to place.

Chick-fil-A is not included in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates participating companies on their LGBTQ policies. Participation in the index is voluntary. It has received a zero rating in HRC’s Buying for Workplace Equality Guide; this document is not currently available online, as it’s being updated.

Chick-fil-A announced Monday that it has fulfilled its multiyear commitments for donations, through its foundation, to groups with anti-LGBTQ policies or histories, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army. It now will focus on organizations addressing education, homelessness, and hunger, company officials said.

The announcement came after Chick-fil-A had run into problems opening outlets in airports and at colleges, and in expanding overseas. It’s losing its lease on its only U.K. location due to protests.

“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

Activists remain skeptical, as Chick-fil-A made similar statements several years ago in light of stories about its donations to anti-LGBTQ groups and anti–marriage equality comments by executive Dan Cathy. Company officials said they would focus on making chicken and leave political debates to others, but the donations to homophobic organizations continued.

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