There's plenty of evidence to believe a Chicago alderman's account of Chick-fil-A executives promises to stop funding anti-gay rights groups even though the chain itself is being tight-lipped. As we reported this morning, it wasn't Chick-fil-A who broke the news--it was an LGBT advocacy group in Chicago. And so far the only thing we've heard from the company other than their declining to comment, is from a spokesman who neither confirmed or denied that press release.
What we do have is a first hand accounts from the Chicago Alderman who received the promise from the chain. Alderman Joe Moreno, who threatened to block the restaurant's entry into Chicago said in an official statement today that company executives promised that the anti-gay funding would cease. He wrote in an official statement (full statement is embedded below):
In my last meeting with company executives, I corroborated what they told me back in January: that donations to anti-gay groups, which most concerned the LGBT community, have ceased. In a letter signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations [sic] is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
What's curious is that the language used by Chick-fil-A executives is flexible. "Not supporting organizations with political agendas," can mean a lot of things. But the TCRA, who first broke the news this morning did add, "In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage."--a statement that the Chick-fil-A spokesman did not contest. Good enough right? But, what possibly throws a wrench into this whole thing is that a spokesman at NOM told Buzzfeed "WinShape never gave to us." If the TCRA's reporting was true) could mean that Chick-fil-A wasn't being entirely honest or correct about the funding (you can't "no longer" give to anti-gay organizations you weren't giving to). We've tried to get in contact with Chick-fil-A's anti-gay beneficiaries and will update when we hear back from them.
But what company executives promised Moreno, aside from the letter, apparently sounded and seemed solid enough for Moreno to allow the chain into the Chicago neighborhood he oversees. Gawker's Cord Jefferson had a bit more on the specifics and reported was told that Chick-fil-A showed Alderman Moreno a spreadsheet of the company's givings as proof of the company's promise to end anti-gay giving. We went ahead and e-mailed Alderman Moreno's office about the word-binding promise-touting spreadsheet and the company's promise to end anti-gay giving and came up with this response from spokesman Matthew Bailey:
Yes, I can confirm that he was shown proof by company executives. ... No, they didn't provide us with a copy... But showed us in the meeting.
Gah. Chick-fil-A, just give him a copy. Or give us a copy. Don't make us wait for your filings. Or just talk about the decision, and umm, anger those all those conservatives who gave you money because they wanted to give you the free speech to stomp on gay rights. Believe us, we hate one-sided reporting as much as you do, so ... really Chick-fil-A give us a call!
As promised, here are Moreno's full comments: