CHICAGO (CBS) — Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) reportedly says he will now let Chick-Fil-A go ahead with plans for a location in his ward, after the fast food chain issued a statement respecting all sexual orientations and promised to end donations to anti-gay organizations.
In a statement provided to the gay rights group The Civil Rights Agenda, Moreno called the actions by Chick-Fil-A “a win for the LGBT community,” and “a win for everyone who works for the cause of equal rights,” as well as for Chick-Fil-A itself, the Chicago Phoenix reports.
A letter addressed to Moreno, and signed by the senior director of real estate at Chick-Fil-A, said the WinShape Foundations – the company’s charitable arm – will take “a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping,” the Phoenix reported.
WinShape has made headlines for donating to companies that oppose same-sex marriage and gay rights, including Exodus International – a proponent of “reparative therapy” for homosexuality, according to published reports.
But the Chicago Tribune reports Chick-Fil-A made almost identical pledges in a Facebook posting back on July 19, even before the controversy erupted following comments by Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy about the company’s “support for the traditional family” and opposition to same-sex marriage.
Chick-Fil-A’s “statement of respect” also did not include language in the company handbook opposing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, according to the Tribune.
But Moreno told the Tribune he was satisfied he had gotten Chick-Fil-A to “affirm that they do not have discriminatory policies.”
The Civil Rights Agenda also expressed satisfaction with the resolution, particularly the agreement to “(cease) donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights,” executive director Anthony Martinez told the Phoenix.
Chick-Fil-A has also agreed to a new traffic design for its planned restaurant in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue, the Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, Moreno himself has issued a letter of support and will introduce an ordinance that will clear the way for Chick-Fil-A to open the Elston Avenue location, according to the Phoenix.
Chick-Fil-A dominated the headlines in Chicago and across the country this past summer, in response to an article profiling the company ran in July on the Christian news site Baptist Press.
The article notes that some have opposed Chick-Fil-A’s “support for the traditional family,” and goes on to quote Cathy as saying, “Guilty as charged.”
Afterward, Moreno said he would not grant a zoning permit for Chick-Fil-A to open a second Chicago city location in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue. While Cathy’s comments have been presented as being only his personal views, Moreno said last week that he is unconvinced that Chick-Fil-A will not discriminate against the LGBT community.
Supporters of Chick-Fil-A said Moreno’s plan to deny the permit would have amounted to illegal censorship, and that the comments about same-sex marriage were Cathy’s alone and not representative of any company policy.
In the wake of the controversy, supporters of Chick-Fil-A turned out in droves on Aug.1 for a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” sponsored by former Arkansas governor and onetime Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, while two days later, same sex couples and their supporters descended on Chick-Fil-A locations in Chicago and elsewhere for a “kiss-in.”