A gay rights advocacy group has said that, according to its most recent tax documents, Chick-fil-A has ceased giving money to groups opposed to equal marriage and gay rights.
According to gay rights group Campus Pride, the 2011 IRS 990 filings for Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, shows no sign that they had funded anti-gay groups.
The company, which is the second largest chicken fast food firm in the US, has in the past donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups including the Family Research Council, Exodus International and Focus on the Family.
Back in July, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, publicly confirmed that the company was opposed to equal marriage.
There was then a drawn-out mix of messages coming out of the company over several months, some seeming to suggest that executives wanted to distance Chick-fil-A from the controversy, others confirming that it has maintained its anti-gay policy.
The documents filed by Chick-fil-A in November, showed no trace of such anti-gay groups, but that it had instead donated $6 million (£4 million) to what Campus Pride described as “marriage enrichment”.
Speaking to the LA Times, Jason Snyder, an assistant professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management said that despite gay people representing a small proportion of the company’s clientele, there was probably ”a substantial segment of patrons who are sympathetic” to LGBT rights and equal marriage.
“Gays are now able to exert some sort of market pressure,” he said. “That’s the reason Chick-fil-A is probably responding, because in some ways the market is pushing them this way. This is indicative that there’s a tangible threat to the bottom line.”
In a similar statement to those which came before it, Chick-fil-A said its ”intent is to not support political or social agendas.”
The chicken restaurant chain said that it had contributed more than $68 million (£43 million) over three years to more than seven hundred educational and charitable groups nationwide.
“This has been the case for more than 60 years,” the company said. “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect and to serve great food with genuine hospitality.”
Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride accompanied Dan Cathy to an American football game in Atlanta last month.
“Our mutual hope was to find common ground if possible, and to build respect no matter what,” he wrote. “We learned about each other as people with opposing views, not as opposing people.”