Monday, July 30, 2018

Stop portraying Chick-fil-A as a victim

Chick-fil-A
American Family Association (an anti-LGBT hate group) is one of many organizations suggesting that Chick-fil-A is being victimized by the LGBT community. Today on their blog they write:
LGBTQ protesters are enraged over Chick-fil-A’s announcement that it will be expanding its franchise into Canada, with some declaring a boycott via Twitter of the Christian-owned fast food giant’s future Canadian chain locations.
[…]
Chick-fil-A’s first opening north of the border is slated for the province of Ontario’s largest city, Toronto, where many in the LGBTQ community are opposed to the pro-family corporation’s support of Christian values and organizations that take a stand for them in controversial issues, such as same-sex “marriage.”
Chick-fil-A is still funding anti-LGBT organizations. The company facilitates workplace discrimination throughout their franchise network. Pro-family doesn't seem to include LGBT families.

Just in passing, marriage equality is not controversial. Canada has been legally uniting gay couples for over 13 years. But I digress. AFA's intent is to portray Chick-fil-A as a model company being persecuted by LGBT people.

About a year ago, Josh Israel wrote a piece at Think Progress titled Chick-fil-A is still bankrolling anti-LGBTQ causes, Israel highlighted 2015 contributions by the Chick-fil-A foundation to three anti-gay organizations: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Salvation Army.

Not much changed in 2016. The foundation gave $1 million to Fellowship of Christian Athletes; $182,000 to Paul Anderson Youth Homes and $146,000 to the Salvation Army.

But there is a bigger problem. Overall, it is responsible for the employment of tens of thousands of people. Chick-fil-A requires its franchisees to close on Sunday but it does not require its franchisees to have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the policy that the company imposes on franchisees is to be compliant with local law. In Mesa, Arizona:
It has been and shall continue to be our policy that we do not discriminate in employment decisions based upon sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, service in the uniformed services, genetic information, sexual orientation, and/or any other protected status, classification or factor, in accordance with the requirements of all federal, state and local laws…
However, in Kansas:
we do not discriminate in employment decisions based upon sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, service in the uniformed services, genetic information, and/or any other protected status …
North Carolina:
we do not discriminate in employment decisions based upon sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, service in the uniformed services, genetic information, and/or any other protected status, classification or factor, in accordance with the requirements of all federal, state and local laws.
Note that the wording in all three is identical, except for the sexual orientation inclusion in Arizona. They are identical because they reflect the policy of the franchiser, Chick-fil-A.

In Canada the policy will be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Nevertheless, I would not patronize a franchise with an inclusive nondiscrimination policy. The reason is that a significant amount of money goes back to the franchiser (Chick-fil-A) and Chick-fil-A is discriminatory.

You can be pretty sure that the company has no LGBT franchisees. Any Jews? Muslims? Who knows?

In 2012, faced with bad publicity, CFA worked with The Civil Rights Agenda in Chicago to supposedly improve its LGBT acceptance. I do not know how or why they selected this group (in contrast to the Human Rights Campaign). Apparently it was in response to a Chicago Alderman's concerns. For the record, TCRA's web presence is now limited to Facebook. It filed its 2017 tax return by postcard which means that it is tiny.

I had to go to the Wayback machine to find the press release:
Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation.
[…]
At the time, the biggest problem was donations to organizations like National Organization for Marriage by the Winshape Foundation which is controlled by the Cathy family. In fact, in 2015 and 2016, Winshape has had only one grant: (2016) $545,000 to Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. To make that one grant they incurred expenses of $40 million and probably owe some taxes due to a failure to distribute. The 2015 numbers were nearly identical.

Chick-fil-A can argue that its 2016 contributions through the Chick-fil-A foundation are to responsible organizations. They can argue, for example, that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a worthwhile organization in spite of its anti-LGBT policies.

However, they cannot argue away their anti-LGBT employment policies. Rather than imposing an inclusive policy on franchisees they limit nondiscrimination to local law minimums. That is unacceptable for an organization of that size.

Chick-fil-A is not a victim of LGBT people. It's the other way around. The company is enabling workplace discrimination.

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