(USA Today) -- Chick-fil-A's apparent decision to stop giving money to anti-gay groups and not engage in social or political debates has sparked another heated discussion -- and new backlash -- on its Facebook page from those who say the company has "caved in."
The report of the company's about-face comes from a Chicago rights lobby, The Civil Rights Agenda, that says Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno has confirmed that the fast-food company will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and has clarified in an internal document that it will "treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation."
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The move comes two months after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy caused an uproar -- followed by boycotts and counter-boycotts -- by saying his company was "guilty as charged" of supporting the biblical definition of the family unit.
It also was enough to prompt Moreno to drop his opposition to the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Chicago.
The Atlanta-based company is largely keeping mum on the latest twist in the controversy.
The company reiterated a statement issued in July that says its tradition is "to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," NPR reports.
"We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators," the statement says. "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
Its mission, the company says, is simple: "To serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
Alderman Moreno is more explicit, saying the company for the first time has put into writing its policies.
His office said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that the company will put the statement in a document called "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,""
Though trying to steer clear of more controversy, the company has nonetheless touched off a firestorm on its own Facebook page by people accusing them of caving in. Others praised the company's new approach to the issue.
Here's a sample of some of today's postings:
- Let me tell you something Chick-fil-A. If go back on your stance....if you give in to all the hate that has come after you....you will have a whole new group of people who will no longer support you. You can never make everybody happy. You have been blessed because you have stood on God's side since your beginning. Don't mess that up now. I'm truly surprised at your cowardice.
- you Christians make me ashamed to be a christian. no wonder the world hates us. you heave insults at the people we are called to love. what do we say in our churches.. love the sinner hate the sin? shame on you all.
- Your decision to CAVE on your biblical principles that has made your business such a success...LEAVES ME SPEECHLESS !!! I WILL NO LONGER BE PATRONIZING YOUR BUSINESS ANY LONGER !! HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG PERIOD ! TOO BAD YOU ARE TOO WEAK TO SEE IT !
- Who cares what a fast food restaurant supports... If the food is good I'm sold! Lol
- "Victory never tasted so sweet. Anyone for Chick-fil-A?"
Rick Garcia, senior policy adviser for the Civil Rights Agenda, says he believes Chick-fil-A's main motive in shifting its policy is to sell more chicken.
"They are not having a change of heart," he says, the Journal-Constitution reports. "They are looking at the money. They recognize they can't get into (markets in the Northeast and large metro areas outside the South) if they are perceived as anti-gay.