A tipster over in Paris (Texas, that is) alerted us to this Topix.com thread which accuses a restaurant owner in the East Texas town of making “anti-gay hate speech publicly.” The thread provides few concrete details of the allegation, but here’s the first comment:
Those present who heard it were shocked at the homophobic rant that he launched into, hate speech rhetoric such as “fa**ots are taking over everywhere”. Gay and lesbian community- of which HE HAD SEVERAL GOOD CUSTOMERS- will now be boycotting the establishment…
Read all 120 subsequent responses for yourself if you have time, but the restaurant owner, Drew Crawford of Crawford’s Hole in the Wall, told Instant Tea it’s not true.
“It sounds to me like somebody just had a grudge and like they started up something,” said Crawford, who’s owned the restaurant a block from the Lamar County Courthouse for the last 10 years. “Somebody says I made a speech bashing gays. It’s not true. I’ve never bashed anybody.”
Crawford did, however, acknowledge that this summer, at the height of the Chick-fil-A controversy, his restaurant offered free lunches to people who presented receipts from the chicken chain. He said an employee posted the promotion on the restaurant’s Facebook page — and we found the above photo on Flickr of the promotion advertised in chalk on an exterior door of the restaurant.
Crawford compared it to other periodic promotions, such as free lunch for anyone who works in a hospital. Because the nearest Chick-fil-A is in Sherman, he said the restaurant gave away only one lunch valued at $7. Crawford said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. But he said he doesn’t hate gay people, he has regular customers who are gay, and everyone is welcome in his restaurant regardless of sexual orientation.
“Do I like Chick-fil-A? Yes. do I like waffle fries? Yes. Am I married to a woman? Yes. Do I have kids? Yes. Everybody’s got their opinions,” Crawford said.
“Do I support gay rights or whatever? No, I don’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that, just like if the gay community doesn’t support something we do, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Crawford said. “Somebody just states their opinion, and then you turn it into, ‘I hate queers and hate faggots.’ … There’s never been a speech. There’s never been nothing.”
Or at least nothing we can verify at this point other than a promotion supporting a company that’s funneled millions to anti-gay hate groups over the last few years.
Couple Tyler Savage, left, and Larry Farris at a Dallas Chick-fil-A on Friday, Aug. 3, for National Same-sex Kiss-in Day. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
News about Chick-fil-A no longer funding anti-gay organizations surfaced yesterday with the explanation that the chicken chain would refrain from engaging in “political debates.”
The company released a statement today and a longer “Who We Are” statement, detailing organizations and causes the company donates to.
Among organizations listed in the longer statement is the WinShape Foundation. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy tweeted a photo this week from the 2012 WinShape Ride for the Family, which The Advocate reports is a fundraiser for an organization that helps lobby against marriage equality.
“The fact is that Chick-fil-A has not commented on any of these ‘what if’ statements or shared anything to substantiate the claims by Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno and the Illinois-based Civil Rights Agenda,” he writes. “The only action that Chick-fil-A has taken in recent weeks was to have private conversations in an effort to find ‘common ground,’ and to reiterate the company’s stance through an internal Chick-fil-A memo.”
The statement is below. Go here for the longer document.
Chick-fil-A: Who We Are. A Response to Recent Controversy.
For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving.
For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.
A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.
Couple Tyler Savage, left, and Larry Farris kiss at a Dallas Chick-fil-A Friday, Aug. 3, for National Same-sex Kiss-in Day. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
Chick-fil-A is reportedly ending its contributions to anti-gay groups, including Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.
The decision came after discussions this month with Chicago’s Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Moreno made headlines this summer for opposing a new Chick-fil-A in a Westside ward after company President Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to marriage equality. Cathy’s comments sparked debate about civil rights and freedom of speech, along with protests and petitions to kick the restaurant of college campuses, leading to Cathy meeting with LGBT college leaders last month.
Moreno told the Times that the company would not add LGBT protections to its nondiscrimination policy but would send a memo to its restaurants called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.” The memo will state Chick-fil-A’s promise to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender” and to not “engage in political or social debates.”
Moreno told Chicago’s LGBT newspaper, the Windy City Times, that it’s “a win for the LGBT community” and “for everyone who works for the cause of equal rights, and a win for Chick- fil-A. This is a win for all.”
Chick-fil-A has not released an official announcement stating that the company would cease donations to anti-gay organization, but a letter sent to Moreno signed by the company’s senior director states that it 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.”
Donations will now go to foster-care agencies and community service organizations.
I know, I know, everyone’s tired of hearing about Chick-fil-A!
But I’m with Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen, who wrote in a column published by the Voice last week that as long as the chicken chain continues to be known as the right wing’s last stand against LGBT equality, its brand will suffer.
In fact, it was in response to Dallas Voice’s posting of Besen’s column on Facebook that local LGBT activist Elizabeth Parker shared these photos she took on Aug. 3 — the day of the same-sex kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A locations across the country.
Parker reports that she was leaving a nearby store when she stumbled upon these students from the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, north of Dallas. Yes, that would be the same Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in which bigoted Farmers Branch Mayor Timothy O’Hare railed against the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance last year.
Anyhow, Parker went over to snap a few photos and tell the students how much she admired their courage, as they stood outside in the intense heat. She said she was disappointed (but presumably not surprised) that none of the students’ parents chose to stand with their children, but glad that she was able to share her mother with them (that’s Parker’s mom in the shades).
Parker said at one point, a female Chick-fil-A customer walked by and called out, “Fags … you’re going to hell … nobody cares about you!!” The customer then told the driver of a car headed to the drive-thru to “run over them.”
“The students simply stood their ground. I, however, suggested to her that her remarks did not sound exactly Christian,” Parker writes. “So, yeah, they got a taste of what the anti-LGBT side can sound like at LGBT actions of ANY size.”
Isn’t there some kind of award we can give these kids?
It was Cathy whose anti-gay comments earlier this summer sparked the protest. The details of Thursday’s meeting were brief and given by an unnamed source, but centered around “diversity, hospitality, and the opportunity to find common ground,” according to the source.
Cathy is trying to repair relationships with colleges in an effort to further expansion plans for more on-campus locations across the country, many at large schools.
The University of North Texas was the first of five area colleges to start a petition calling for the university to remove the restaurant from its student union. UTA later followed and members of UTA’s GSA are preparing to present the petition and a resolution to school officials.
SMU officials have already said they would not remove the restaurant from its campus. Kim Schroder, UNT’s associate director of retail dining services, told its student newspaper that the on-campus location wasn’t going anywhere soon.
Schroder said the petitions from a UNT student and a separate one created by an alumnus have not affected business, and the university’s five-year contract with the company would make removing it soon impossible.
UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan told Instant Tea that no one had submitted a petition or a formal request yet o replace the on-campus Chick-fil-A.
Alohi Valdez, president of UTA’s Gay Straight Alliance, said the group is working on a resolution to present to university officials alongside the petition. She said she wanted to present the petition to the administration soon.
Alohi Valdez, president of UTA’s Gay Straight Alliance, initially said she was conflicted about creating a petition due to concerns student workers would lose their jobs if Chick-fil-A closed. But after speaking to friends and GSA members over the weekend, she said she decided to start the petition. As of Monday afternoon, 65 people had signed it.
Valdez said she was also inspired to take a stand after hearing about the death of Fairness Fort Worth president and UTA alumnus Tom Anable.
“I had never met the man, even though Fairness Fort Worth had done so much for us, so I had really looked forward to shaking his hand one day,” she said. “When that hope was taken away from me, I really just felt this flame inside me: I had to do something. Even though I just had a long day and it was 3 a.m. on a Saturday night/early Sunday, I had to write something.”
Anable was chair of the local steering committee for the White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools and Communities that took place at UTA in March.
Valdez said Anable and FFW Treasurer David Mack Henderson, also a UTA alumnus, had done so much for the students at UTA and she wanted to continue their work.
“I have to complete what they started, do my part, and continue to make the University of Texas at Arlington the best school it can be, welcoming and open for everyone,” she said.
UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said she was waiting on the university’s response to the petition before commenting.
Two anti-Chick-fil-A petitions are ongoing at the University of North Texas, one by a student and another by an alumnus. A UNT spokeswoman told Dallas Voice students had the choice not to dine at the on-campus location but would not comment on whether the university would consider removing it.
A spokesman with Southern Methodist University told Dallas Voice last week that the university would not remove the restaurant from campus. SPECTRUM, SMU’s LGBT student group, spoke out against Chick-fil-A but has not announced plans to try to have the on-campus location removed.
The National Organization for Marriage might be trying to make more of Americans obese by encouraging supporters of traditional marriage to flock to Chick-fil-A every Wednesday for the chicken chain’s deep-fried goodness.
Supporters showed up in record numbers to restaurants around the country on Aug. 1, many of whom had to wait in long lines to show their appreciation for President Dan Cathy’s anti-gay remarks.
NOM President Brian Brown thanked those who waited for hours and announced Tuesday that the organization is pushing for supporters to eat at Chick-fil-A every Wednesday to show continued support.
Of course, Mr. Brown makes the argument for free speech by a company’s leader instead of focusing on the anti-gay organizations Chick-fil-A funds.
“Because of the groundbreaking significance of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day—and because the attacks on Dan Cathy and his freedom to speak out in defense of marriage aren’t going away—we’re calling on all supporters of marriage, free speech and religious liberty to make every Wednesday a ‘Chick-fil-A Wednesday!’” the NOM release reads. “I am profoundly grateful to Gov. Mike Huckabee for his leadership in sponsoring and promoting last week’s ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’ No politician has the right to discriminate against private business owners simply because they believe what God says about marriage.”
Take the Chick-fil-A Wednesdays Pledge! Join the Chick-fil-A Wednesdays community on Facebook to show your support for Dan Cathy, for marriage and free speech, and for your fellow Americans who believe in marriage like you do: use this page to remind yourself and one another that we are not alone!
Look for events and opportunities to take your business to Chick-fil-A, especially on Wednesdays. Whether it’s a church catering event, a political meeting or a weekly Bible study, look for opportunities to support Chick-fil-A with your fast-food dollars.
Keep up your support! Have you thanked Dan Cathy for his brave stand in support of marriage? If you haven’t, be sure to send him a note at ThankChickfilA.com! Share this page with your friends and let’s make sure that Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A—as well as the gay marriage radicals who would silence him—know how very many Americans support his position and his right to publicly express it!
Believe it or not, it was one year ago this past Saturday when Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
As if to commemorate the anniversary, Perry was back in Iowa this weekend to stump for Mitt Romney and, as it turned out, Paul Ryan.
Perry even visited the Iowa State Fair, where the infamous photo above was taken at about this time last year. He later addressed the anti-gay Family Leader group, and it’s pretty clear Perry hasn’t learned any lessons from his presidential campaign, when his attempts at gay-baiting backfired so miserably.
Perry, who fell to Romney in the GOP presidential race, spent Saturday visiting voters at the Iowa State Fair and then speaking to a gathering of several hundred Christian conservatives at a summit sponsored by the Family Leader, a conservative group active in politics, at a megachurch west of Des Moines.
“There’s a war against religion. There’s a war against people of faith in this country,” Perry told the crowd at Point of Grace Church. “There is something wrong with America when our popular culture is afraid to offend atheists and all too ready to attack people of faith.”
Perry cited the administration’s embrace of gay marriage and the requirement that religiously affiliated employers provide birth control as part of their insurance coverage.
The Associated Press reports that Perry even took the opportunity to comment on the recent Chick-fil-A controversy:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says “political correctness has to stop,” citing the flap over Chick-fil-A and opposition to same-sex marriage as an example. …
He said that when Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy defended “the sanctity of marriage, the left went nuts.”
According to his prepared remarks, Perry continued: “When conservatives are offended by a corporate policy, we simply choose not to give them our business.”
He added that offended liberals “try to keep everyone else from giving them business.”
All I can say is that’s it too bad Chick-fil-A doesn’t sell corn dogs, because I see a great potential advertising campaign here: You have Gov. Perry sporting the Brokeback Mountain jacket he wore in that “Strong” ad, striking the above pose with a corn dog.