What’s Brewing: Chick-fil-A downplays anti-gay sponsorship; Gates on DADT repeal; Lady Gaga

1. Chick-fil-A is attempting to downplay its sponsorship of two upcoming events hosted by the anti-gay Pennsylvania Family Institute, releasing a statement Thursday on Facebook saying a “local operator” had simply agreed to provide greasy-ass food. In the meantime, however, LGBT blogs have uncovered several additional connections between the company and anti-gay groups. Fool me once …

2. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon is moving fast to end “don’t ask don’t tell,” with military leaders expected to begin training troops on the change “in a very few weeks.” The troop training is part of a three-step process outlined by Gates on Wednesday in his first public comments about DADT since President Barack Obama signed the bill repealing the policy.

3. Lady Gaga unveils Polaroid sunglasses that take photos, video (video above).

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Chick-fil-A update; Anti-gay lawmakers to have majority in U.S. House

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. After reports surfaced Tuesday that Chick-Fil-A planned to sponsor two conferences hosted by a rabidly anti-gay group in Pennsylvania, the company’s name was abruptly removed from a website promoting the events. Chick-Fil-A also said this on Twitter: “For those seeing reports of a CFA sponsorship w/ the Penn Family Inst, we are looking into the issue and will provide a response ASAP.” Of course, this isn’t the first time Chick-Fil-A has backed an anti-gay group, but the good news is the company still treats us slightly better than chickens.

2. Republicans will take over the U.S. House when it convenes at noon Eastern time today, and the Human Rights Campaign says anti-gay lawmakers will also now have a majority in the chamber. According to a report released by HRC this morning (screen grab above), anti-LGBT lawmakers now hold 225 seats, a gain of 53 from the last Congress. (Read more here.) On the bright side, the House will gain its fourth openly gay member — David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

3. Speaking of Rhode Island, the new governor there, Lincoln Chafee, is calling for marriage equality.

—  John Wright

TI will be presenting sponsor for Bloomin’ Ball

Steve Pace, executive director of AIDS Interfaith Network, has announced that Texas Instruments has signed on as presenting sponsor of AIN’s annual spring fundraising party, The Bloomin’ Ball: Sowing Seeds of Hope.

Pace said this marks the first major sponsorship for Bloomin’ Ball, but he noted that TI has long been a benefactor for the AIDS services organization, having contributed about $300,000 to AIN since 2003.

Andy Smith, director of corporate philanthropy at TI, said, “TI is a company that believes strongly in inclusion and giving back to the community. Proceeds from the Bloomin’ Ball benefit the programs of AIN, which literally change lives and provide clients with help and hope.”

The 2011 Bloomin’ Ball is scheduled for May 7, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, with Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld, both of whom work at TI, as co-chairs, and Tim and Thom DeWitt as honorary co-chairs. Sponsorships and tickets are available online at AIDSInterfaithNetwork.org.

—  admin