Chick-fil-A Ceases Anti-gay Donations, Clarifies Stance on Gay Customers & Employees

September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A. Alderman Moreno has confirmed that 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. The Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A. Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.

In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations 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.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”

Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states that as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”

via The Civil Rights Agenda.

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No negative impacts from repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ study reveals – U.S. News

The repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011 has not had a negative impact on force readiness, recruitment or retention, contrary to predictions that it would, according to a new study published Monday.

The policy, implemented in 1993 while then President Bill Clinton was pushing for openness in the military, was repealed on Sept. 20 last year. Before its enactment and the repeal, service members had said having openly gay troops would harm the military.

But the study by the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined those concerns were unfounded. The research by nine scholars, some professors at military academies, began six months after the policy (known as DADT) ended and wrapped up near the one-year mark.

The scholars said they interviewed opponents and advocates of the repeal, as well as active duty service members who are gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research. They also reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter saying the repeal would undermine the military and eventually got interviews with 13 officers

via No negative impacts from repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ study reveals – U.S. News.

John Carroll Says When Enough Is Enough Then Get Out and Shout | Advocate.com

If elected, Romney-Ryan will maintain DOMA and likely advocate a federal amendment against same-sex marriage. LGBT people could then permanently lose out on the 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status. We are not just talking about the 179 tax provisions that take marital status into account, but limitations affecting Social Security benefits, health benefits, tax credits, estate taxes, residential sale benefits, family medical leave, immigration laws, Cobra benefits, and employee benefits are also at risk.

Romney-Ryan will ensure you are kept a second-class citizen by also denying you protection from discrimination in the workplace, protection from hate crimes, and by keeping you from adopting children. Basically you’ll get screwed, and I very much doubt they’ll call you in the morning.

They will, however, gladly take your tax money, ask you to work as hard as you can — as you always have — and continue to make this amazing country the best that it can be, just as the LGBT community has always done. And in return, they’ll give you a mere fraction of the inalienable rights that you deserve.

Take everything, yet give nothing. That doesn’t sound like the “Christian values” Romney speaks of, but more like a form of bondage — and not the good kind.

via John Carroll Says When Enough Is Enough Then Get Out and Shout | Advocate.com.

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Men less supportive of gay marriage: poll

A new opinion poll suggests almost two-thirds of Australians support same-sex marriage but there’s a clear gender divide with men generally less keen on the idea than women.

The survey, released on Monday, comes just days after the Tasmanian government announced plans to legalise gay marriage.

The Galaxy poll shows 64 per cent of people believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry – up two percentage points from February.

But only 58 per cent of men back changing the law compared with 70 per cent of women.

The poll was commissioned by lobby group Australian Marriage Equality.

“Support for marriage equality has risen to its highest point ever because Australians are increasingly realising that marriage equality will strengthen relationships, families and marriage,” spokesman Alex Greenwich said in a statement

via Men less supportive of gay marriage: poll.

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Letter from Gay Son to Romney-Supporting Dad: “My Dad Was Going to Vote for Romney, Until I Wrote Him This Letter” : politics

Dad,

I saw your recent post on Facebook “liking” Mitt Romney and had to write. (Admittedly, I’m still getting used to my 66 year-old father using Facebook, but given what I’m about to write, I assure you I’m quite supportive of it.)

Though your public support for Romney doesn’t surprise me, given how open you’ve been about your dislike of President Obama, it does bother me. Since coming out to you and mom nineteen years ago, I’ve watched you vote for the Republican candidates in every major race. Save for the occasional mealtime argument or sarcastic Fox News barb, I’ve held my tongue, despite the hurt and anger that came from watching you vote for a party that has made a sport out of demonizing gay and lesbian people, like me, for political gain. I did so because I never had a solid enough argument that the Democratic Party was wholly different. They often stopped short of institutionalizing discrimination of gays, but were sadly lax on standing on principle and advocating for its eradication. Until now.

For the first time in our nation’s history, a U.S. President and his party have publicly stated that gays and lesbians are equal citizens and should be such under the law. I know you’re aware that Obama believes gays and lesbians, like me, should have the rights and responsibilities of marriage and that the 2012 Democratic Party Platform will include marriage equality as one of its tenets. You will never know what it is to be gay in this world at this moment, but I’d bet at some point in your life you’ve known how it felt to have your essential worth validated by someone with authority. I can’t overstate the power of having my president and his party say to me, and the nation, that I am not less than, but equal to, and validate my inherent right to pursue my life with liberty and unimpeded happiness. Never before has this happened. So, never before have I made the argument that you should vote for the Democrat. But, today’s a new day.

Four months ago, I sat at my younger brother’s wedding and watched you well up, speaking publicly with pride for the man he’s become and the woman he chose. His life, though certain to have unexpected turns ahead, has a clear path, one available to him simply because of his sexual orientation at birth. Mine has never been so clear. Oftentimes, being gay feels like being a salmon swimming upstream. Our relationships aren’t supported by tradition or institution, any models we may have remain hidden, as openness invites derision, and the pressures to carve a life out with another person, minimally as equally affected by the ever-present fear, instilled in us from our earliest memories that we’re different and unlovable and bad, can often be too much to bear. And yet, not always. The resiliency of my community, in the face of such misunderstanding and hate, is astonishing and inspiring. They’ve taught me to think twice before underestimating the will of the human spirit in its slow march toward progress, whatever the circumstances.

I’m almost forty. Both of my younger brothers are married, enjoying all the rights and responsibilities of that government-issued status. Do you want that for me? Do you believe I should have someone beside me on life’s journey, legally recognized as my spouse, able to visit me in the hospital, able to make my end-of-life decisions, with whom I’m able to build a financially interdependent life? I have to believe you do. I have to believe you’re too good a man not to. Because if you don’t… If, like the candidate you’re supporting, you believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman, I feel sorry for us both: you, because it means you’re on the wrong side of history and your own son’s happiness and me, because it means my father does believe I’m “less than.”

In any other election, given any other choice, I’d stay quiet. If you, and others like you, wanted to believe the worst about Obama – a good man, trying to do good work – and vote against your interests (Romney’s tax and Medicare plans won’t help you), I’d shake my head in wonder and watch you do it anyway. But this isn’t any other election. This election presents a clear choice between two people whose policy beliefs directly affect the course of my life. Let me be clear: A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote against me. There is no argument to counter that fact.

You might want to argue that you’re not a single-issue voter, but when the single-issue is your own son’s equality under the law, I wouldn’t recommend that argument. You might want to argue that, because you live in New York State, your vote won’t ultimately matter since Obama will carry the state anyway. You’re correct. He will. In that way, I suppose, your vote won’t matter. But it matters to me. You might want to argue just because you don’t like the idea of your son telling you what you ought to do. But, whatever else, you know I’m a good man. It’s been said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing;” and I’m a good man who’s never been good at that.

Will I change your mind? I hope so. I’m sure Mom would tell me it’s a lost cause. And maybe she’s right. But that would be sad. Because it might be nice to one day have my father stand up at my wedding, realizing he helped make it happen.

Your Son

EDIT: My dad’s reply, in part: “I will honor your request because you are my son and I love you. I do support the democratic position on gay marriage…I hope this is a position that they really stand for and not just a political statement for votes.”

via Letter from Gay Son to Romney-Supporting Dad: “My Dad Was Going to Vote for Romney, Until I Wrote Him This Letter” : politics.

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Gay Couples Face Pressure to Have Children – NYTimes.com

Many gay men had resigned themselves to the idea that they would never be accepted by society as loving parents and assumed they would never have children. They grieved that loss and moved on, even as other gay men and lesbians fully embraced childless lives. So the questions can unearth bittersweet feelings and cause deep divisions within a couple over whether to have children at all, now that parenting among same-sex couples is becoming more common.

The process can be also daunting logistically and financially, as would-be parents wrestle with whether to adopt or use a surrogate. And once they have children, many same-sex couples still endure the inevitable criticism — spoken or unspoken — from those who remain uncomfortable with the notion of their being parents.

But support for same-sex parents is growing steadily among Americans. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in July and released last week found for the first time that a majority of people surveyed — 52 percent — said that gay men and lesbians should be allowed to adopt children, up from 46 percent in 2008 and 38 percent in 1999

via Gay Couples Face Pressure to Have Children – NYTimes.com.

Gay marriage generates $259 million in economic activity, says Mayor Bloomberg – NYPOST.com

That ringing isn’t just the sound of wedding bells since gay marriage became legal in New York — it’s also the sound of cash registers.

In the first year since gay marriage was passed into law in New York state, same-sex weddings have generated a $259 million economic bonanza for the city, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

“Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free,” said the mayor outside the city’s Marriage Bureau.

“And it has done that while also creating jobs and supporting our economy. In other words, it’s a win for everybody.”

The City Clerk said 7,184 of the 75,000 couples issued marriage licenses between July 25, 2011, and July 16, 2012, identified themselves as same-sex; 58,136 registered as opposite-sex; and 9,809 did not specify.

Using data from a survey of the newlyweds, officials estimated that the actual number of same-sex couples was closer to 8,200.

NYC & Co., which commissioned the survey, said same-sex couples spent an average of $9,039 on each wedding and generated $259 million in economic activity as well as $16 million in tax revenues.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/gay_matri_money_qQhKpnterCytpuTT15t30L#ixzz21vNFjtRD

via Gay marriage generates $259 million in economic activity, says Mayor Bloomberg – NYPOST.com.

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Google to fight homophobia with worldwide ‘Legalize Love’ campaign – Technolog on msnbc.com

Google is launching a campaign called “Legalize Love,” which will fight homophobia and lobby against legal oppression of homosexuals all over the globe.

Some details of the program were outlined by Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London on Saturday, reports Dot429 Magazine’s Anna Peirano.

via Google to fight homophobia with worldwide ‘Legalize Love’ campaign – Technolog on msnbc.com.

Bloomberg, Quinn Stand against DOMA | Backstory Blog | Human Rights Campaign

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are joining together against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The two are planning to file an amicus brief in support of Edith Windsor’s ongoing DOMA challenge, according to the Advocate.

The pair made the announcement at the mayor’s LGBT Pride Month reception earlier this week. Bloomberg said of DOMA: “We believe that DOMA is unconstitutional because it deprives married gay New Yorkers of equal protection of the laws, and we are filing a brief to support the case against it.”

Bloomberg, Quinn Stand against DOMA | Backstory Blog | Human Rights Campaign.

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