Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ donations cannot be ignored

Standing against Chick-fil-A’s annual contributions to discriminatory foundations is more important than being able to enjoy their chicken nuggets.


by Sophia Durone, Breaking News Editor

For the past seven years, there has only one fast food chain I would break my vow of pescetarianism for: Chick-fil-A. Only a three minute drive away from my house, Chick-fil-A’s delicious chicken nuggets and fries have been all too accessible for me to deny. I have notoriously managed to work a Chick-fil-A run into even the most undeserving of days, including multiple times when my family has ordered from another fast food chain for dinner. Simply put, Chick-fil-A was something I thought I could never live without. That was, until I made the decision to align my spendings with my values and stop ignoring the corporation’s annual million-dollar donations to anti-LGBTQ foundations.

In 2012, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Casey stated he was “guilty as charged” of supporting the “biblical definition of the family” in an interview with Baptist Press. Shortly after, it was revealed that the corporation donated over $1.9 million to historically anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2010. One particularly discriminatory foundation financially supported by Chick-fil-A was Exodus International, which claimed to “serve people affected by homosexuality” by using conversion therapy before it was permanently shut down in 2013. Learning of this donation left me especially shocked. Were my cookies and cream milkshakes really supporting the practice of brainwashing LGBTQ individuals? However, after facing nationwide backlash, Chick-fil-A later declared they would “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and the political arena.” Yet, according to the corporation’s 2017 tax filings, Chick-fil-A donated upwards of $1.8 million to another set of anti-LGBTQ foundations despite their public apology five years prior.

These numbers did not only invite much-deserved backlash however. Former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee encouraged consumers to support Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1, 2012 to “affirm a business whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse.” On that day, the corporation celebrated record sales. Chick-fil-A not only slyly donated to anti-LGBTQ foundations behind closed doors for countless years but publicly celebrated profiting off discriminatory principles.

Part of me still wishes I could innocently enjoy an eight-piece nugget as if I were simply not aware of the company’s immorality. However, I believe that knowledge is power when it comes to a business’ ethics. Chick-fil-A cannot be an exception to this rule just because they arguably have the best signature dipping sauce in the country. We must choose think beyond short-lived contentment from immediate transactions to recognize the practices we are actually funding.

This matter goes beyond financial support. While I would not typically go to the extreme of labeling a lunch outing a political stance, I believe that it is nothing less than such in Chick-fil-A’s case. By supporting the corporation despite their skewed values, I feel we not only broadcast that discrimination is acceptable for a business in 2019, but also make room for new discriminatory corporations to take root. Choosing to act on this realization allows me to remain politically consistent throughout all aspects of my life. How am I to speak out against homophobia in my community only to knowingly support an anti-LGBTQ foundation the next time I have a french fry craving?

The good news is that there are just about 247,191 fast food establishments in the U.S. alone, so there is truly no reason to cling to one that happens to be extremely, extremely discriminatory. Wanting something salty? Head over to McDonald’s for a hash brown to help them maintain their $38 million annual donations to families coping with childhood illness. What about something sweet? Starbucks consistently contributes almost $7 million to supporting underprivileged youth, community service projects and access to clean water. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with a substitute for Chick-fil-A’s perfectly crispy chicken nuggets, so hopefully their outright homophobic donations will be enough for you to swallow next time you’re craving their food.  

Please do not take this as a personal attack on anyone and everyone who has walked through the quad with a Chick-fil-A lemonade. Rather, I aim to stress the importance of holding yourself accountable for conflicting ideologies and actions. After all, speaking out against LGBTQ discrimination in our community but failing to proceed in the same manner when it comes down to chicken is simply not activism.