As Brands Praise Equal Rights, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy Keeps Up with Anti-LGBT Sentiment

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This week, much of the social media-verse was rejoicing: praise for SCOTUS and relief to see DOMA go. In a month-long celebration of Pride, brands small and large made their support known. 

“Brands from a wide variety of industries have found that it’s a smart business decision to stand not only with LGBT people, but with the majority of Americans who support gay and lesbian couples,” Rich Ferraro, VP Communications of GLAAD, told brandchannel.

“Unlike years ago when companies were boycotted over pro-LGBT initiatives, today companies that actively support anti-gay causes are being met with vocal disapproval from the gay community as well as their friends and families, while brands like Delta, Johnson & Johnson and Wells Fargo are building loyal consumer bases simply by being inclusive.”[more]

While more companies are supporting the LGBT community everyday, there will always be the proverbial ‘thorn in the side.’ For GLAAD and the LGBT community, that thorn is Dan Cathy, President and COO of fast food giant Chick-fil-A. Cathy, an openly conservative, deeply-Christian family values espouser, extends his personal morals to those of his QSR chain—and has long butted heads with the crusade for equal rights. 

Shortly following Wednesday’s ruling that deemed DOMA unconstitutional and nullified Proposition 8, Cathy, who has a track record for exhibiting his anti-gay sentiment through public statements and social media, tweeted, “Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.” 

While the post was spotted by a few keen-eyed Twitter users and journalists, the tweet was later deleted, though it is still viewable via tweet tracker Topsy

Just last year, Cathy came under fire for saying that his company supported the “biblical definition of the family unit,” and in a second interview, he said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'” The comments were followed up by pockets of protests, including a “kiss-in” organized by GLAAD on the company’s dedicated day. 

However, evidenced by the deletion of the DOMA tweet, its looks like Cathy may have learned to keep his personal opinions mum, and more importantly, seperate from those of his national franchise. 

“In a telling display of the restaurant’s identity crisis on LGBT issues, the tweet was quickly deleted,” notes ThinkProgress. Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander said Cathy “has his own views,” but “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great tasting food and genuine hospitality.” 

On Thursday, the company circulated an almost apologetic statement from Cathy regarding the tweet, the Huffington Post reports. Chick-fil-A spokesperson John Johnston said Cathy “realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience”—hence the deleted tweet.

Cathy wasn’t the only public figure to speak out against the SCOTUS decision. In fact, GLAAD assembled a sample of comments from pro-DOMA, anti-LGBT advocates. 

However, many major brands celebrated the SCOTUS decision in their own, unique way. 

General Mills created a Pride campaign, #LuckyToBe, with McCann New York. The brand added two new rainbow marshmallows to its Lucky Charms cereal, and launched a dedicated website that hosts link-ups to the Twitter campaign as well as fan-submitted photos. 

Nike released a #BeTrue collection, proceeds of which will benefit the LGBT Sports Coalition, and is hosting the 2nd Annual LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, whose mission is to “End bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes in sports at every level by 2016.” 

YouTube, in celebration of Pride month, posted a video touting its #ProudtoLove campaign, encouraging users to share their love on the site. 

Marriott’s President and CEO Arne Sorenson issued this statement: “I was so pleased when DOMA was overturned. I join all our LGBT associates, guests and allies for equality in celebrating this historic milestone, a fitting capstone to Pride Month.” The site turned its dedicated gay and lesbian travel page into the pro-marriage rights red equal sign. 

Bud Light celebrated on Facebook with a symbolic photo. 

Grey Poupon posted on its Facebook: “June is National Pride month. Though the festivities technically only last a month, we recommend celebrating all year – because Pride and good taste never go out of season.”

American Apparel released their first ever bi/transgender Pride shirt. “LGBT Pride is something we care deeply about, and American Apparel is committed to this issue for the long haul,” said Dov Charney, founder and CEO. 

AT&T’s “Live Proud” campaign will benefit The Trevor Project, the “leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.”

Wells Fargo joined companies and brands whose employees recorded video testimonials in the “It Gets Better” movement to encourage LGBT youths with its own It Gets Better video, below. “It’s important for a company as visible as Wells Fargo to help shed light on the progress of the LGBT community. Our goal this year is to empower and uplift by celebrating the fact that it does get better,” stated Mark Ng, the brand’s LGBT Segment Manager. 

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