A Chick-fil-A restaurant is donating food to a gay pride picnic in Iowa.
A Coralville outpost of the popular fast food chain is donating 200 sandwiches and side dishes to the Iowa City Pride Fest’s picnic on June 19, KCRG reports.
The move is surprising, considering some Chick-fil-A executives’ history of hostility toward the gay community.
The restaurant’s owner, Adam Donius, agreed to this arrangement, according to the report.
“We offered him different ways he could contribute and be a part of our bridge, help us build community,” Iowa City Pride Chair, Jewell Amos, told KCRG. “He said he totally believes in building community. So he was like, ‘sure.'”
Chick-fil-A has earned a reputation in the past few years as a homophobic institution, and there has certainly been tension between the company and the gay community. Equality Rights revealed in 2011 that the chain had donated more than $US2 million to anti-gay rights organisations two years earlier.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy publicly discussed his opposition to same-sex marriage in 2012. He told The Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to his stance on how a family should be constructed. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said.
The chain is known for its roots in Christian values; it is famously not open on Sundays.
Cathy continued to steadfastly cling to his platform about “biblical families,” and in June 2013 things took a turn for the worse when he deleted a homophobic tweet after the Supreme Court struck down the Defence of Marriage Act. The Wall Street Journal reported that he called the monumental event a “sad day.” Chick-fil-A attempted to remain in the good graces of the public by releasing a statement that read:
Dan Cathy, like everyone in this country, has his own views on this topic, but Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone … He realised 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.
Cathy began to try to repair his image in 2014. He told The Atlanta Journal Constitution [via Time] that “every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by [recognising] the mistakes that you make … And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.”
The partnership between one Iowa Chick-fil-A and a Pride festival may help alleviate any remaining hostility.
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