Friday, August 3, 2012



Contact: Liz Owen |> | (202) 467-8180 ext. 214


WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)—the nation's original family and ally organization, and the largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends, and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—issued the following statement today regarding the recent Chick-fil-A controversy:

“While we find his beliefs and actions to be deeply damaging, PFLAG National supports Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s right to freely express those beliefs, religious or otherwise. And no matter how destructive the action, or how much we disagree with it, we support his right to funnel profits from his company into that company’s charitable arm (WinShape) which subsequently donates dollars—over five million of them and counting—to groups that openly work to deny basic rights to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones.

But let’s be clear: It is also the right of millions of LGBT people and their families, friends, and allies to use this same right to free speech to protest that position, and to educate the public as to just where the revenue from Mr. Cathy’s business is going.

Dan Cathy may say that his company has never discriminated against an LGBT person, but WinShape’s massive financial contributions to organizations that advocate for the passage of laws that would make such discrimination legal (or in some cases, keep discrimination legal) say otherwise. WinShape has funded numerous organizations that oppose efforts to protect LGBT youth from bullying in schools, support “ex-gay” groups, and bankroll efforts to allow international laws enabling the execution of LGBT people to stand. Educating people as to this reality isn’t about crushing freedom of religion— it is about exercising the right to free speech…just as Mr. Cathy has done.

For many years, anti-equality activists have used boycotts and protests against corporations to voice their opposition to LGBT-inclusive practices. Ironically, when Americans who support equality use this same strategy, it is called discrimination. As this issue continues to be discussed, PFLAG members everywhere will continue to exercise their right to free speech and dialogue, sharing the truth about this situation: Chicken, speech, religion…these are simply a distraction from the real issue: a well-funded campaign against equality for all people.

On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of families, allies, and LGBT people represented by PFLAG, PFLAG National President David M. Horowitz welcomes the opportunity to open a dialogue with Mr. Cathy about these issues.”


Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th anniversary year, PFLAG has more than 368 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, please visit


kandisnz said...

Dear PFLAG: While I appreciate that you THINK this is about free speech. It isn't. It's about Mr. Cathy financially supporting HATE GROUPS such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. If it were merely a free speech issue...there would be no issue. Mr. Cathy is free to use his money as he sees fit, but as an American Lesbian, I am free to not put any of my own money in his pocket.

Liz Owen said...

Yes, we agree! It's NOT about free speech, he has a right to exercise it, but it's a distraction from the real issue: millions of dollars funneled from Chick-fil-A profits into a charitable organization that then funds anti-equality groups with destructive missions and policies. Thanks so much for your comment!

Rebecca said...

Kandisnz- Did you actually read the article or just stop after the first 2 paragraphs???

NoraA said...

We also have the right to not eat his food, and make sure everyone we know doesn't spend even a penny in his restaurants.

Phyllis P. said...

I am so very proud to be a PFLAG member. This is the best statement of fact, combined with civility, that I have read during this whole thing. What is troubling to me is that 2 out of the 4 comments that are already here, it seems that the people did not actually READ what was written. Thank you so much for taking a stand and showing people how it's done. I hope more people will read and comprehend this article. I know I'm spreading it around to all my friends.

Anonymous said...

The problem here with PFLAG's position and anyone who supports it is that Chick fil A has been denied the right to do business in certain cities because of his (Dan Cathy's) religious beliefes. I live in New Orleans and I can only imagine what would happen and how the LGBT community would respond if the Mayor suddenly said that all the LGBT businnesses in the French Quarter were having their business permits revoked because it offended him. This is just another case of double-standard. You do have the right to make known where the money at CFA is spent, and you do have the right to eat elsewhere, BUT nobody has the right to tell a person they cannot do business in "their city" because they hold to a different religious conviction on marriage. That is what the real isssue is here...and you are is hate speech...only it is coming from those who oppose the religious freedoms of Christians.

Softballheart said...

Torry Jennings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Torry Jennings said...

I very much agree with everything that all the LGBT Organizations are for but i just would like to ask that as we all protest and do the various things we are doing to educate people on this subject that we are still respectful and kind to those who are working in these stores as we need to realize many of them are probably on our side but have worked there prior to this issue coming to their attention and are not faced with paying their bills or standing for their beliefs which must be a hard decision. So i just ask that we all think about this as we make decisions at these stores. Remember they are not the ones whos opinion we are against. Yes some of them may agree with him but not all of them and they are not the ones we are fighting against. Thanks With Love!

Michelle Call said...

I've been thinking about this a lot - and I have come to the conclusion that this is not really about Chik-Fil-A - but rather about whether we, as a society, want to allow religious fundamentalism to shape our views on civil liberties. I know I don't.

Anonymous said...

It should be obvious that the moron politicians threatening to block Chick Fil A from entering their cities, who politicized the other moron's (Cathy) statements, are at fault. And resulted in that huge turnout of "support".

Overreaching to extend BIG GOVERNMENT interference is always going to result in pushback by America - at least for now. Until the scale is tipped and more people are taking money from the government than producing and contributing to GDP.

Most people do not care about chicken, Cathy or "spreading the gospel". People DO care about tyrannical politicians who have the audacity to interfere with citizens' constitutional rights to create a business where the market demands one, and WORSE to edict that certain foods like SUGAR are illegal (NYC Bloomberg). BACK OFF and stop crossing the line into tyranny. It becomes the "last straw" of many "last straws" that fuel citizens' anger.

You realize that local governments have even instituted government "inspectors" who go through student's lunches and replace them with "approved foods" and tell the children that their PARENTS don't know how to feed them properly, right? All funded by federal tax dollars. The entire chicken debacle really had nothing to do with marriage equality and fueled the obvious stance that people take when government gets too egotistical and power grabs beyond it's constitutional pervue.

Marriage equality is the unfortunate victim of The Left's elected politicians' ongoing disengenous false rhetoric engineered for control of the citizens who put them in office and their power grabs.

And it didn't help that Obamacare was politicized as "not a tax" to the voters then presented to the Supreme Court as a TAX, and upheld as such. People are paying ATTENTION and marriage equality has taken a couple steps backwards.

Of course, with so many states having laws prohibiting equality, it is also sadly obvious that only the courts will resolve the issue, never the voters, until this generation takes over politics through attrition.

David S. Fishback said...

I agree that the mayors who have asserted that Chick-Fil-A should not be allowed in their cities are mistaken. We certainly would be opposed to a conservative governor or mayor seeking to keep out, or drive out, our corporate allies because they help advance equal rights for LGBT people.

It is tempting to choose up sides and shout at each other across a chasm, our side on one hill, the opposition on the other. But what we need to do is to find ways to talk with each other. The progress we have made in recent years has much to do with the conversations we have all been having with our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

In my role as advocacy chair for Metro DC PFLAG, I was interviewed yesterday on the local Fox outlet. See

The first link to video has a small snippet. The link to the second link is the longer, live interview.

Anonymous said...

This is a losing argument for everyone involved. I'll say it again, but differently: Everyone loses.

Why? It's actually very simple and I've yet to hear a single person make these two very important points.

First, let me say this: Whether you agree or disagree, Cathey can say what he wants and he can spend his money as he wants, as long as he doesn't break the law. PFLAG and LGBT can say what they want and they can spend their money however they want, as long as it doesn't break the law.

When politicians state they will not allow a business permits to operate, or state they will not allow a business into their cities, because of a practiced religion or a spoken word that's protected by the constitution. Imagine if the bible belt said, "no more Starbucks because...blah, blah, blah." That's downright scary.

OK, the two most important points that have been completely lost in all of this: Chick-fil-A is a franchise and these businesses are owned by franchisses. They didn't make this statement and many don't support the statement.

The employees that work in these franchises, didn't make this statement and most don't support it.

Do you think Cathey is being hurt by this? Nope. not at all. You're hurting the innocent owners and employees.

If you want to protest, go to Chick-fil-A headquarters and picket.

How do I know this? I'll let you guess.


Chris H. said...

@Anonymous @ August 3, 2012 6:15 PM:

I think people are taking the actions of certain government officials in some cities across the US out of context. If you spend a few minutes and listen to what they are saying, I think you'd understand a bit more.

Our federal, state, county and city governments all have sets of rules that they use to make a determination as to allowing businesses to reside certain places. A lot of cities and counties do not permit businesses which practice discrimination (aside from businesses which are geared toward a specific group of people - ex. a gynecology practice) to transact business within their territorial limits.

I believe it's important that our city officials speak out when issues like this come up. As the CEO of a privately held corporation, Mr. Cathy represents the brand. And what's almost more appalling, is that his statements reflect poorly upon his employees as well. Some of whom are part of the LGBT community.

So, I encourage you to take a step backwards from what is front and center in the media, and look at the picture as a whole, or from wider view. The issues here on both sides of the fence are deep rooted in our culture. It's a sad fact, but these shenanigans are nothing more than smoke and mirrors while something far more important takes place.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say I appreciate the intelligent and hate-free exchange I've read here. I have gay and lesbian friends and my stepdaughter confesses to be bi in her journal... I am a Christian wanting to love and support my friends and family and anti-Christian hate is so prevalent today that I was nervous about becoming involved with PFLAG

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