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Civil Rights Group Honors Chick-fil-A CEO, Draws Ire

By Trudy Ring

The Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s Equal Opportunity Day Dinner and Gala honorees last night included one controversial pick — Dan Cathy, the antigay CEO of Chick-fil-A.

Honorees at the civil rights group’s annual event also included Congressman John Lewis, the attorneys for Trayvon Martin’s family, and several others, but it was the choice of Cathy that drew the most attention, in light of his statements against marriage equality and his and the Atlanta-based company’s donations to antigay groups.

“Yes, Dan Cathy has since made amends with gay rights activist groups and has stopped donating to organizations that are overtly anti-gay, but his position on gay marriage remains the same,” wrote Atlanta LGBT publication Fenuxe. “And the corporation is seemingly still donating large sums to organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which both promote marriage in the ‘biblical sense’ and are strongly and openly opposed to same-sex marriage. So, Chick-fil-A has basically taken steps to make themselves look better because it was hurting their business … but nothing really changed.”

Cathy has said the nation is “inviting God’s judgment” by allowing same-sex marriage, and upon the Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, he tweeted that it was a “sad day for our nation.”

In light of the uproar over the choice of Cathy, who received the Urban League’s Community Empowerment Award, the group issued a statement listing his and the company’s charitable deeds, such as support for youth empowerment and financial literacy programs, services for homeless or exploited young people, and organizations for survivors of sexual abuse.

The Urban League closed its statement by saying, “Please be assured that the Urban League of Greater Atlanta supports and works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. This includes the recent Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was passed out of the U.S. Senate this week.”
 

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