Chicago, IL —
The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) working with cooperating attorneys and on behalf of claimants, filed multiple complaints Thursday against Chick-fil-A with The Illinois Department of Human Rights.
According to a statement released by the Chicago-based LGBT rights advocacy group, the complaints allege that Chick-fil-A's "intolerant corporate culture" violates Illinois law, specifically Section 5-102(B) of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits a "public accommodation" from making protected classes "unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable."
"In our current high speed media and social media environment, Chick-fil-A has announced and caused to be published, to hundreds of millions of people, that LGBT people are unacceptable and objectionable," said Jacob Meister, Governing Board President of The Civil Rights Agenda and the attorney who filed the complaint. "They have made it clear the lives of LGBT individuals are unacceptable to them and that same-gender families are unwelcome at Chick-fil-A."
The Civil Rights Agenda began working with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Chick-fil-A in February. TCRA made recommendations in order to bring Chick-fil-A's corporate policies in-line with the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The suggestions included: an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policy, diversity and cultural competency training, parity in employee benefits that included benefits for couples in civil unions and domestic partnerships, appropriate and respectful advertising in the LGBT community and transgender inclusive health benefits.
"When we began working with Chick-fil-A I thought this would be a quiet matter; working with them to adopt anti-discrimination policy and diversity training" said Meister, "I had no idea the depth and conviction of their bigotry."
According to TCRA, the dialogue between their group and Chick-fil-A stalled once the news of Dan Cathy's comments broke. "I spoke to a Senior Vice President the week before Dan Cathy's comments hit the press. Since then, we have not been able to get a hold of anyone at Chick-fil-A," stated Meister.
TCRA said it will continue working with other national organizations that are looking into the legal ramifications of Chick-fil-A giving millions of dollars to recognized "hate groups," as well as information that Chick-fil-A has practiced segregation prior to the implementation of The Civil Rights Act.
TCRA submitted the documents to Illinois Department of Human Rights Aug. 2., a day after Chicago Republicans filed a complaint against Alderman Moreno.