First Ward Chicago Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno came out firing Sunday morning following statements made to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee by Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-fil-A, contradictory to what was thought to be an agreement of conduct regarding anti-gay marriage positions issued last week.
In his six paragraph statement, Moreno said: "Dan Cathy decided to make a PUBLIC statement to Mike Huckabee that, at the least, muddied the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A and, at the worst, contradicted the documents and promises Chick-fil-A made to me and the community earlier this month. Since Mr. Cathy made a PUBLIC statement, I am PUBLICY asking him to confirm and support what I was told and shown by his company representatives.
"For the FIRST TIME in the company's history the company wrote and distributed a document to all of its employees titled, "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are" that guarantees that the company and its employees will "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect- regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
"I am asking him to PUBLICLY confirm and support a letter that was voluntarily given to me by his company executives earlier this year that states the future behavior of Chick-fil-A's not for profit arm, The WinShape Foundation. The letter states that, "The WinShape Foundation is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas." We were told that these organizations included groups that politically work against the rights of gay and lesbian people.
"I am also asking him to PUBLICLY confirm and support what Chick-fil-A executives voluntarily told and confirmed to me earlier this month-- that Chick-fil-A, and its not for profit arm WinShape, in 2012 has not and will not donate to entities with political agendas, including organizations that politically work against the rights of gay and lesbian people.
"Mr. Cathy continues to not confirm to the press what his company executives have told and showed me. This is disturbing. Since Mr. Cathy wants to confuse people, he needs to publicly confirm the three components described above, which allowed us to move forward. I am simply asking Mr. Cathy to confirm statements and documents that HIS company executives provided to me. It is pretty simple, Mr. Cathy. Do you acknowledge and support the policies that your executives outlined to me in writing or do you not? Yes or no? If not, Chick Fil A is a business that practices irresponsible, and potentially illegal, business standards.
"Perhaps Mr. Cathy felt that he could make these public statements to Mike Huckabee because I had provided a letter of support for his restaurant to the City of Chicago earlier this week. I provided this letter based on the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A. I still need to introduce legislation to make the Chick-fil-A in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago a reality. I will wait to see what Mr. Cathy's next PUBLIC statement is, and reflect on that statement before moving forward with appropriate legislation," Moreno concluded.
The statement, released by Matthew Bailey, Director of Legislative Affairs and Communications for Ald. Moreno, follows events of last week and a summer long battle between conservative activists and groups, Chick-fil-A, and gay rights groups pushing for marriage equality.
Last Wednesday, Chicago Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) said that he had written assurances
from Chick-fil-A's Senior Dir. of Real Estate that donations to anti-gay causes had ceased.
In an interview with ChicagoPride.com, The Civil Rights Agenda
executive director Anthony Martinez confirmed the agreement.
Moreno and TCRA began their talks with Chick-fil-A in January of this year, after Martinez heard about the plans to move into the First Ward. Moreno was receptive to TCRA's concerns about the restaurant chain's history, Martinez said.
With the agreement Moreno, who had previously refused to allow the Atlanta-based chain to locate in his Northwest Side ward, said he would reverse his decision
Last Thursday, the Advocate
reported that Cathy tweeted a photo of himself participating in a bike ride that supported the Marriage and Family Foundations, a charitable organization identified as having opposed same-sex marriage.
"In the best case, we hope that this is a road-bump in what is typically a long process. In the worst case, they have lied and distorted their intentions. Only time will tell," Martinez said shortly after
Last Friday, Conservative former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee issued a statement
on his website denying that Chick-fil-A has changed their position on funding anti-gay marriage groups.
"There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect", Cathy told Huckabee
. "Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been."
Complicating matters, Moreno has not released the written statement from Chick-fil-A because of an agreement with the company not to do so. Moreno has not responded to requests for comment.
Rick Garcia, policy advisor for TCRA, told the Windy City Times
that he has spent more time on the phone trying to convince reporters of the veracity of the story than he has talking about the issue itself.
"Chick-fil-A wants to have their chicken and it, too," he said
Garcia stood by Moreno and TCRA's version of events, telling the Windy City Times
that Chick-fil-A deceived the alderman. Related:Chick-fil-A's agreements "not an end game"(ChicagoPride.com)On the Web:Reports of Chick-fil-A victory called into question(Windy City Times)