(Editor's note: PFLAG National -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- is the nation's original family and ally organization,
and the largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends and allies of LGBT people. It issued this statement regarding the 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 HERE.