ATLANTA - Chick-fil-A has released a new statement on its controversial same-sex marriage stand, saying the company's corporate giving has been "mischaracterized."
The debate resurfaced when a Chicago Alderman announced that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop making donations to anti-gay groups.
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Alderman Joe Moreno announced he would block Chick-fil-A's efforts to open a restaurant in Chicago, but changed his stance after discussions with company executives.
"We have a new path," Moreno says in a written statement. "In my last meeting with company executives, I corroborated when they told me in January, that donations to anti-gay groups have ceased."
Chick-fil-A has not addressed its donations to specific groups, but in a statement posted on the company's Facebook page, Chick-fil-A is steering clear of politics.
"Chick-fil-A's giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages," the statement reads. "We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas."
On its Facebook page, Chick-fil-A provides a link to a document sent to its employees titled "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are." The document states that the company's tradition is to "treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect - regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender."
"It's the first time they've stated in writing to their team members that they will respect and treat everyone with dignity even based on sexual orientation," said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of Chicago's Civil Rights Agenda.
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's statements in opposition to same-sex marriages sparked protests as well as an outpouring of support. Groups supporting same-sex marriages vowed to boycott the Atlanta based restaurant, while Cathy's supporters held a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" that sparked record sales.
Now, some of the very people who supported the restaurant are upset over what they perceive as the company caving to pressure.
"We stood by you and you turned your back on us and God," one woman wrote on Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.
Others who opposed Chick-fil-A say they've had a change of heart.
"I've started eating your chicken again," one man writes.
The company could break ground on a new restaurant in Chicago as early as next month.