Chick-fil-A, a well-known anti-gay and religious fast food chain, has made amends with one gay rights leader after the controversy that erupted last year.
CEO Dan Cathy and Executive Director of Campus Pride Shane Windmeyer are now "friends," after Cathy took the time to understand Windmeyer's concerns and stopped giving money to anti-gay groups.
"Yes, after months of personal phone calls, text messages and in-person meetings, I am coming out in a new way, as a friend of Chick-fil-A's president and COO Dan Cathy, and I am nervous about it," Windmeyer said. "I have come to know him and Chick-fil-A in ways that I would not have thought possible when I first started hearing from LGBT students about their concerns over the chicken chain's giving practices."
When Cathy spoke out last year against same-sex marriage, a boycott broke out by gay rights activists. He said he gave nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010.
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Groups like Campus Pride planned boycotts and protests against the chain, while conservatives showed their support of the chain's donations by holding a "boycott" and increasing their sales.
But instead of continuing to fund anti-gay organizations, Cathy decided to stop donating to groups like Family Research Council, Eagle Forum and Exodus International.
Though the chain still gives to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, they don't give to groups that lobby against it.
Cathy still holds deep beliefs about same-sex marriage, but Windmeyer appreciates that he reached out to him to better understand the situation.
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"I will not change my views, and Dan will likely not change his, but we can continue to listen, learn and appreciate 'the blessing of growth' that happens when we know each other better," Windmeyer said. "I hope that our nation's political leaders and campus leaders might do the same."