Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer revealed on the Huffington Post Monday that he and Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy are now friends. Windmeyer is gay, married, and advocates for LGBT college students, whereas Dan Cathy believes that same-sex marriage is “twisted up kind of stuff” and that those who support it are “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” Windmeyer claims that according to tax forms he exclusively has seen, Chick-fil-A was no longer funding anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council and ex-gay umbrella group Exodus International as of 2011. Therefore, Windmeyer explains that his organization has suspended its campaign against the anti-gay chicken company — which has franchises on many university campuses — because he believes that Cathy is developing a new understanding through their friendship:
Even as Campus Pride and so many in the community protested Chick-fil-A and its funding of groups like Family Research Council, Eagle Forum and Exodus International, the funding of these groups had already stopped. Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A could have noted this publicly earlier. Instead, they chose to be patient, to engage in private dialogue, to reach understanding, and to share proof with me when it was official. There was no “caving”; there were no “concessions.” There was, in my view, conscience.
This is why, after discussions with Dan and Chick-fil-A, Campus Pride suspended our campaign. Like Dan, we had faith. It took time to be proven publicly.
But Windmeyer fails to actually explain any concrete changes taking place at the company. The company’s donations to FRC and Exodus were piddling — no more than $1,000 in any given year — compared to the millions of dollars it apparently will continue to give to anti-gay organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Windmeyer’s arbitrary decision that this constitutes an improvement for the company cannot be substantiated until the 990 forms are publicly released. Even still, they represent the company’s giving in 2011 and bear no reflection on the public backlash it received this summer for Cathy’s anti-gay comments.
I joined a conversation with Windmeyer this afternoon on HuffPost Live, along with Jamie McGonnigal from TalkAboutEquality.com. I asked him to explain what had changed besides the end of the small donations, but he could offer no further details. Chick-fil-A is not ending the bulk of its anti-gay giving. Chick-fil-A is not implementing any LGBT-inclusive policies like nondiscrimination protections, of which it has none. And Dan Cathy is not apologizing for his vitriolic comments — in fact, he’s making no public comments of his own whatsoever. In other words, the company is doing nothing to improve its atrocious record on LGBT issues. Cathy’s opening mind for friendships with gay people is commendable, but does not justify Windmeyer’s blessing of Chick-fil-A franchises on college campuses in the face of protests from LGBT student groups.
Watch the conversation: