Rubio’s ‘personal view’ defense of Chick-fil-A is bogus. Here are the receipts.

It's not just the owner's 'personal view.' It's the nearly $1.8 million in foundation donations.

A Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Dedham, MA
A Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Dedham, MA. CREDIT: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

Earlier this month, Twitter’s CEO came under fire for giving free advertising on his feed to Chick-fil-A — apologizing a day later for talking up one of America’s most notoriously anti-LGBTQ companies and saying he “forgot about their background.”

Fox News screamed that this “sparked another round of backlash, this time from more conservative social media users, who questioned what the CEO of Twitter meant by ‘their background.'” And Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who in 2016  cited the terror attack at a gay Orlando nightclub as his reason to run for Senate again  after vowing not to do so but has consistently opposed LGBTQ rights, went ballistic.


“This lunacy has gone too far,” he wrote, claiming that Twitter’s Jack Dorsey had been “bullied” into apologizing for “patronizing” a company whose owners hold a “personal view taught by mainstream Christianity.”

But while Rubio’s tweetstorm claims that the ongoing criticism and boycott by the “twitter mob” of a company “owned by Christians” is purely about the owner’s “personal view,” recently released tax documents demonstrate that the company’s actions continue to be pro-discrimination.


As first noted by blogger Tim Peacock, Chick-fil-A’s tax-exempt foundation filed its annual IRS Form 990 a few months ago and it shows that company continues to support rabidly anti-LGBTQ organizations.

The form, which covers the year 2016, reveals that the Chick-fil-A Foundation — almost all of which is funded directly from corporate money — gave about $1.8 million to three non-profits known for discriminatory activities: the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Anderson Youth Home, and Salvation Army. This is actually a significant increase compared to its 2015 totals to the same groups.

More than $1,500,000 of that went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and its local affiliates. The group seeks to use athletes and coaches to spread Christian teachings and impart an anti-LGBTQ message. All those who work for the organization must adhere to a strict “sexual purity” policy, barring any “homosexual acts,” even for married couples. The group’s Campus Playbook teaches young leaders that “God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within
the context of marriage, that God created man and woman to complement and complete each other. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human

More than $130,000 went to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Georgia-based “Christian residential home for troubled youth.” They teach boys the dangerous myth that “sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children, mostly in the alleged ‘safety’ of their own homes has produced all kinds of evil throughout the culture to include the explosion of homosexuality in the last century,” that “homosexual behavior and lifestyle” are lawlessness, and that same-sex marriage is “rage against Jesus Christ and His values.”

More than $146,000 went to the Salvation Army. The religious organization has a lengthy record of opposition to same-sex marriage equality, anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination, and promoting exemptions from non-discrimination ordinances. Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, the ministry boasts on its website’s “The Salvation Army and the LGBT Community,” page that it adheres “to all relevant employment laws, providing domestic partner benefits accordingly.” In other words, they have no non-discrimination protections of their own and unless you are in one of the minority of states explicitly bar anti-LGBTQ discrimination, you might be out of luck.

Five years ago, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy vowed to stay out of the debate on LGBTQ rights and to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.” Yet the company has still not adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy, still receives a 0 on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality scorecard, and still gives generously to anti-LGBTQ causes.


While Rubio is trying to build his fundraising list by “standing by Chick-fil-A,” those who do not support discrimination might want to think twice before standing with him.