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Chick-fil-A Welcome In Chicago, Alderman Says, After Renewed Pledge Of Respect

Chicago Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, who led the opposition in his city to the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant there because of company President Dan Cathy's outspoken stand against same-sex marriage, now says he won't stand in the fast-food chain's way.

The Chicago Tribune reports that according to Moreno, "the restaurant has agreed to include a statement of respect for all sexual orientations in an internal document and promised that its not-for-profit arm would not contribute money to groups that oppose gay marriage."

We asked Chick-fil-A about Moreno's claim and got back this statement from spokeswoman Tracey Micit:

"Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

"Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."

Other than having reversed the order of the first two paragraphs, that's word-for-word what Chick-fil-A said on July 19, as the controversy over Cathy's comments — and the support the company drew from conservatives such as Mike Huckabee — began to build. The story built to a "Click-fil-A appreciation day" on Aug. 1 and a counter "kiss in day" for gay activists on Aug. 3.

According to the Tribune, though, Moreno feels:

"He achieved his goal of getting Chick-fil-A to 'affirm that they do not have discriminatory policies.'

" 'It's one thing to say that's the way you feel — it's another thing to put it into a company policy and an official company statement,' Moreno said."

As for the issue of donating to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, BuzzFeed Politics notes that in its statements today (to us and others) Chick-fil-A "did not contest" that claim. But it also did not clearly confirm it.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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