The Atlanta Beltline announced a monthlong partnership with Chick-fil-A on Monday, igniting a flood of criticism on social media about the Atlanta-based restaurant chain’s anti-LGBTQ history.
The Beltline is partnering with the “amazing hometown favorite” throughout March for its Bites on the Beltline program, according to its Instagram post. The Chick-fil-A on Bill Kennedy Way in Glenwood Park will donate 10 percent of its Monday through Wednesday lunch sales to the Atlanta Beltline Partnership, which raises money and awareness for the Beltline.
“This just leaves us with one thing more to say – Eat More Chikin’, y’all (for lunch, M-W during March)! #eatmorechikin,” according to the post.
All of the responses to the post were critical of the partnership, with one commenter calling it a “terrible alignment for the Beltline, which is bringing Atlanta together” and several calling for the Beltline to dissolve the partnership.
A spokesperson for the Beltline did not respond to Project Q’s questions about the partnership.
Chick-fil-A said it cut off funding to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in November after years of protests and bad press about the groups’ anti-LGBTQ ways. It has donated millions to the groups over the years.
The Salvation Army has a history of anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination among other incidents. FCA uses athletes and coaches to spread an anti-LGBTQ message, bars members from having gay sex and warns their youth away from same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A also vowed to stop funding an anti-LGBTQ youth home in Vidalia, Ga., in March 2019.
But the chain’s partnership with another anti-LGBTQ group continues. Fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family runs marriage workshops out of WinShape Retreat, the chain’s foundation based in Rome, Ga., according to its website.
A GLAAD spokesperson said in November that Chick-fil-A needs to be more transparent about its “deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families.”
Chick-fil-A came under fire in 2011 when IRS filings showed their charitable foundation pumped millions into anti-LGBTQ groups. Company CEO Dan Cathy’s vocal opposition to gay marriage followed. The company later scaled back most of its funding to such groups, but a 2017 report showed that in 2015 the group donated more than $1.4 million to FCA, the Salvation Army and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.
Our #BitesontheBeltLine partner for March is our amazing hometown favorite, @chickfila! The awesome folks at @cfaglenwood are big BeltLine fans and they’re donating 10% of lunch sales Monday - Wednesday (10:30 am – 2:00 pm) during March to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. Stop in starting today during those times and enjoy a chicken sandwich, some nuggets, a tasty salad – any of their awesome menu items – and know that a portion of your spend will benefit the Partnership. Again, this is the Glenwood Place location only. . This just leaves us with one thing more to say – Eat More Chikin’, y’all (for lunch, M-W during March)! #eatmorechikin