Chick-fil-A's chief homophobe Dan Cathy was celebrated as a "champion of justice and equality" on Saturday, but not before the Urban League of Greater Atlanta stumbled to explain its anti-gay choice and attempt to quiet a flash of anger over it.
Cathy, recently promoted to run the Atlanta-based company, was feted on Saturday alongside gay-rights champion U.S. Rep. John Lewis and others as an "outstanding luminary" during the Urban League's 52nd Annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner & Gala. That honor came despite Cathy's repeated anti-gay statements and the company funneling millions in donations to anti-gay groups.
Of course, Cathy was happy for the positive press:
”On behalf of the Chick-fil-A family, I am humbled to accept this award. The Urban League’s commitment to empower communities resonates with our own Operators who have worked with more than 700 educational and charitable organizations over the past three years," said Dan T. Cathy. " We share the Urban League’s promise to strengthen programs that serve youth and education in Georgia and throughout the United States.”
The Urban League pitched its honors to Cathy and Lewis like this:
“With the theme Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality we are pleased to celebrate the work of some of the outstanding business , government, legal and community luminaries who have committed their energy to ensuring economic empowerment of urban communities and families," Nancy Flake Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, said.
But the organization came under intense criticism Friday as the media swarmed over its honor for Cathy, an ironic choice first reported by Fenuxe. Late Friday, the organization defended its choice by listing seven initiatives from the Chick-fil-A Foundation that led them to honor Cathy.
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta has received questions and concerns about why Dan Cathy is among the awardees at this year’s annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner on Nov. 16. Cathy, President/CEO of the Chick fil A Foundation is receiving this year’s Community Empowerment Award. The Community Empowerment Award is presented to an organization that has made significant contributions to advance community empowerment. The Urban League of Greater Atlanta is awarding the Chick-fil-A Foundation and Cathy for the Foundation’s significant financial contributions that support programs that empower communities – including funding for a signature program that teaches inner city youth financial literacy, a local community food bank.
But the foundation is headed by Chick-fil-A executive Rodney Bullard, not Cathy. The Urban League didn't explain how it managed to overlook that. But it did reaffirm its commitment "for equal rights."
Please be assured that the Urban League of Greater Atlanta supports and works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. This includes the recent Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was passed out of the US Senate this week.