The Real Reason Chick-Fil-A Got Banned From This California High School

In September of 2014, Chick-fil-A suffered a setback. As HuffPost reported, a high school in Ventura, California decided against selling the chain's chicken sandwiches at a back-to-school night to raise money for the school's football team. The reason for this was due to their president's declaration that the company supports the "biblical definition of marriage," donating to organizations with the same ethos.

This was not the first time Chick-fil-A's attitude toward homosexuality drew ire. The Boston Globe chronicled the restaurant's rejection from Northeastern University after the student government denounced the franchise for the same reason. "If this had come to our campus," one student said, summarizing the logic behind severing the relationship with Chick-fil-A, "the university would have had to admit that tuition money was, as the end of the day, going to anti-gay and hate-filled organizations."

Nor was the Ventura incident the last time Chick-fil-A had to leave a location. Time reports that as recently as 2019, Chick-fil-A lost its only holding in the UK after the mall that housed it refused to renew its lease. Upon its opening in Reading, Reading Pride, the local LGBTQ advocacy group, condemned and protested its presence. Time quotes them as saying, "The chain's ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and that of the UK as we are progressive country that has legalized same-sex marriage for some years, and continues to strive towards equality." These issues may be minor for the company, but were, nevertheless, completely avoidable.

Chick-fil-A or Chick-fil-nay?

Losing their inroads into an entire country seems to have been the last straw for Chick-fil-A, however, as they ceased their donations the month after. CNN noted that Chick-fil-A had stopped giving money to both the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the two organizations that drew the biggest criticisms. That said, GLAAD, the non-governmental media monitoring organization that was founded by and works for LGBTQ people, said that Chick-fil-A had yet to actively speak against their previous anti-LGBTQ stance, reported the National Review. Still, they welcomed the improvement.

Such caution is warranted, as a fact check performed by Snopes pointed out that while Chick-fil-A were indeed ending these donations, it was because of a broad shift in their philanthropic strategy, not because of any change of opinion with regards to the continuing LGBTQ issue. Nor does this preclude other organizations with similar views from receiving money in the future.

To think that Chick-fil-A changed their giving strategy because they were worried about their bottom line is to misunderstand how minor were the setbacks from the cancellations. In 2018 — a year before their pivot — Vox examined how much the protests affected the company's growth: Chick-fil-A had become the third best selling fast food chain in America. In the end, they make popular chicken sandwiches and, as Vox summarized Kevin Pang, while the money he gives Chick-fil-A does go to corporate, it also goes to the workers, especially the legendarily nice ones.