National LGBT Briefs: Chicken and Chill

The great Chick-fil-A continues to gain momentum, which Detroit's Ruth Ellis Center starts a campaign to take some sting out of winter for homeless LGBT youth

Compiled by Kelsey Brannan
Published on August 9, 2012, 12:46am | Comments

Chick-fil-A Push and Pull 

In the wake of the latest Chick-fil-A brouhaha – with company President Dan Cathy making recent statements against marriage equality, followed by debate about the company's political donations and freedom of speech – things seem to be heating up rather than dying down.

The Freedom Federation, a faith-based policy organization, released a letter Aug. 6 commending Cathy's leadership and efforts to sustain ''biblical values.'' The letter's 63 signatories included several right-wing luminaries, including J. Kenneth Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council; Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; and Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.

On the other end of the spectrum, Campus Pride, a national organization ''for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students,'' released a handout Aug. 6 titled ''5 Simple Facts about Chick-fil-A'' to underscore the issues in the debate.

''The real issue at hand is not freedom of speech, but Chick-fil-A's secretive funding of documented anti-gay hate groups,'' Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer said in a release announcing the campaign. ''There is no justification for such a business operating on our nation's campuses. … While Chick-fil-A's leadership has every right to its views, beliefs and voice, students and administrators alike need to know that revenues going to Chick-fil-A drive funding for groups that are almost certainly in conflict with campus non-discrimination policies.''

Detroit Center Launches Effort for Homeless LGBT Youth

Detroit's Ruth Ellis Center, ''the only mission specific agency in the entire Midwest dedicated to LGBTQ youth,'' kicked off a new fundraising campaign Aug. 1 to help homeless LGBT youth weather the 2012-2013 winter season.

With a minimum fundraising goal of $20,000 – and matching pledges from area corporations – the ''End the Chill: Where Homeless Youth Sleep this Winter'' campaign will enhance the center's ability to provide shelter, health therapy and clothing.

Announcing the campaign, Laura Hughes, executive director of the center, said most people don't realize the extent of youth homelessness, or the expenses associated with trying to counter the problem.

''There are more than 800 homeless youth on the streets of Detroit daily, which comes as a surprise to many people because the youth work very hard to remain under the radar,'' said Hughes. ''It costs approximately $1,700 per day to operate the Second Stories Drop-in Center. If we reach our fundraising goal, we can keep the drop-in center open one more day per week throughout the winter months.''

Currently, the drop-in center is open from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The ''End the Chill'' campaign runs through Sept. 20. Donations may be made through the center's site, ruthelliscenter.org.