Why Is Pro-Marriage Chick-fil-A Sponsoring an LGBT Film Festival?

Chick-fil-A in New York City
Chick-fil-A in New York City. Chick-fil-A is sponsoring an LGBT film festival. (Reuters)

Chick-fil-A is one of the sponsors for Level Ground, a faith-based LGBT film festival.  

According to their website, Level Ground creates a space for dialogue about faith, gender and sexuality through the arts. 

The festival isn't the chain's first open support for LGBT rights. 

Earlier this summer, the home of the original chicken sandwich donated food to a gay pride parade in Iowa.  

The fast-food restaurant drew controversy in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press he was "guilty as charged" for supporting traditional marriage. 

But after the anti-LGBT headlines, Cathy appeared to be changing his tune, claiming he recognized he made a mistake. 

"Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make," Cathy said. "And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you're just a fool. I'm thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it." 

According to the Level Ground sponsor kit, 80 percent of attendees identify as some form of Christian.  

The festival openly claims prophetic verses, including passages from Isaiah, which enrages bloggers like Geoffrey Grider.

"Shame on you, Dan Cathy," Grider writes. "Christian Americans stood by you and Chick-fil-A every step of the way back in 2012 when you were persecuted for taking a stand for Jesus Christ. But we will not stand with you on this. No sir. One of my favorite places to get lunch is at one of your restaurants, but that can and will change." 

Petitions circulate the web, demanding Chick-fil-A issue a response to their sponsorship, saying their sponsorship directly contradicts the chain's stance on gay marriage. 

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