Why Florida Democrats are roasting Chick-fil-A

Only three years ago, gay marriage supporters gathered at the Chick-fil-A store in Decatur for a "kiss-in" protest of company president Dan Cathy's stand in opposition to gay marriage. AJC file

Protesters at a Chick-fil-A store in Decatur in 2012 blast Dan Cathy’s stand in opposition to gay marriage. AJC file

Orlando, Fla. – A Florida Democratic group is roasting a local elections director for holding voter drives at Chick-fil-A restaurants, saying that using outposts of the Georgia-based fast food chain would be akin to letting a Democratic official host voter registrations at Planned Parenthood offices.

Susan McGrath of the Pinellas County Democratic Party wrote a complaint to Deborah Clark, the county’s Republican elections supervisor, saying that she might as well hold the voter registration drive at the local GOP headquarters.

From Creative Loafing Tampa:

“As an elected official, you have a duty to be evenhanded and fair. Surely, you and your office staff do understand that using Chick-Fil-A as the base for voter registration activities is not only inherently unfair but overtly partisan as well. This company has a strong and well-understood history of anti-LGBT activism and is publicly associated with Republican Party values.”

The chain, which closes on Sundays and supports conservative causes, was boycotted by gay rights activists after company executive Dan Cathy made a series of public comments opposing same-sex marriage.  Cathy, now the chain’s chief executive, has tried to put the controversy behind him by saying he won’t weigh in on the subject anymore.

“Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make,” Cathy told the AJC in 2014. “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.”

A spokesman for Clark said her office will hold 350 voter drives at hundreds of locations this year and that the events are non-partisan.

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