Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno has agreed to allow Chick-Fil-A to build a restaurant in his ward, apparently mollified by the company’s promises not to continue donating to organizations that oppose gay marriage.

Moreno and The Civil Rights Agenda, an Illinois advocacy organization, are claiming victory for encouraging Chick-Fil-A to change its policies. They may not deserve the credit, since the company posted this message on its Facebook page in July, before the Moreno joined the controversy:

Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

Chick-Fil-A has told various news organizations it will not confirm statements about the company’s future donations, instead referring to reporters to this post.

So while people with libertarian or conservative convictions are likely to protest, perhaps rightly, that public officials should not restrict citizens’ rights to conduct business based on their views on social issues, it seems likely that Chick-Fil-A would have adopted the same position without Moreno’s interference.

Perhaps the company decided being seen by the public as opposed to gay marriage was just face serious consequences.

All the same, the activists, protestors, and kissers-in who spent the summer lambasting Chick-Fil-A can congratulate themselves—they’ve helped cut off millions of dollars from Christian groups opposed to gay marriage, including Exodus International, which received $1,000 from Chick-Fil-A’s foundation in 2010. (That organization’s mission is “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”)

But while it looks like the Chick-Fil-A controversy is going away for good now, this resolution isn’t likely to satisfy everyone. The company’s partisans are going to feel betrayed. On the other hand, although the chain is inserting a boilerplate sentence condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in official documents, it hasn’t conceded that preventing people from getting married is a form of discrimination. Chick-Fil-A is backing down, not giving up. [Image via]

Max Ehrenfreund

Max Ehrenfreund is a former Monthly intern and a reporter at The Washington Post. Find him on Twitter: @MaxEhrenfreund