Equality Matters, the gay rights focused effort of Media Matters for America, has issued its first big investigative piece which is a look at the depth of Chick-Fil-A’s ties to “anti-gay causes.”  It’s a promising effort and shows why outlets like Equality Matters can be a source of analysis and research on LGBT-rights issues.

There has been some grumbling that Equality Matters has limped through its debut without making much of an impression, but the research on Chick-Fil-A indicates that the group is interested in doing some good leg-work, even if it isn’t the kind of reporting that you’d expect from more traditional sources.

Here’s the lead to their report:

When two Missouri organizations, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and FOCUS St. Louis, decided earlier this month to cancel a presentation by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy over his company’s controversial affiliations, they made the right decision. Although Cathy has unequivocally denied being anti-LGBT and claimed that he and the company have “no agenda against anyone” and “will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family,” Equality Matters research proves just the opposite. In fact, the company has strong, deep ties to anti-gay organizations like Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and its charitable division has provided more than $1.1 million to organizations that deliver anti-LGBT messages and promote egregious practices like reparative therapy that seek to “free” people of being gay.

The research shows that Chick-Fil-A is a major donor to Christian organizations, as well as “pro-family” groups. The two largest recipients of Chick-Fil-A’s money–through its foundation Winshape–is the National Christian Foundation and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Neither is mainly funding “anti-gay” activities, although EM connects them with the “anti-gay” movement. There are much smaller donations to organizations that are involved opposing gay rights and opposing same-sex marriage.

One of the nice things about the research is that it gives links to primary source documents so that users can make their own decisions about the research and do more investigation. This is an invaluable source. Let’s hope EM continues to do similar work, which can be helpful to researchers and journalists.