The fast food chain Chick-fil-A has long been suspected of having an anti-gay agenda, and this week, the company’s COO has decidedly come out on the side of the ‘biblical definition of the family unit.’
Dan Cathy, the president of the multimillion-dollar empire said in an interview with the conservative paper Baptist Press that his company is ‘very much supportive of the family,’ but only when it involves heterosexual couples.
‘Well, guilty as charged,’ Cathy responded when asked about Chick-fil-A’s backing of ‘traditional’ families with a husband and wife.
Guilty as charged: Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy, son of restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy, said he and his company support traditional marriage based on biblical values
‘We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,’ Cathy continued, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Atlanta-based business currently has 1,608 locations and boasts sales of more than $4billion. According to the paper, Chick-fil-A workers are trained ‘to focus on values rooted in the Bible,’ and the eateries nationwide are closed on Sundays.
‘We don’t claim to be a Christian business,’ Mr Cathy said. ‘Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are. But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.’
The company, founded in 1946 by Cathy’s father, S. Truett Cathy, has come under fire for donating more than $3million between 2003 and 2009 to Christian organizations with a well-known anti-gay agenda, among them the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council.
Activist business: It has been reported that Chick-fil-A has donated millions of dollars to Christian groups that oppose gay marriage
Success story: The Atlanta-based fast food chain currently has 1,608 locations and boasts sales of more than $4billion
According to a report from LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters, in 2010 alone Chick-fil-A gave nearly $2million to such causes.
CLUCKING MAD: ACTOR ED HELMS LASHES OUT AGAINST CHICK-FIL-A
Ed Helms, known for his memorable roles in The Hangover and The Office, posted his two cents on Twitter today, writing: ‘Chick-Fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens,’ adding that the restaurant ‘lost a loyal fan.’
Other celebrities like Andy Richter took to the microblogging site to say: ‘Plenty of other chicken sandwiches out there, folks.’
Despite the food chain’s history of providing financial support to faith-based groups that oppose homosexuality, Cathy’s comments appear to contradict his previously stated position on the issue.
In a 2011 interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Cathy said that his business ‘opted not to get involved in the political debate. It’s never been our agenda.’
However, in last month’s radio interview on The Ken Coleman Show, Cathy stated in no uncertain terms where he stands on the issue of gay marriage.
‘I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,’ he said at the time.
Cathy said this week that he realizes that their stance on same-sex marriage may not be‘popular with everyone,’ but his company’s leaders intend to stay the course.
Chick-fil-A’s record of donations to anti-gay groups through the company’s charity organization, WinShape, has already prompted Northeastern University in Boston to abandon plans to open an eatery on campus.
The chain also faced criticism when it sponsored a relationship seminar in Pennsylvania that banned same-sex couples from attending, Philadelphia Magazine reported.
FROM HUMBLE GRILL TO FAST FOOD EMPIRE: CHICK-FIL-A’S HISTORY
1946: Dan Cathy’s father, Truett Cathy, opens The Dwarf Grill in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville (later renamed the Dwarf House)
1964: Truett Cathy invents the original Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich
1967: First Chick-fil-A in-mall restaurant opens in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall
1982: Chick-fil-A Inc moved into its corporate office headquarters on Buffington Road in southwest Atlanta
1985: WinShape is founded as a non-profit organization and charitable foundation
1986: Company opens its first stand-alone restaurant on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta
1992: Chick-fil-A expands to college campuses, including Georgia Tech and Clemson University, with first brand licensing agreements
1995: Restaurant chain ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ Cow Campaign debuts
2003: Chick-fil-A begins expansion to Western U.S., opening its first stand-alone locations in Utah and Arizona, and breaking ground on four Southern California Restaurants
2010: Chain opens its 1,500th location at the Chick-fil-A at USC In-Line; the restaurant is the first in the Los Angeles area, located near the University of Southern California
2010: Chick-fil-A begins its expansion into the Chicago area, opening its first stand-alone location in Aurora, Illinois
2010: Restaurant chain enters its 39th state by opening a location at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho
2012: Chick-fil-A surpasses $4billion in sales