Chick-fil-A released a statement on July 19 pledging respect for all. The Facebook message follows anti-gay remarks by the company president that have LGBT civil rights activists calling for consumers to eat less Chick-fil-A.
Dan Cathy, chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, which has a history of supporting anti-LGBT causes, said recently that marriage equality efforts are “inviting God's judgment on our nation.”
Cathy, on a recent radio show, said, “We’re 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 that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
Activists are saying that Cathy and his company, with donations to groups such as Exodus International and the Family Research Council, are anti-gay. The president, in a July 16 report in the Baptist Press, said, “Guilty as charged.”
But earlier today, Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page contained a statement that said the company’s “culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
The statement said the company is “family-owned and family-led” serving the communities in which it operates. “From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.”
The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, which is waging boycotts against Starbucks and General Mills for the corporations endorsement of marriage equality, has hailed Cathy as a corporate hero.