Amid Gay Marriage Web Firestorm, Chick-fil-A Stands Its Ground

While there may be an outpouring of protest mixed with support of restaurant chain Chick-fil-A's stand against gay marriage, the comments on Monday, July 16, by Don Cathy, the company's president, shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone.

When asked by Baptist Press about Chick-fil-A's support of the traditional family unit and its opposition to gay marriage, Cathy answered: "Guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

The result since that quote went viral is thousands of comments online, some against, and some in support of the restaurant's stance. Chick-fil-A's position is not a revelation, however. In 2011 it was revealed that an independent operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pennsylvania supplied food at an event sponsored by a group that was formed to defeat same-sex marriage initiatives. In addition, it was found that Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation did not admit gay couples to marriage counseling services it offers.

With CEO Cathy's latest comments, the company appears to have drawn a line in the sand on the same-sex marriage issue: "This is our position, like it or not," is the message. In the Baptist Press article, Cathy acknowledged that his stand may cost the company customers.

"We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles," he said. That comment may go over well in Chick-fil-A's home base in the South, but it remains to be seen if that message will play as well in other parts of the country, as the chain looks to expand its presence.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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