Dan Cathy, the president of the fast-food giant Chick-fil-A and the son of its founder, Truett Cathy, confirmed the company's commitment to traditional family values in an interview with Baptist Press. While the Atlanta-based chain's position is nothing new, homosexual activists are up in arms and calling for yet another all-out boycott of the chain's 1,608 restaurants.
Hollywood actor Ed Helms sent a message on Twitter on Wednesday saying he is now boycotting Chick-fil-A.
"Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to gay chickens. Lost a loyal fan," wrote Helms.
Recently, the younger Cathy spoke to a group of business leaders in North Carolina and talked about the differences in being a Christian and owning or operating a "Christian business."
"There is no such thing as a Christian business," Cathy recalled businessman Fred Roach as saying years ago. "That got my attention. Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me."
But what has gay activists stirred up is a response Cathy gave to BP when asked about the company's support of a marriage enrichment program promoted through the WinShape Foundation, which is primarily funded by Chick-fil-A. The company's support and funding have led some to offer sharp criticism of the company for only encouraging biblical and traditional marriage.
"Well, we're guilty as charged," Cathy said when questioned about the issue. "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 article that was more or less just another profile of a Christian family who operates a restaurant chain drew a number of sharp responses from the homosexual community – many of whom are accusing Cathy and the company of not liking gay people.
The so-called outrage over Chick-fil-A's Christian stance has never deterred the Cathys from expressing their beliefs or as far as anyone can tell, inflicted economic harm on the sales of chicken sandwiches. However, sales results for the company are not released since it is privately held.
Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry emailed a prepared statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Wednesday evening when they inquired about the company's position.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of belief, creed and sexual orientation," the statement said. "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."
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A isn't the only major corporation embroiled in controversy over same-sex marriage. Office Depot recently rolled out an initiative called "Be Brave" that highlights gay celebrities such as Lady Gaga.
"It's interesting we're the ones called intolerant as Christians," said Ruth Malhotra, an Atlanta political consultant, told The Christian Post. "Last week Office Depot began running a promotion featuring Lady Gaga and encouraging same-sex behavior by supporting her 'Born This Way Foundation' and saying that becoming homosexual is a sign of bravery. Since when did engaging in sexual immorality become an act of courage?"
But the company's continued commitment seems to have overcome some homosexual groups who have called for previous boycotts.
"We've moved on," Heather Cronk, managing editor of Get Equal, a national LGBT group, told the AJC, saying many in the gay community stopped dining at the chain long ago."
Still, Cathy and his family are undeterred over the controversy.
"We intend to stay the course," he said. "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."