The president of Chick-fil-A recently defended a local operator's decision to donate food to a marriage seminar despite petitions and criticisms from gay rights advocates.
Dan Cathy posted a video on the restaurant company's Facebook account on Tuesday to address all of the hype surrounding the Pennsylvania Family Institute's supposed co-sponsorship with the Georgia-based fast food chain.
Cathy described the decision saying, "Operators simply agreed to provide sandwiches and brownies for the events as many Chick-fil-A franchisees have done over the years for community events, businesses and civic groups."
The gesture, the company president continued, should not be confused to mean that the company's beliefs are politically aligned to that of PFI.
"Providing food to this event or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance or motives of this or any other organization," he expressed.
The video was an answer to swirling accusations that the two groups had aligned to support a PFI event entitled "The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God's Design."
The LGBT blog Good As You commented, "Bottom line: If you're binding your cash with this fast food restaurant's fowl, you're in some way giving resources to those who hope to foul Keystone State gays' marriage plans. Plan your fried carnivorousness accordingly."
A Change.org petition was also started by the site's editor, Michael Jones, further alleging ties between the chain and PFI, which supports traditional marriage.
The controversy was sparked by a flyer of the marriage event that stated: "Sponsored by Pennsylvania Family Institute and Chick-fil-A."
PFI President Michael Geer clarified to The Christian Post that Chick-fil-A was not co-sponsoring the event, a two-day conference aimed at strengthening marriages.
When asked why he thought people believed otherwise, Geer said he believed it was connected to a thank you email sent by the non-profit organization. He made no mention of the wording of the flyer.
Geer expressed concern over the possible perception of a corporate co-sponsorship between PFI and Chick-fil-a.
"There are a couple restaurants that are giving us food," he clarified. He shared that no money was given to PFI or the two churches hosting the event.
He denounced any suggestion of corporate co-sponsorship as misleading and "a trumped up story."
Similarly, Cathy said called such assertions "inaccurate."
Despite Cathy's clarifications, some continue to align Chick-fil-A with an "anti-gay" agenda.
Jones wrote in his revised petition description, "If an organization is anti-gay ... the chances that Chick-fil-A has either donated to them, or worked with them via Chick-fil-A's charitable branch is [sic] darn near 100 percent."
Cathy maintained in his video, "Chick-fil-A serves all people, and values all people." He also expressed praise for the conference's effort to strengthen marriage.
"Marriage has long been a focus of Chick-fil-A, starting with my own mom and dad who are celebrating their 63rd year of marriage," he shared.
Cathy has long expressed his faith as a Christian as part of his business practices. Cathy's father, Samuel Truett, began Chick-fil-A in 1946.