International pro-family group World Congress of Families is stepping into the fray, defending Chick-fil-A against gay rights advocates who have accused the fast food chain of financially supporting the anti-gay marriage movement.
The Congress's managing director Larry Jacobs criticized gay activists that are attacking Chick-fil-A as attempting to "crush" any dissenting views of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement.
"They fear an open debate on their agenda and discussion of the importance of natural marriage, they invariably seek to silence dissenting voices," Jacobs said.
The pro-family leader maintains that Chick-fil-A's strong support for heterosexual marriage is a worthwhile cause and should be not be controversial at all.
"I wish other corporations did half as much for the natural family, as Chick-fil-A, which promotes pro-family values through its WinShape Foundation, including helping orphans and sponsoring seminars that help people strengthen their marriages and become better parents," said Jacobs.
Last month, a controversy erupted after a local Chick-fil-A offered food donations to help Pennsylvania churches holding a marriage seminar.
The LGBT blog Good as You (GAY) first spotted the chain's name on the Pennsylvania Family Institute's Art of Marriage flier and advised its readers to "plan your fried carnivorousness accordingly."
Change.org editor Michael Jones formed a petition demanding that Chick-fil-A pull sponsorship from anti-Gay events.
However, Chick-fil-A has said in two statements that it never endorsed PFI's seminar. "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," wrote Dan T. Cathy, the company's president, on Facebook.
The PFI president also told The Christian Post on Jan. 5 that the involved Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A branches were simply trying to "be good neighbors" to the two local churches hosting the Art of Marriage seminars, not politically endorse them.
Still, thousands have listened to gay advocates' call for protest. Jones' petition has over 25,000 signatures as of Feb. 1. Plans to boycott the chain have reached the Chick-fil-A Facebook page where a commenter wrote, "I'm pledging to boycott my beloved Chick-fil-A until they stop fighting gay marriage."
Just last week, a student movement led Indiana University to cut the chicken sandwich fast food chain from its list of retailers. Another student movement is working to do the same thing at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Focus on the Family's Jim Daly said the demonizing of Chick-fil-A is part of an "ominous trend developing for those who support traditional biblical principles."
Daly believes that the fast food chain is being bullied when it comes to its freedoms of speech and religious liberty. "To bully corporate America in this manner is unsavory and in this instance, counterproductive," he wrote in a FOTF blog.
Jeremy Hooper of the GAY blog told The Christian Post that his sole goal in bringing the Chick-fil-A flier to light was to inform the public and discuss the merits of the company's decisions.
GAY has brought to light the connection between Chick-fil-A and PFI and the Ruth Institute's Reel Challenge.
The challenge's website linked to another site, Loveishere.com, which has the mission to foster healthy, lasting marriages. The WinShape Foundation's trademark and the marriage retreat were featured on the Loveishere.com website.
GAY laments that the Ruth Institute is an offshoot of the outspoken, pro-heterosexual marriage group National Organization for Marriage.
"Every company has a right to make their own outreach choices," acknowledged Hooper. But he also said, "Every consumer must make his or her own informed decisions."
Pro-family advocate Jacobs, however, insists that gay rights advocates are trying to intimidate Chick-fil-A into stopping their support of traditional marriage.
In a Jan. 30 statement, Cathy announced that while the company will continue to support marriage, it will not champion any political agendas surrounding marriage or family.
Jacobs calls for the pro-family and marriage movement to join together and defend courageous corporations that act in the interests of its community.
"Those advancing a radical homosexual agenda must not be allowed to win through intimidation," he stated.
The World Congress of Families, founded in 1997, is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and concerned people from more than 60 countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and of civil society.