Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has found itself drawn into a fight over gay rights in Pennsylvania.
A variety of complaints against the Atlanta-based company coalesced this month. There was the decision by a Chick-fil-A operator in Pennsylvania to supply food to an event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which has worked to defeat gay marriage initiates and has become a lightning rod for gay rights groups. There was a blogger’s contention that Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation does not admit gay couples to marriage counseling.
Nicknamed “Jesus chicken” by jaded secular fans and embraced by Evangelical Christians, Chick-fil-A is among only a handful of large American companies with conservative religion built into its corporate ethos.
But recently its ethos has run smack into the gay rights movement. A Pennsylvania outlet’s sponsorship of a February marriage seminar by one of that state’s most outspoken groups against homosexuality lit up gay blogs around the country.
Students at some universities have also begun trying to get the chain removed from campuses.
“If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,” one headline read. The issue spread into Christian media circles, too.
The controversy has moved president Dan Cathy to declare, in this video posted on the company Facebook fan page, to declare that while marriage is a focus of his chain, the provision of sandwiches and brownies for a local event is not an endorsement:
”Some recent events have called into question the principles of Chick-fil-A, and speak directly to the heart of our organization. Last week, one of our local franchise Chick-fil-A operators in Pennsylvania made the decision to provide food to two upcoming February events billed to strengthen marriages.
“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. In this case, the operator simply agreed to provide sandwiches and brownies for the events, as many Chick-fil-A franchises have done over the years for community events, businesses and civic groups.
“Some have used this small donation of food to suggest otherwise. We are very proud that our Chick-fil-A operators and employees work hard every day to go the extra mile in serving all of our customers with honor, dignity and respect.
“Let me be clear. Chick-fil-A serves all people, and values all people. Providing food to these events or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance, or motives of this or any other organization. Any suggestion otherwise is just inaccurate.”
Clearly the topic is hot. This has been posted on the fast-food franchise’s Facebook fan page:
Hey fans. Please be respectful of others and treat this page as a fan page, not a place to argue with each other. Antagonistic, offensive, mean-spirited or crude posts will be removed and the person will be banned. Thank you.
Same applies here.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider