Chick-fil-A locked in a Pennsylvania fight over gay marriage

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has found itself drawn into a fight over gay rights in Pennsylvania.

From my AJC colleague Jeremiah McWilliams:

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.

From the New York Times:

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:

Dan Cathy Statement from Chick-fil-A on Vimeo.

Said Cathy:

”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

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192 comments Add your comment

Kinsi

January 30th, 2011
9:04 pm

I certainly won’t be eating there for lunch anymore after this story broke. They can think that way if they want to, of course, but that means I have just as much right to refuse to spend money there and encourage everyone else I know to boycott them as well.

Hannibal

January 30th, 2011
9:09 pm

Chick-fil-A HAS A COMMERCIAL RIGHT TO SUPPLY FOOD TO ANY GROUP CONTRACTING FOR THAT SERVICE. AS A CORPORATION THEY IN FACT ARE FOLLOWING ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS PUT IN PLACE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
WHAT SOME ANTI-CHICK-FIL-A GROUPS ARE PR0MOTING IS IN FACT SLANDER AND A RESTRICTION OF FREE SPEECH.
THERE SHOULD BE OUTRAGE AT THIS ATTEMPT TO RESTRICT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT

Gerald

January 30th, 2011
9:11 pm

Sounds like Chick- fil-A for lunch tommorow for me!

Atlantan4life

January 30th, 2011
9:18 pm

That’s the problem with gay rights groups, they take everything out of context and try to shove their sexuality down your throat and then they are upset and start protesting if you don’t like it.

Fuh-get about it

January 30th, 2011
9:19 pm

Like Clark Howard says, I’m voting with my pocketbook. Bye-bye, CF-A! Who needs you?

CDog

January 30th, 2011
9:22 pm

I think everyone probably already knows Chick-fil-a is a conservative Christian business. If anyone disagrees with this stance, they probably already don’t go there. I don’t think the vast majority of people decide where to eat based on politics and religion but rather on price, quality, and service. Chick-fil-a excels on those three.

brandon

January 30th, 2011
9:23 pm

I like Chick-fil-A because they stand for something other than serving fattening fast food to people who crave it. They’re a private company that can do what ever they please! We shop at Walmart, Target, Belk, McDonalds, etc and never seem to care what they stand for. I guess if a company wants to be pro-gay then that’s okay and we all should just shut up and support them???

The great thing about America is this…….we have a right to our own opinions and can choose to do what we want with our money. I’m tired of everything needing to be politically correct and not wanting to offend those who are fundmentally against the Christian faith!!! Thank you Mr. Cathy for having some conviction and strength in this troubled world.

Who Cares

January 30th, 2011
9:25 pm

So, when they provide food to both democrats and republicans during the elections, is that a shot against each party? This company is pretty upfront. No sales on Sunday and the owners are public with their religious beliefs. It is understandable that a pro marriage oganization would be able to obtain donations of food. However, the gay left will not accept that christians will support pro marriage organizations.

JDW

January 30th, 2011
9:26 pm

Mountain meet Molehill…I’ll have a number 1 with wheat bun and diet lemonade thank you very much.

Dan

January 30th, 2011
9:33 pm

Chick-fil-A is a private company (although it is subject to federal civil rights statutes with regard to its employment practices) but as someone who has bought the product for decades I found this excerpt from The New York Times article to be somewhat disconcerting

“The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled.”

I always thought you were supposed to be hired on the basis of your ability to do the job, not whether you go to the right church, and was unaware being a successful employee in the fast food industry was somehow tied to your marital status. It’s their decision how to run their business and my decision where to spend my lunch money.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway, Ryan Burleson, Tammie Wright, Atlanta News Feed, Karl Douglass and others. Karl Douglass said: RT @politicalinsidr: Chick-fil-A finds itself caught up in a Pennsylvania fight over gay marriage. Via NYT. http://tinyurl.com/6gu67wf [...]

FormerGeorgian

January 30th, 2011
9:42 pm

Everyone please watch this. No wonder people think Georgians are stupid. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/30/jack-kingston-evolution_n_815909.html

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway and Alan Ashley, Lisa Pearl Black. Lisa Pearl Black said: RT @politicalinsidr: Chick-fil-A locked in a Pennsylvania fight over gay marriage http://bit.ly/hstbZZ [...]

William

January 30th, 2011
9:51 pm

Another reason to support Chick-fil-A…they have values and stand by them.

CDog

January 30th, 2011
9:51 pm

Actually, everyone who thinks Georgians are stupid are stupid. Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0kHPw3LaG8

No “everyone” does not think this. Liberals don’t like Georgia or any conservative state. Don’t try to frame it as an intelligence issue when it is a belief and worldview issue.

Robin

January 30th, 2011
9:53 pm

After their involvement with Focus on the Family came to light last year, and now this, my family and I are done with this chain. They don’t need to add my dollars to the pile of money they want to use to encourage discrimination as a “moral” stance.

Vinings

January 30th, 2011
9:54 pm

More Chick fila for me. I believe what I know, not what I am told. Chick Fila is a good company with a great product.

FormerGeorgian

January 30th, 2011
9:57 pm

Yes not everyone believes in evolution. Just the National Academy of Science and almost over 95 percent of individual scientists. Thankfully these scientific minds don’t believe in creationism or just think how backwards our society would be. Remember biology only makes sense with evolutionh

Yum Yum

January 30th, 2011
9:58 pm

I am now going to eat more Chick Fil A than ever before.

Tom Brown

January 30th, 2011
10:01 pm

I’ll be at CF-A for lunch tomorrow. See you there Gerald! I don’t think the chain meant anything by this but personally I wish they would have…get off the fence! TB

Droco

January 30th, 2011
10:06 pm

No more Chik Fil A for me or my company. It was bad enough they took the name of the Peach Bowl. Nut jobs.

Kay

January 30th, 2011
10:09 pm

Love me some Chick-fil-A!

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
10:10 pm

Man I hope all those gay chickens can find away to procreate or we will never get more Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
Please don’t eat at C-F-A if you don’t like their beliefs. Those of us that really enjoy the BEST CHICKEN SANDWICH in the WORLD will keep them in business for a long time.
i don’t like some of the Gay IN YOUR FACE ACTORS and I don’t pay to see their movies or TV shows. I will not watch Alec Baldwin ever. I see it has really hurt him, but I feel better about myself for my stand. Again Please don’t eat at Chick-fil-A and feel good about yourself too.

Suzanne Sugarbaker

January 30th, 2011
10:12 pm

Confucious say: What does this have to do the tea in China, or other words– what the heck does Fried Chicken with pickle on a bun have to do with Marriage? Do like KFC does and Do Chicken Right– and Truett Cathy (if that is your real name)..if you are getting into the marriage counseling business then you should go back to school and get a different degree. Or open up a church where you can preach. Get out of your ivory tower. Just because your parents have been married for 63 years does NOT make you a marriage expert. Stick to making sure that your chicken doesn’t give people salmonella and that your workers wash their hands and what you do on your own personal time is not also shoved down people’s throats.

scott

January 30th, 2011
10:13 pm

Anti Gay groups are hypocrits, they want Chick Fil A to discriminate aginst a pro marriage group, WHAT????? Aren’t the against all discrimination?? Don’t they Get it??? Funny stuff, guess I will eat there more now, to make up for all you idiots that stop eating there for no reason, enjoy crappy food at another joint..more for me and the COWS!! HAHAHA:)

Jason

January 30th, 2011
10:15 pm

Anyone who has an opinion on anything is something. Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

Richard

January 30th, 2011
10:17 pm

Grow up people.

Chick-fil-A provided food to a seminar to support stronger marriages.

To read anything else into that just shows you’re to stupid to accept facts as they are and are just trying to make something out of nothing. If your life is that pathetic, then just keep to yourself.

David

January 30th, 2011
10:18 pm

Suzanne Sugarbaker – you’re an idiot. Truett has the right to defend his company when idiots like you assault them. Get a life.

David

January 30th, 2011
10:19 pm

Robin – do you know how stupid your comment is? You hate Chick-fil-A for discrimination, so YOU’RE GOING TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THEM?

Seriously? Get a clue.

Jeff

January 30th, 2011
10:19 pm

The first job I ever had when I was 15 years old was at Chick-fil-a. We had an openly gay employee. No one cared, because he was a good person and a hard worker (He was also a gay christian). Yes, they have a tighter hiring process. That’s why they provide such a good product and experience. Look at the employees at Mcdonald’s and then look at the employees at Chick-fil-a. People are making too much of this issue. Dan Cathy’s response was spot on.

scott

January 30th, 2011
10:20 pm

By the idiotic logic here from some, I guess any organization that supports gays I should boycott? Nonsense, if its a good company and a good product I don’t care what they support, b/c I don’t care what gays do. Just like Gays should not care what marriage organizations do. Its their right, and if you boycott due to this you are the definition of a hypcrit, know that you fools.

arrr

January 30th, 2011
10:20 pm

umm, just out of curiosity, what large company hasnt been embroiled in controversy? i mean, i can surf the web and find issues with pretty much all companies. all those fruits and veggies you eat at the store and in the restaurant, where do you think they came from? most were handpicked in China by kids under the age of 8. if i wanted to make a statement about gay rights, sure, i will boycott CFA. but i also understand that it is not like i find a moral highground anywhere else.

Loran, Whatayagot?

January 30th, 2011
10:22 pm

I guess all this politically correct stuff is really hurting this stellar company’s bottom line. What? They just set a record for profits? And they still only open six days a week? Oh, never mind.

Suzanne Sugarbaker

January 30th, 2011
10:23 pm

And another thing. Keep your cold fried chicken sandwich donations and unrealistic influence out of my child’s public school also, which should welcome ALL Americans. If you want to help the schools, then donate money to upgrading the technology or getting back music and art classes!! The USDA already provides lunches.

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
10:23 pm

I believe Chick-fil-A are all franchised to people with like views. It is a Christian based company and should be ale to remain that way. There are plenty of companies that hire like minded people and they should be able to. The FAMILY is the foundation of the American Way of Life. More children of single parents get in more trouble and that is a statical fact. The FAMILY is the best support system in the world. If C-F-A wishes to support Man & Woman marriage and not gay marriage that is OK. I know the Christain beliefs the company is based on, but I have never seen a Bible or Cross in one of their stores for public consumption. The Company has a great Scholarship program that have benefited many children.
I guess all you Chick-fil-A haters need to stop buying fule and oil from Muslin run countries too. They religion doesn’t believe in gay rights either.
The Christians control the Chicken and the Muslins control the OIL what ever will you gay lovers do? I guess you can eat veggies and walk every place you go.

Dave

January 30th, 2011
10:31 pm

I’ll be eating there alot more

Waffle Fry

January 30th, 2011
10:31 pm

Those of you who say you’re gonna boycott…pants on FIRE! You know you love it.

brett

January 30th, 2011
10:33 pm

I don’t eat ben and jerry ice cream and it doesn’t hurt their bottom line. If you don’t like christian values, then don’t eat at the best fast food place. That means more chicken for me. The cathys are strong people and they will not fold due to the pressure. Remember, they still refuse to rake in billions on Sunday, so that their people can worship and serve at the place of their choice. Jesus loves everyone, and only desires that we trust Him as Savior and Lord. Mock Him and His followers as much as you want to, but He continues to offer His love and grace.

Iceman

January 30th, 2011
10:34 pm

One more reason that I support Chick-fil-A to the fullest.

McPants

January 30th, 2011
10:37 pm

Proud of Chick-Fil-A for helping out an event that promotes *GASP* marriage. CFA is one of the few remaining companies in the US that has a solid set of corporate values.

God help these idiot bloggers and college students. Some people are just sitting around waiting to be “offended”. And sadly, our society encourages this behavior. So does the ny times (shame on them for making CFA look like the bad guy here). Only in America could Big Media and some idiots with internet access turn something little like giving out brownies into a “anti-gay” story.

I’ll continue to support CFA, a great company who offers great customer service, as well as reasonably-priced delicious food.

God bless Dan Cathy and God bless Chick Fil A.

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
10:39 pm

Don’t eat the Christian chicken and when you are dying please don’t call out to a God that you don’t know to save your soul.

Gary

January 30th, 2011
10:39 pm

Having an appreciation for marriage is not condemning the gay lifestyle. Thank you to the Cathy family for sticking to your beliefs and values. I am a fan and customer of CFA and will be for life

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
10:40 pm

Enter your comments here

Joe

January 30th, 2011
10:44 pm

Good for them. Chick-fil-A stands with the majority of Americans who support traditional marriage. Hopefully these hate filled gay groups who do not understand morality will drive more people to visit their local Chick-fil-A….

LydiasDad

January 30th, 2011
10:46 pm

Hooray Chick-Fil-A!

Sick and tired

January 30th, 2011
10:47 pm

Who is more hateful? People who have values or those who want every to silence anyone who disagrees with their agenda? Hate is not a family value? To whom? Those who came up with the slogan need to reexamine theirs. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Liberal Pariah

January 30th, 2011
10:47 pm

Mooooooooove over Liberal tolerance, there is no room for you. The sacred gay cow has been offended. It’s a shame those of us left with a moral compass have to defend this. This is the very definition of having your ‘lifestyle choice’ shoved down our throats.

LydiasDad

January 30th, 2011
10:47 pm

Maybe this means gays will quit going to Chick-Fil-A…

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
10:50 pm

Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

BigPapa

January 30th, 2011
10:52 pm

It’s chicken, people! Delicious chicken! Insanely good chicken!