Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A — embroiled in a recent controversy surrounding the millions of dollars it donated to anti-gay organizations — has three words for gay rights advocates: “Guilty as charged.”
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy, in an interview with the Baptist Press, said his company’s position supporting “traditional marriage” is based on values rooted in the Bible, and that he intends to “stay the course,” which has included donating to Exodus International, one of the world’s largest promoters of “ex-gay” therapy.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.
“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.
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“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.”
According to an Equality Matters report released in November 2011, the WinShape Foundation — Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984 — received substantial funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2009 alone, WinShape received $7,814,788 from Chick-fil-A Inc.
That same year, WinShape distributed $1,733,699 among seven anti-gay groups, including the Marriage And Family Legacy Fund, Exodus International, and two groups identified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center — Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
Cathy has previously denied that Chick-fil-A’s donations were an endorsement of traditional marriage, and that the company would not “champion any political agendas” relating to marriages or families.
But in the Baptist Press interview, Cathy acknowledged that, although the WinShape Foundation began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, it has “morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries.”