I had never heard of a (leading) US fast-food chain called Chick-fil-A until today, when it has been in Google’s and Slate’s headlines. And the reason is that the company’s president gave an interview to the Baptist Press in which he stated his company’s firm support for traditional marriage. He didn’t even say the words “gay marriage” but he has gay advocates choking on their chicken sandwiches right across the States, if you can believe the headlines.

Dan Cathy, who is a Baptist, made it clear in the interview that he does not hang his faith on the coat-stand when he arrives at work. His company is known for its overt Christianity. Its shops are closed on Sundays and it supports the Biblical vision of marriage. This has already made them suspect with gay groups.

The Baptist Press asked Cathy an indirect question about this:

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.”

That’s all he said on the subject. And the rest, as they say, is headlines. Slate: “Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Goes Public With Anti-Gay Marriage Stance”. “Chick-fil-A marriage stance causing social storm” etc. Ed Helms (actor) announced a boycott of the chain.

I’d say Mr Cathy is no chicken when it comes to defending his beliefs, but the company has reacted to the hype with a statement saying they treat everyone with dignity no matter what their orientation, and that they are leaving the gay marriage policy debate to the government and the political arena.

Pity they had to add that last bit, but it does not preclude their supporting (traditional) marriage in other ways.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet