We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit, he said. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
The interview angered gay rights supporters, leading to various protests and boycott threats against Chick-Fil-A hosted by social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
On Thursday, the restaurant posted a statement on Facebook that looks a lot like damage control. The statement proclaims that Chick-Fil-A will treat customers of every belief, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender with respect.
The full statement follows:
The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
Reactions to the post have been mixed. Some Facebook commenters vow they will be satisfied only when the company releases a statement that they will no longer donate to groups dedicated to stopping marriage equality.
On the other side, some conservatives have taken the statement as an implicit endorsement of gay marriage and called the company an abomination.
It remains to be seen whether the corporation will stop donating large sums of money to anti-LGBT groups. In the past, Chick-fil-A co-sponsored an event with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the state's leading anti-gay marriage organization. The company also reportedly donated $1.1 million in 2011 to organizations that promote anti-gay legislation and messages, as well as promoting curing people of their homosexuality.