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Chick-fil-A Out of the Closet as Anti-Gay Marriage

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CEO Dan Cathy reveals in interview that his company is "guilty as charged" of being against same-sex marriage.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Chick-fil-A has made an about-turn. The privately owned fast-food company has long been thought to be anti-gay because it has consistently donated money to the Family Research Council, Focus on the the Family, Eagle Forum, and leading "pray the gay away" group Exodus International.

Even so, the chicken sandwich maker has always denied that it stood against equal rights for gays. In February, Chick-fil-A vice-president Donald Perry published a letter in the Boston Globe, in which he said:
As some have looked back at the public giving records of the WinShape Foundation, they have unfortunately misinterpreted this support as having a political agenda, largely referencing any religious or faith-based giving as "anti-gay." For example, if you take the example of FCA, and ask us what was the purpose of the giving, it was to support inter-city mentors and chaplains for schools and colleges primarily here in metro Atlanta. Those monies have been labeled as "anti-gay" because of the affiliation with a faith-based organization.

However, Chick-fil-A has decided to come out of the anti-gay marriage closet. On Monday, the Baptist Press published an interview with company president and CEO Dan Cathy, who is the son of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy. In it, Cathy said that his company "operate[s] on Biblical principles." When asked if it were true that Chick-fil-A was not a supporter of gay marriage, he quipped, "Guilty as charged."

"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 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," Cathy elaborated.

Cathy appears to be on a publicity roadshow broadcasting Chick-fil-A's out-of-the-closet views on gay rights. The Gothamist notes that the devout Christian went on the Ken Coleman Show and called those who supported same-sex marriage "arrogant." According to a clip recorded by Good As You, he said:
I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage," and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is about.

Chick-fil-A is, of course, not the only company that is less than welcoming of same-sex equality. Though marketed as a brand for young, urban, hipster progressives, Urban Outfitters (URBN) actually has a conservative core. Its founder and CEO Richard Hayne contributed over $13,000 to Rick Santorum during his term as a Pennsylvania senator.

Exxon Mobil (XOM), meanwhile, has consistently gotten a score of zero in the Human Rights Campaign's (or HRC) annual Corporate Equality Index, which examines the level of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality in American workplaces. In 2012, for the first time, the oil and gas giant actually received a negative score.

On the flip side, high-profile public companies like JC Penney (JCP) and Google (GOOG) have come out publically in support of gay marriage. Besides hiring openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson, JC Penney put out a Father's Day ad in June that featured a male same-sex couple with their child. Tech behemoth Google has also launched a new "Legalize Love" campaign, which aims to push for the legal recognition of gay rights in countries like Singapore, where many homosexual activities are illegal.

(See also: Pride: 10 Milestones and Controversies in Mainstream Gay Advertising, Less Evolved Companies: Five Firms on the Other Side of the Gay Rights Movement and Pride at Work: Best Companies for Gay Rights in Canada and the US)

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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