Chick-fil-A Gay Marriage Controversy Heats Up

Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 12:21 PM

By Andra Varin

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Those Chick-fil-A cows may have a hard time persuading people to "Eat Mor Chikin."

The controversy over company President Dan Cathy’s remarks against gay marriage has sparked a backlash that continues to grow. The Jim Henson Co.’s Muppets cut ties with the fast-food chain. The mayors of Boston and Chicago have declared they do not want Chick-fil-A expanding in their cities.

Gay rights advocates have called for protests at the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant next week in California. They are urging gay couples to kiss publicly in Chick-fil-A outlets around the country on Aug. 3, which is National Same-Sex Kiss Day.

Cathy said in an interview last week that he tries to operate the privately held company on “biblical principles.” Asked whether that meant the chain had an established position against same-sex marriage, he replied, “Guilty as charged.”

The Georgia-based company, which rakes in about $4 billion a year, could see a 1 percent to 2 percent decrease in sales if the furor doesn’t die down soon, Peter Saleh, director and senior restaurant analyst for the Tesley Advisory group told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Experts said they were surprised that Chick-fil-A had let itself become embroiled in such a highly charged issue.

“Most brands try to steer away from political stands because they are so polarizing,” Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, told the paper.

Chick-fil-A declined to comment on the AJC article. The chain previously said it aims “to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. “

“Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” a company statement said.

Not all the response has been negative. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hosts a Fox News show, has declared next Wednesday National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. He is urging people to eat at the chain to show support for Cathy.

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