"Families are very important to our country," Cathy told WXIA-11. "They're very important to all of us that are concerned about being able to hang on to the heritage that we have. We support biblical families, who've always been a part of that."
The TV station asked Cathy about the company's position on marriage during an interview at Cathy's Rock Ranch in Georgia. The station said it was invited to do an interview about the ranch and its fall events, and that Cathy knew ahead of time the station was going to ask about his marriage views that have stirred nationwide controversy.
"Chick-fil-A's focused on families," Cathy said. "We've always been that way. We're a family-owned business. We're led by a family and our restaurants are operated by families, and we serve millions of families every week at Chick-fil-A."
During the summer, gay groups and some mayors criticized Chick-fil-A after Cathy told the Biblical Recorder newspaper the restaurant is "very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit." A radio interview then surfaced in which he had 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.'" Chick-fil-A's donations to groups that support biblical marriage also became an issue.
The criticism became so great that hundreds of thousands of Chick-fil-A supporters -- looking to speak out for the restaurant and for religious liberty -- took part in a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day organized by Mike Huckabee, which became the most successful single day in Chick-fil-A's history.
In September, media outlets reported that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop funding pro-family groups in order to get approval for a restaurant in Chicago. That led to more outcry from the very supporters who stood in line for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and led the company to say its corporate giving had "been mischaracterized" for many months and that it will continue to fund programs that "strengthen and enrich marriages."
Cathy released a statement telling Huckabee, "There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been."
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net