ATLANTA – Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, addressed what he considered misleading media stories about the company’s stance on homosexuality, by issuing a statement.

“I feel strongly about the need to clarify some things,” he said. “In recent weeks, we have been accused of being anti-gay. We have no agenda against anyone. At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions. We seek to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect, and believe in the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.

“We also believe in the need for civility in dialogue with others who may have different beliefs,” he added. “While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.”

Chick-fil-A has a long history of trying to encourage and strengthen marriages and families, he continued, both within the Chick-fil-A system and with its customers.

“My father and our founder/CEO, Truett Cathy, is a role model for the Cathy family and all those who have joined Chick-fil-A,” Cathy said. “His personal and business values have always reflected a belief in the importance of marriage and family. We have seen these principles honored powerfully in Dad's marriage of more than 63 years to our mother, Jeannette, and those of his family, including my wife, Rhonda, and me in our 37 years of marriage.

“At Chick-fil-A, we have a heart for helping marriages because we know marriage can be difficult at times,” Cathy said. “Through the years, we have supported our Chick-fil-A staff and franchised Operators in their marriage journey, and since the formation of our family foundation, the WinShape Foundation, we have helped others as well. Primarily through WinShape, we have supported summer camps for girls and boys, 14 foster homes, more than $26 million in college scholarships and the development and operation of the WinShape Marriage Retreat Center.”

Some recent coverage has incorrectly reported that the company requires potential franchisees to discuss their church involvement, Cathy said. “In addition, we do not require this in our franchisee selection process nor do we require a pledge to follow Christian values for the college scholarships we provide,” he added.

“Chick-fil-A's corporate purpose is ‘To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A,’” Cathy continued. “As a result, we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. This decision has been made, and we understand the importance of it. At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles.”