updated - May 22, 2013 Wednesday EDT
A growing number of politicians and CEO's have joined a nearly two-week uproar and counter-uproar over comments regarding gay marriage by Chick-fil-A's president and CEO, Dan Cathy.
Cathy, told the Biblical Recorder, a Baptist journal, in early July that the company was "very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit." In a radio interview in June, Cathy 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.'"
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy 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."
Chick-fil-A has reaped both complaints and praise in the past for contributions to organizations battling same-sex marriage, but those paled in comparison to the social media-fueled uproar that followed Cathy's comments.
This week, mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco warned Chick-fil-A and its CEO Dan Cathy, who's been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, not to pursue new franchises in their cities. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he shares his fellow mayors' concerns and would consider trying to block the chain as well.
"Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away," tweeted San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on July 26, "& I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie donated $2.5 million to the Washington United for Marriage, a coalition that seeks to uphold a gay marriage law that passed in Washington on Friday.
Also in the tech sector, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer have each donated $100,000 to the effort to keep gay marriage legal. Ken Powell, CEO of food behemoth General Mills, has publicly spoken out against Minnesota's proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Paul Singer, founder of financial firm Elliott Management, recently contributed $150,000 to Freedom to Marry, which fights for gay marriage across the nation.
Chick-fil-A said last week, as the controversy was heating up, that it its culture and service tradition "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," said a statement from Don Perry, the company's vice president of corporate public relations, just days before Perry died.
The fast-food chicken restaurant chain has long been known to espouse Christian values, and does not operate on Sundays so that employees can be free to attend church if they choose.
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