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Chick-fil-A opens branch at Calgary airport

Fast-food chain downplays controversy over gay-marriage opposition

American fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which sparked outrage for its donations to anti-gay organizations and its stand against gay marriage, opened for business at Calgary International Airport May 27. Credit: chick-fil-a.com

An American fast-food chain that was subject to a series of protests over its donations to anti-gay organizations and its stand against gay marriage opened for business at Calgary International Airport May 27, the Calgary Herald reports.

The report quotes Chick-fil-A’s director of licensing as saying that the business is focusing on serving customers with “honour, dignity and respect,” saying it is known for its “great hospitality and incredibly great food.” 

The controversy over Chick-fil-A’s donations, which reportedly began in the early 2000s, and its opposition to gay marriage, was stoked in the summer of 2012 after president and chief operating officer Dan T Cathy’s “guilty as charged” statement confirming his company’s stance that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

He was also quoted as saying, “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 define what marriage is about.”

Cathy’s statements sparked a series of boycotts and counter-protests, eventually prompting Chick-fil-A to try to back out of the situation, saying it would leave the debate over same-sex marriage to the political hustings.

Chick-fil-A’s licensing director, Cheryl Dick, told the Herald that the chain does not want to draw attention to that history, adding that Cathy’s remarks reflect his personal views.

In March this year, Cathy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had “learned a lot” from the experience but indicated that his views on gay marriage had not changed. “I know others feel very different from that and I respect their opinion and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.”