Another summer, another Chick-fil-A gay-marriage controversy? Not if the chicken chain can help it.
On Wednesday, after the Supreme Court issued its rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, Chick-fil-A President-Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy tweeted his thoughts on the matter: "Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies."
The politically charged comment was quickly deleted, but not before being noticed by blogs and news outlets.
But the swift deletion is also a move that signals that the fast-growing company, which called Mr. Cathy's tweet a "personal comment," is attempting to keep quiet on hot-button policy issues to avoid more PR headaches -- especially as it moves beyond its Southeast origins, expanding to urban areas like New York and Chicago.
A spokesman for the company said in a statement Thursday afternoon: "Yesterday, President and COO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy tweeted a personal comment upon hearing the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8. Dan recognizes his views do not necessarily represent the views of all Chick-fil-A customers, restaurant owners and employees, so he removed the tweet to eliminate any confusion. At Chick-fil-A, we are focused on providing great-tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone."
The response was a much swifter one than last year's reaction to comments by Mr. Cathy that led to a weeks-long controversy.
Last summer, Mr. Cathy spawned a controversy when he affirmed the company's support of what he considers traditional marriage in an interview. "Guilty as charged," Mr. Cathy told Baptist Press last summer. "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
A wave of outrage by marriage-equality activists followed, and the controversy went on for nearly two weeks.