The PR department at Chick-fil-A has remained mostly tight-lipped about its president’s comments regarding traditional vs. same-sex marriage. Aside from denying rumors of Facebook hijinks
and releasing a statement early in the crisis
, the company has at least tried to keep a low profile.
However, the owner of Chicago’s only Chick-fil-A franchise has taken PR matters into her own hands, issuing a press release
in which she requests a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“We are not a corporation—we are real people and taxpayers as each Chick-fil-A franchise is independently owned and operated,” said Lauren Silich in the press release. “We are Chicagoans who are dedicated to serving our community.”
On Wednesday, Emanuel lent his support to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who moved to block the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward.
“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” the mayor said. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
Silich, a former reporter according to her LinkedIn page
, said in the press release that her location has created 97 jobs in the city this year and that her passion is building future leaders, regardless of sexual orientation. In an interview on Thursday, she told the Chicago Tribune
that gay people work at her restaurant.
Last week, Chick-fil-A President Don Cathy told the Baptist Press
that his company supports traditional marriage and said, “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”
The comments sparked a severe backlash online, in which angry commenters flooded the company’s Facebook page. It offered a response, promising to leave the same-sex marriage discussion to the political arena, but it was too late. Boycotts had begun, and the mayor of Boston—like Ald. Moreno in Chicago—prevented a Chick-fil-A from opening in the city.
Meanwhile, several prominent politicians and church leaders have rallied to Chick-fil-A’s side. Rev. Billy Graham on Thursday issued a statement in support of the restaurant chain
, praising Don Cathy and his wife “for their strong stand for the Christian faith.” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as well as one-time GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum have also spoken out in support of Chick-fil-A.