Long before Chick-fil-A chief executive Dan Cathy’s recent remarks regarding gay marriage, the Cathy family has been open and active supporters of Christian traditional marriage.

Through their WinShape Foundation, created in 1984, the owners of Chick-fil-A have donated millions to various causes, including Christian organizations dedicated to preserving traditional heterosexual marriages.

“They are very loving and caring people that want to serve others and help them move toward a healthy marriage,” said Mark Pyatt, co-president of the National Institute of Marriage, a Branson, Mo.,-based Christian group that works with the WinShape Foundation, including holding monthly couples retreats at the foundation’s center at Berry College, a Rome, Ga., Christian college. Chick-fil-A often refers workers, franchise owners and staff who are having problems with their marriage to the institute and other Christian groups focused on marriage.

On July 16, Dan Cathy, 59 years old, was asked in an interview by the Baptist Press, a news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, whether he opposed gay marriage. “We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.…We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families.” The Cathys are Southern Baptists.

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