Chick-fil-A's anti-gay marriage stance has gotten some high-profile support by way of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and other conservative lawmakers. But among their longtime customers, it's a much different story.
Polling organization YouGov found that the Atlanta-based chain's brand approval ratings have plummeted in the wake of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's controversial remarks earlier this month. YouGov also reports that the company's overall consumer brand health among fast food eaters has dropped to its lowest levels since mid-August 2010 in the wake of the media firestorm.
Just before Cathy's interview was published, Chick-fil-A's Index score was 65, well above the Top National Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Sector average score of 46. Just four days later, however, Chick-fil-A's score had fallen to 47, while last week, the chain had a score of 39, compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.
View the YouGov chart below, then scroll down to keep reading:
Among the other brands ranked in the Top National QSR sector are Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, Burger King and McDonald's, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) noted.
Among those not surprised by the plunge was Aaron McQuade, Director of News and Field Media at GLAAD, who called the results "reflective of an America that values and respects its LGBT neighbors and rejects rhetoric like Dan Cathy's that seeks to demean and dehumanize the LGBT community."
"The business world has seen what happens when an organization supports the LGBT community -- which is that the LGBT community and its allies will support it," McQuade noted in a statement. "Now we have empirical proof of what happens when a company rejects the LGBT community. The LGBT community and its allies will reject it."
Although Chick-fil-A's financial contributions to anti-gay organizations like Exodus International and the Family Research Council have been well documented over the years, Cathy's somewhat glib confirmation of the reports ("Well, guilty as charged") in a July 16 Baptist Press interview has since sent both the media and a number of LGBT advocacy groups into overdrive.
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy said in that interview. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
Since then, at least seven petitions have been launched on Change.org, a social activism site, demanding that universities across the country remove existing Chick-fil-A restaurants or prevent new ones from opening.
Mayors in Boston and San Francisco have also weighed in, telling the restaurant chain that they're not welcome in their cities, and the Jim Henson company, which had provided toys for Chick-fil-A kids' meals, announced that it would end its relationship with the company.
Take a look at companies which have faced a backlash after their support of LGBT rights: