ATLANTA — Chick-fil-A is again in the public relations fryer.
The controversy flared up this week when a Chicago politician said the company was no longer giving to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, angering Christian conservatives who supported Chick-fil-A this summer when its president reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage. Civil rights groups hailed the turnabout, yet the company never confirmed it and instead released two public statements, neither of which made its position clearer.
The events suggest the Southern franchise may be trying to steer clear of hot-button social issues while it expands in other, less conservative regions of the country. In its statement Thursday, the Georgia company said its corporate giving had for many months been mischaracterized.
"Part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us," the statement said. "Chick-fil-A's giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas."
The three-page statement did not say whether that included gay marriages.
The company's response, its second in as many days, was posted on its website after Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno announced the alleged policy change. Moreno said it followed extended negotiations, and as a result, he would no longer try to block a Chick-fil-A from opening in his district.