Chick-Fil-A on Thursday released a statement claiming it remains neutral on the issue of gay marriage and stating that it respects every person regardless of sexual orientation.

The statement was given to CNN and posted on Chick-Fil-A's official Facebook page.

“The Chick-Fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” spokesman Don Perry said.

The statement follows comments made by Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy.

(Related: Ed Helms boycotts Chick-Fil-A over anti-gay marriage stance.)

On Monday, Cathy told the Baptist Press that his company was “guilty as charged” of supporting groups opposed to gay rights.

In an interview on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy defended that support.

“I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'” Cathy said. “And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Company spokesman Perry reiterated that Chick-Fil-A is a faith-based business.

“Chick-Fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-Fil-A family.”

Between 2003 and 2010, Chick-Fil-A gave nearly $5 million to groups opposed to gay rights, according to Equality Matters.