Evangelist Billy Graham has come to the defense of Chick-Fil-A, whose president, Dan Cathy, has been widely criticized for his opposition to gay marriage.

Cathy unleashed a firestorm of controversy when he said gay marriage is “inviting God's judgment on our nation.” He pivoted in a subsequent interview, insisting “we don't have an anti-gay or anti-anything policy or attitude toward anybody that's out there.” Between 2003 and 2010, Chick-Fil-A gave nearly $5 million to groups opposed to gay rights, according to Equality Matters.

On Thursday, Graham issued a statement praising founder Truett Cathy and his son Dan Cathy for “their strong stand for the Christian faith.”

“I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-Fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values,” Graham said.

“Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God's word. I appreciate the Cathy family's public support for God's definition of marriage.”

The 93-year-old Graham also said he plans to visit a Chick-Fil-A next Wednesday in support of Mike Huckabee's “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.”

(Related: Rick Santorum supports Mike Huckabee's “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.”)

In May, Graham spoke out in support of North Carolina's gay marriage ban.