A manager at Chick-fil-A, a company opposed to equal marriage rights for gay couples, has come out as co-sponsor for a gay pride event next week.

Anthony Picolia, manager of the only branch in New Hampshire, has announced he is to co-sponsor the New Hampshire Pride Festival set to take place on 11 August in Manchester, NH.

He released a statement, the New York Daily News reports, saying: “In both my personal and professional life, I have had, and continue to have, positive relationships with family, friends, customers and employees in the LGBT community, it would make me sad if someone felt that they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

A divide has been growing recently, with many customers, gay and straight, boycotting the fast-food chain, whilst others have stood up in support of their recent announcements.

As well as being generally opposed to equal marriage, Dan Cathy, President, has signalled the company’s substantial donations to Focus on the Family, Exodus International and the Family Research Council, both opposed to gay marriage.

Today, gay rights activists are set to stage a same-sex ‘kiss-in’ in front of, and inside branches of fast food chain Chick-fil-A across America in protest to their anti-gay stance.