NOVATO (CBS SF) – Chick-fil-A, the fast food chain that was thrust on the front lines of the same-sex marriage debate last month, has purchased a restaurant with plans to open a new location in Marin County.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, the Atlanta-based chain purchased the Carl’s Jr. site on Rowland Way in Novato this July with plans to remodel and open as a Chick-fil-A sometime over the next two years.

The company became a flash point in the gay rights debate when president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press last month that the company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.” Gay rights groups and others answered with calls for boycotts, while opponents of same-sex marriage rallied in support of the company.

In the Bay Area, those demonstrations were mostly limited to the one existing location in Fairfield. The company has plans to expand to Walnut Creek and Mountain View in the future, which have prompted renewed calls for protest, according to the IJ.

On Twitter last month, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he doesn’t want the restaurant chain to come any closer to San Francisco than the Fairfield franchise.

Marin residents have voted overwhelmingly democratic in recent elections, with President Obama garnering a larger percentage of the vote than in his home county of Cook County, Ill. during the 2008 election.

Company officials have pledged to avoid comment on political issues in the future.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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