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ATLANTA -- Chick-fil-A's sales growth continued in 2012, despite last summer's gay marriage/gay rights controversy.

The Atlanta-based fast food chain generated $4.6 billion in sales last year, up about 12 percent from $4.1 billion in 2011.

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Chick-fil-A also opened 96 restaurants in 2012, bringing its count to 1,960 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

It further claimed nearly 7,000 jobs created nationwide through new restaurant openings and existing restaurant growth.

And it gave more than $2 million in scholarships to students through its Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship program, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and two Chick-fil-A Kickoff games.

In summer 2012, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy and the company caught flak from gay marriage support groups after he told Baptist Press-- "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of a family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Cathy addressed the issue in October.