July 19th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

Chick-fil-A's gay marriage stance causing a social storm

The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.

But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.

"Guilty as charged," Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.

"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the 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 is quoted as saying.

Strong feelings of support and disagreement have followed, making Chick-fil-A the top Google trend on Thursday morning as the company's Facebook and Twitter pages were burning up with arguments.

"Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote on Facebook.

"Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown.

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"I am truly ashamed of the recent admittance from Mr Cathy about your bigoted company practices. I hate the fact that my money was used for this. I will never support your company (and) will make sure anyone I know does not either," Mikell Kirbis wrote on Facebook. "While I'm not a Christian I know that hate is not in God's plan nor (is) ignorantly picking sections of the Bible to brandish. Good bye and I hope either you change your ways or close down."

But the support for the company was just as vehement.

"Just wanted to say I'm proud that you stand firm in your beliefs. You knew the risks, and still took the plunge. May God bless this company with abundance. Never back down!" said a Facebook post from David Jones.

"Thank you for standing up for what you believe. The truth is not hate. It's just the truth," wrote Sharon R Boyd.

"I love the values that this restaurant stands for and will support it every dang chance I get! Pay no attention to the morons spewing hate!" read a post from Raymond Joy.

Does religion influence what you buy? Share your view on CNN iReport.

Twitter comments were also divided.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, the company said it would stick by its principles, but it tried to withdraw from the heated social media debate over them.

"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," said a statement from Don Perry, the company's vice president of corporate public relations.

The Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, said Wednesday that Cathy's comments gave consumers a clear choice.

“It's strange to say, but it's good to see Chick-fil-A finally admit to their anti-LGBT policies," Michael Cole-Schwartz, the organization's director of communications, told CNN. "Now fair-minded consumers can make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company or take their business elsewhere.  As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.”

Polling shows increasing support for gay marriage in the United States. A CNN/ORC Poll conducted in late May found 54% of respondents favoring the legal recognition of gay marriage with 42% opposed. The poll had a sampling error of 3%.

Let us know what you think about Chick-fil-A's stance in the comments below.

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soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Connie

    I think the biggest offense commited is the fact that someone making a public statement about their beliefs is being judged for those beliefs by anyone and everyone. I personally do not agree with Mr. Cathy, but I believe that as a citizen of the United States, he has the right to his own opinion whether everyone likes it or not. As long as he is not hurting others, or judging them based on their own personal preferences and decisions, noone else has the right to tell him what to say or believe.

    Mr. Cathy: I don't agree with you, but I respect your conviction and the courage it takes to stand behind it.

    To the rest of the news-mongers: I am a Christian, and I am also a lesbian. Whether or not its a sin is between God and me; it is not for anyone else to judge...noone else has that right! I support Mr. Cathy's right to freedom of speech, even if I don't support the message.

    August 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ben

    in the same day CNN reported that Islamic law required 2 adultry suspects to be stoned we have the story about gays as being prevented from marrying by chic fela eaters, why not stoning? / elect those super christian guys and get your stones ready .

    August 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Hana

    Is it funny to anyone else that most hateful and vicious comments come from those who support gay marriage? I take offense when people call me hateful or idiot for no reason other than they disagree with my opinions. Or when they speak hatefully about my God. Please show a little respect.

    August 3, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Geemaw

    Hey Chick-Fil-A isn't the only business or person who does not support gay marriage. I DON'T. So go boycott me. I could really care less. I am a christian as is the Cathy's and I have principals. I believe in the Ten Commandents. I don't believe in thieves, and murderers either. All of the above is sinful as far as my faith goes. But we have to live with them. SO BE IT. But does not mean I have to approve. And I don't. I admire the Cathy's for all the good they do for their community and don't you know the thieves, murderers and the gays benefit in some way. If you don't like what I have to say, take it up with the ALMIGHTY.I

    August 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    People need to wake up ........WE ALL have the right to believe what we want! Are you going to stop doing business with everyone that does not believe the way you do? if so, you better craw into a dark hole someplace. You would be surprised to find out how many people do not believe the way you do in many aspects of your life. GROW UP. You want your rights, to believe the way you want, so let everyone else believe the way they want. LIVE AND LET LIVE!

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  11. Ann

    Values are personal, and not used to intimidate. No one has a right to mock or destroy beliefs that are different from his/her own. A private business has the right to set their own rules, and if those are Christian/Catholic- centered, so much the better! Go somewhere else. Tolerance includes respecting differences, but choosing ways of life/beliefs that mean the most to each person. I value businesses like Chick-fil-A who have Christian-based values. Let's support more of those. Thank you

    August 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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