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. smg3306

    Wow what a distortion of the truth by CNN. Another reason why i do my best to stay away from mainstream news. They are all bought and paid for.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. smg3306

    I do believe that the consumer has a right to boycott any business that does not adhere to their beliefs. That why over six hundred thousand people have boycotted Home Depot for their participation in Gay Pride Parades thoughout the country. That is an individuals choice.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GK

    Cynic, unless of course, its someone who disagrees with your opinion.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nunya

    Woooosaaaahhhhhhh people wooooosaaaaahhhhhhhh who gives a flying chicken patty about any of this pro or con BS... the truth of the matter is: this establishment has always been this way, they will not change. Humanity will always try to find fault in what one person believes to be true or false... that's why we ALL have freedom of choice, hey Joe blow DECIDES that he rather be with john does instead of plain Jane and chik-fil-a DECIDES that Joe blow and plain Jane is the bees knees... who cares!

    July 26, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. pat

    "We are very supportive of the family" somehow translates into "we hate gays and lesbians"?!! Who would not support the concept of family? And who should ever hate anyone – gays, lesbians or Chik-fil-a owners? In the end, we are all more alike than we are different. I applaud the Cathy family for choosing values over volume. They have re enforced a positive value; it is a choice to take offense at this. Publicly admitting that I like chicken does not mean that I hate vegetarians.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brenda

    What exactly did that say that was hateful? That they are supportive of the biblical definition of the family unit? There were NO hateful words in their comments, very much the opposite of what I see here in support of gay marriage here. I personally believe that G/L community can do what they want and have whatever family they want, but there is ZERO hate in Cathy's comments. Some of you should be ashamed. We all have the right to believe what we want. Stop forcing YOUR opinions on others.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jean Morris

    Stick to your principals, Chick-fil-a, you are doing what is right. If more companies had not compromised their beliefs, our country would not be in the terrible shape it is in today. My prayers are with you.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      So you approve what Chick fil a is doing? How would you feel if they discriminated against people who are divorced, or children born out of wedlock? It seems that the Religious people pick and choose what they take out of the bible.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      They are doing what they think is right, not what is right. Not your call to make.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter Williams

      Everybody wants to quit eating at Chick Fil A because they dont support gay marriage? When are they going to quit using gasoline because OPEC executes gays???

      July 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gerg

    Why say anything at all? Something else my have been ready to break, otherwise, why risking alienating customers? Stupid, stupid, stupid, that we have to endure this kind of crassness everyday.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. icemaster

    Chick Fil A will show an increase in sales after all this is blown over. They will continue their mission statement. They have the freedom to because they are a privately held company. If you want to go after CHICK FIL A, compete with a new company called CHICKS ARE GAY and good luck. In the meantime Chick Fil A will become stronger because their demographic is the American family with traditional values. CFA wins. Now, can we please all be nice to each other? (didn't think so)...

    July 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Their demographics was people like me that hate discrimination. I literrally would spend thousands eating at chick-fil-a. Chick fil-a is on the wrong side of history on this one. Never eating there again.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Midel

    Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vibrant clear concept

    July 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EKIA

    The left is bigoted against anyone who holds different beliefs then them.

    July 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Angela Bradley

    Makes me want to eat more chicken!!! What happened to freedom of speech?? There is nothing wrong with having or stating your own opinion in this country the last time I checked.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. smg3306

    What we have is a collision of cultures. And both sides believe that they are the "Good Guys". The Gay and Lesbian group believe that they have the right to live as they see fit. And the Christian group believe in a moral standard.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. smg3306

    A long time from now when we all all gone this will be true. But you have to ask yourself this question. What did i do to make this world a better place and extend a hand to help others in need? What would Jesus do? I think he would always reach out to anyone who needed a hand and do it in love. But he would always show them the right direction to go in if they are on the wrong path.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. smg3306

    Remember and read Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We all started at the same place. Lost!!

    July 27, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
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