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.

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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. Me

    Why in the world do people resort to quickly to the words 'hate' and 'bigot'? That's absolutely insane and lacking intelligence. They're misnomers used solely for the purpose of getting people riled up and pulling people of indifference onto their side because, heaven forbid they be full of hatred.

    I, personally, am a Christian. And I love everyone. I even have gay friends. But I don't support gay marriage, solely because I won't vote to pervert something that God intended for purity. Which is the same reason I don't support divorce, adultery, etc. But I don't hate the people that engage in it. Exactly the opposite. Now, I know that there are certain groups out there that do show hatred in the name of religion, but they are definitely the minority.

    As for bigotry, where do I begin? Just because Chic-fil-a supports some groups that happen to oppose gay marriage, doesn't mean they make a concerted effort to oppose it themselves. Are those groups devoted solely to opposing gay marriage? Or do they have a greater purpose that news media and LGBT activists fail to mention because it might actually cause people to tolerate or even like the group? Also, everyone here is proposing to fight bigotry...with bigotry...hypocrite much? Gosh people, open your eyes and see what you're doing. You're doing the same exact things that you're blasting others for doing.

    I'm going to Disney soon with my family, and I know they support gay rights, and even have a week dedicated to it every year. Does that stop me from going, buying merchandise, letting my child watch their shows? No, because that would be BIGOTRY. Just like the LGBT community practices on a regular basis, while condemning others for doing it. Pure hypocrisy. Are Christians perfect? Not even close. But there's a scripture that says "Don't point out the splinter in another's eye when you have a plank in yours". You may not follow the Bible, but I think that's a pretty good rule to follow any time.

    Find new vocabulary that actually describes the situation instead of not only inciting 'hate' and 'bigotry' in others while simultaneously displaying that same 'hate' and 'bigotry' that you fight against, yourselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Adrian

    You tell me with statement is filled with more hate:
    "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.

    OR

    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.”

    The hypocrisy of the vocal members of the gay community is astounding.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Linda

    I agree 100% with Todd and Bubba. I am sick of hearing just because we stand behind our beliefs and the bible that we hate gays. In other words we are not to have the right to voice but the gays have the right to call names. I am not telling them how to live but do as most of us do– keep your private life to yourself. I am proud to see a major company have the courage to take a stand and wish more would follow the way of the Lord. We will never succeed as a country if we don't start showing we will stand behind our faith and what our country was founded on.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Linda This company and many people that agree with you are donating money to groups working on keeping gay marriage from being legally recognized. That goes beyond a simple belief. That's imposing your beliefs on others' private lives.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Contrary to what The Constsitution of the United States of America says, all men are not created equal.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I completely agree. I am a big patron of Chik and will now start frequenting the establishment even more often. Good for them for having a backbone and standing up for their beliefs.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      Please go wallow in the supernatural and the metaphysical. We will wait here in reality until you get back.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      @Scott B: and there are many other companies that are donating money to groups working on getting gay marriage legally recognized. I'm sure many of these business are patronized by (GASP!) Christians!!! OMG! Does that mean that the Gay community should stap taking THEIR money? NO? How hypocritical! Deal with it – it goes both ways.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      That's fine and dandy, but if you in any way support blocking equal rights (ie. VOTING against marriage) you ARE telling people how to live their lives. You can support someone else's lifestyle without agreeing with it. The "keep private live private" doesn't work if you support active measures against it.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad S.

      @Scott and @Kurt
      So, they exercise their right to apply pressure on the situation. Isn't that exactly what this article is doing anyway?

      I am curious, do they donate to organizations that also attempt to prevent civil unions? (I don't know the answer to this, and I'm genuinely curious.) I'd say at that point, then perhaps they're starting to cross a line from supporting what they believe in, and going into the "let's attempt to enforce our beliefs on others."

      But, if they don't, then what's the problem? It seems at some point, being upset about this is less about the language involved with the word marriage, and more about retribution for past wrongs. When does it go from being for something YOU believe in, to being about forcing someone else to cede their position?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. YouGuysCrackMeUP

    Gay rights people learned this slash and burn tactics from the blacks.... Its the same thing. Replace gay with black and stand amazed. "OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH YOU"RE A RAAAAAACCCCCISSSSTTT OHHHHHHH LOOOK A RACCCIST!!!" They get in groups and try to appear as the majority, just remind yourself their plight is in the low low percentiles

    July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Too bad for you that federal judges have recently restated that the majority can not stomp on the minority just because they are a minority. Proposition 8 in California is just one example of Christian and Mormon overreach.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Completely agree. Well said.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    i doesnt sound like hateful remarks, they just said they believe something different and will suport their beliefs. what is wrong with that.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. sybaris

    Belief in any god is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

    July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scott B

    @darkness I agree and commend you for your position. You and others should be free to believe whatever you want and teach your kids the same. On something like marriage that is a personal choice that doesn't harm others, having the government impose those beliefs on others that disagree cross a line though.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. noteabags

    At least they are honest. Adding them to the list of companies and groups that will not receive any of my money.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • JW

      I agree with Dan and I love his food, so I'll give him my money.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jim tom

    I could care less who created the world, or whether someone is up there watching us. It is impossible to know, and it is irrelevant. I live my life by 2 simple rules. 1. Be happy. 2. Help others be happy.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • zippyhead

      Simple truh

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HaveSomeTea

    I'm sorry that Chik-fil-a thinks gay marriage causes more harm than the 830 calories and 36g of fat of their classic #1 meal (more if add a non-diet drink)

    July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. jenipurrr

    While I support marriage for everyone... I do have to say that Chic-fil-a has the right to say and support what they believe in. I feel everyone has the right to marry their parnter, no matter your orientation... but by that same token, the restaurant IS a family biz... and they have always worked that biz according to their belief stance. I don't agree with that stance, but they do have the right to express and support their own agenda. There will always be beliefs that clash... that's just life. Its how we treat each other in the end that matters. This argument over if gay/lesbian couples should be allowed to marry is just absurd. Not all marriages are Christian, so basing a law on biblical principles isn't how it should be done.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    Christianity is about tolerance. I hope CFA can tolerate people going to the library, using their computer to order large amounts of chicken and then forgetting to pick it up.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JW

      Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Jesus forgave sin but he did not tolerate or condone continuing IN sin. Christianity is to live like Christ.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike

    How do they feel over at Pollos Hermanos

    July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tonyl

    A smart businessman would have kept his mouth shut. No comments. Why get political in the business?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JW

      He did the "smart" thing, that's why his business is blessed and expanding at a phenominal rate.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hugo

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

    I followed the link and read the article. I didn't see anything on gay marriage. I searched for the word "gay" and didn't find it in the article.

    Confused.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
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