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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MissMerica/status/225806557227667457%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/danforthfrance/status/225812600171139073%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheEvilWesley/status/225760117864402944%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/ChuckyMcDaniel/status/225814099492220928%5D

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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Brad

    bigotry wrapped in religion is still bigotry.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. JP

    I find it amusing that liberals expose their own double standard of intolerance on these posts. According to them, everyone should be tolerant of other views, except for Chrisitan views. Some complain because Chick-Fil-A has "become religous and political" because of their support for traditional marriage, yet, I know you would not boicott Home Depot who does the same thing just in support of gay marriage. Did someone say double standards?? We will be supporting Chick-Fil-A a lot more now and I trust other Bible believing Christians will do the same. Kudo's to you, Chick-Fil-A!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      because Christie standards are saying others should change their lives based on your beliefs. There's nothing amusing here at all, just the same, tiring and sad spiel from the Christian right that believe their opinions should apply to everyone else

      July 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Surprised?

    Why is that if you don't support the LGBT lifestyle, then you automatically must hate them? That's so ridiculous–a man can't have his own values? If he doesn't support your way, then he's wrong? What happened to having your own set of values and not letting the world dictate what they should be. We're all different, in very complex ways sometimes...this is just another one of them. Get over it.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Donnie the Lion

      Yes, he's WRONG. To support the restriction of a fundamental right is WRONG. ALWAYS WRONG. If God is against gay marriage, He is WRONG. And you can tell Him I said it......I ain't afraid of no holy ghost. Chick-fil-A has greasy food, anyway. The blessing of Sunday is that they are closed and won't be clogging anybody's arteries.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • ktown8

      Exactly! Just b/c someone holds a different set of values doesn't mean they hate you. The LGBT's hold different values and beliefs than others, does that mean they automatically hate them too? Then again, LGBT's are usually the most unaccepting group around. They want you to accept their lifestyle and beliefs, but don't want to extend the same respect for others.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Well said and spot on. Seems like it is the gays are the ones that are "hate filled."

      July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      I completely agree. I mean, we all THINK differently. So, clearly EVERYONE cannot be pleased. It's not like Chick-fil-a was hiding their beliefs from everyone. They are owned by christian families, with christian values, so ...yeah. I'd say that they can say what they want.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Breanne

      I was going to say the same thing. Just because I don't agree with your lifestyle doesn't mean I hate you. I have had many gay friends. I am a Christian, I don't believe what they are doing is right but I still love them. I am not the judge. We are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God. and are only saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

      Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
      For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast

      July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Wondering

      I'm just wondering how many times Chick-fil-A employees have marched in to a gay club, disrupting the music, and shouting things like "Frank Kameny was straight"! I haven't been able to find it yet on google, but I have found the polar opposite. I'm not saying what Chick-Fil-A believes is right or wrong, but I'm so tired of if someone doesn't approve of your beliefs then they must be stupid or evil and deserve to go to what ever hell that group believes. Generally Gay clubs have great music and from my experience are generally very inclusive and want people to have a good time. Also, generally, Christians want people to have peace and just live their lives. Chick-Fil-A stated what they believed when asked. They don't refuse business of anyone I know of and everytime I've been there I've been treated with excellent service. I'm also wondering what happed to "Agree to disagree" and "live, and let live". Some guy once said "Love thy neighbor as yourself". Is not your neighbor's opinion part of your neighbor? Should we recieve respect for our opinons and beliefs if we are unwilling to give that to others? Some say Being Gay is a sin and some say Geometric Print Suits are a sin. I think more should say, "Who cares? If you are happy with your life and I am happy with mine then lets not try to fix a thing that's not broke." The only way we will all ever agree is when we are all dead. And I for one am not willing to waste my life on hate, real or imaginary.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Do you want to deny them quality of a social practice like marriage just because you believe its immoral? if you do, then wake up, you're discriminating

      July 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bradlarochelle

    the conversation about Marriage is so much more than the semantics most people argue. to argue the semantics is to lower the debate and reduce real issues, as if segregation was a discussion of the word "colored".
    to simplify the real issues:
    Can the Gov. tell us who we can/cannot enter into a binding contract with?
    Can we enter a contract with an employer and then join a contract with another person or person's that adds liability to the employer?
    if i can enter into a marriage contract with anybody i want, why can i not enter into a marriage contract with many? what gives the Gov the right to limit my love? if i chose to marry 2 people or 20, is my employer obligated to offer insurance to each of them?
    -light bulbs anyone? this is about money, it always is....
    stop arguing about semantics and think this out.
    as a single man, i could make a business out of marrying non insured singles and putting them on my insurance. or creating a huge tax write-off for everybody.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    I'm intolerant to people who are intolerant to people who are intolerant to people who are intolerant to people who are intolerant to people who are intolerant to people who are gay. HAHA stupid humans. Doesn't matter what side of this argument you are on, we all lose.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Major

    I am sick of these anti-Christian bigots attacking Chik-fil-A for just making a totally non-controversial statement in support of family and God. If you have a problem with what the company is doing, then YOU are the bigot. You are the only full of hate. Not them.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. SH


    July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      That's just plain silly

      July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Toby

    Hmmm, what do we think would happen if all America would adopt this "strange" idea to LOVE their first wife!!!!!What did he say wrong???REPENT AMERICA ,and Turn to Jesus

    July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Take your pulpit and go where someone actually cares. There is no god to repent to

      July 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Laura

    I don't hate or discriminate against people that live a different life style then I do. However, I do feel everyone has a right to believe and express their beliefs. God has ordained marriage between a man and a woman, that's what I believe, why is my belief wrong and theirs right? I will continue to pray for this country and the salvation of it's people.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      You are free to have believe whatever you want, I believe that only gays should be allowed to get married, and will do everything in my power to make it so you can't get married, but i don't hate you.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tv22

    All this guy said was he runs his company with his beliefs but no where in this article or the source article did it say he discriminates or that he has any policies in his company regarding gays, or any other group for that matter. Get over it. If you don't like Christians, eat Chinese Food or go to a Jewish deli, but frankly since most Americans are Christian I'm sure you'll find most restaurant owners are also Christian.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. MM_PDX

    @Peter, the ability to practice one's faith is not in question (nor at any risk of infringement), but the ability to use one's faith to deny basic rights to others is.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • ktown8

      @MM_PDX What exactly is Chick-fil-A denying to gays and lesbians? They don't refuse service to anyone. He is just stating what he believes and values. Just like LGBT's have the right to express and believe whatever they want, so does this man. Stop making it a big deal. If you disagree, then don't eat there. I'm sure they will not suffer from this in any way, shape, or form.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. fintastic

    Hope you enjoy your slack-jawed bigot sandwich Ernie..

    July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. TiredODaCrap

    His business, his belief, and his right to hold each however he chooses. The fact that this is somehow a shock is what is surprising! This is clearly a Christian man who runs is company based on his beliefs. That being the case, what side do Christians usually come down on around this issue? Did anyone honestly think that he would not hold this stance? It isn't like this is the first time Chick-fil-A has been called out on this – or something similar.
    Don't eat there. it's fine – more for the rest of us! I don't choose shoes based on who uses forced child labor or not, cars on how environmental friendly they are, or my supermarket on how they allegedly treat female employees. I make choices based on my idea of the best quality product. There is no better chicken sandwhich on the market, so I will keep eating there.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      You've never been to Quiznos then

      July 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. norma

    Very proud of Chick-fil-A for standing firm on their faith. Truth is truth whether or not others believe it. God tells us truth and it's then up to each person to accept it and live it or not. Chick-fil-A will always have our support for being such a great example of how to be a Christian during these tough times. We can disapprove of a sin without diapproving the sinner. I'm sure that Chick-fil-A proudly serves everyone and shows no difference in the service based on what someone's lifestyle is. Keep strong. God is certainly proud of how you run your business.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. DennisD

    I still love the Chick-fil-A. My family will continue to support and eat there.
    Glad someone has the backbone to stick with their beliefs.
    To bad our country doesn't do the same. 3D

    July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172