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.

[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.

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soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Rob

    At least they have the guts to go on the record rather than secretly funneling money to anti-gay marriage amendments like other companies that are too scared to say where they stand and how they are using the profits made from their customers.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. i12bphil

    Bigotry is defined as "intolerance of viewpoints that differ from your own". Funny how all the folks who claim to be tolerant are in fact also the largest bigots. Hypocrisy rears its head again.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Yep, "Christians" are some of the worst hypocrites around.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Being intolerant of bigotry doesn't count as bigotry.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • damienadupont

      What do you call cherry-picking a definition? That's only the most general possible definiton of the term. Here's a more useful one: The character or mode of thought of a bigot; obstinate and unreasonable attachment to a particular creed, opinion, practice, ritual, or party organization; excessive zeal or warmth in favor of a party, sect, or opinion; intolerance of the opinions of others. And another: Intolerance or prejudice, especially religious or racial; discrimination (against); the characteristic qualities of a bigot.

      Standing up for people whose civil rights are questioned on religious superiority grounds isn't bigotry. If it is, then any expression of opinion is bigotry and the term has lost any usefulness.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lynn Walker

    Biblical definition of marriage? So that would include concubines and marrying your sister-in-law if your brother dies?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob & Inky, Maryland

    Wife (of 52+ years) & I just returned from Chic-Fil-A – it was scrumtious! Hey – nobody even asked whether we are married or married together and they won't ask you either. If you are an LGBT couple or not, then just shut up and eat!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Time to join the REAL world, Cathy. You want to be a bigot? I certainly hope you go broke. and your children come out of the closet.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. vic torrey

    "Hey, listen up people. IF you disagree with me on a moral issue you are a Bigot, Intolerant, Ignorant Person, stuck in a "blast from the past. You indeed are a Big Nasty Intolerant Bully If You do not agree with me and stand up and cheer for me in every conceivable possible way." You can not be neutral or have an opposing view; that is most Prejudiced, bigoted.....I just love to call people names" Hey, Hey, 'That's Okay, I'm Gay?!!! If you respond negatively me, I'm tellin' Mom, and gonna call you a name-–Got that?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ohhh,,,so tired !

    They didn't say they were anti-gay, they just believe in straight marriage. So do I. But, I don't care what other people do with their private love lifes, it's none of my business. If gays want to get married fine. I don't think I'm bigoted on this, I have no hatred or animosity towards gays. I just believe in straight marriage. Everybody else can do what ever they want.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sam

    I can understand Christians issue with Gay Marriage, I wouldn't want to admit everything I ever believed in was wrong too.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maestra730

    I will be giving Chick-fil-A much more business from now on. They at least have the courage of their convictions. These gay rights fanatics are a pain in the a$$. First they try to ruin the Boy Scouts of America, and now this. Wish they would just shut the heII up once and for all and go about their perverted business in private.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      The gays didn't force Chic-fil-A into bigotry. They did that all on their own.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I'm with you.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • PK

      Enjoy being super super fat. If you aren't already.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. C

    I don't think that I will ever eat at another place. GOING THERE RIGHT NOW!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sumo

    They could say that they support the clubbing of baby seals for all I care. So long as they keep making a quality breakfast burrito, they'll have my business.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    It's a Free country, people can believe what they want. You all need to grown up. Just because the man doesn't agree with gay marriage doesn't make him a bad person. I agree with Chick Fil-A's statement on opposing gay marriage, but you don't see me freaking out about Obama accepting it.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kc in nc

    The line at the Chick Fil A in Wake Forest, NC was out into the street today. Business seems to be booming. I will certainly be supporting them as well.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. C

    Made a hundred dollar donation to the Boy Scouts to make up for the 1% they might lose.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad H

      Good for you! I feel like a Patriot! Its time we all stand up & let our voices be heard... I don't want any Gay or Perverted Men near Little Boys... What is their Motive for wanting to be near little boys??

      July 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ponter B

    President Dan Cathy accomplished exactly what he wanted with his comments, free publicity.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
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