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. Tobin

    Go Chik Fil A!!!!!!!!! Note to all Gays: You CANNOT and WILL NOT make us accept your lifestyle CHOICE.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • PK

      If they CANNOT and WILL NOT make you accept their lifestyle choice, why do Christians try to force everybody on the planet into their religious beliefs?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kim Ebert

    Things I love about Chick-fil-A: 1) their awesome chicken, and 2) they're closed on Sundays because I miss those days when we all rested. This is what I don't love about Chick-fil-A: the anti-gay thing. What I'm not going to do is boycott their delicious product anymore than I would want their employees to boycott my services. And I'm not going to act like Michael Moore and park a pink bus in the parking lot while speedo glad boys grope each other on the roof. What I will do is respect their right to have a differing view, live my life as best I can, and pray we can talk without shouting.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norma

      I agree with your points, Kim, but have myself chosen to boycott CFA. It's not the different viewpoints, but the fact that they give large donations to organizations that support an anti-gay agenda. I can't in good faith give them my dollars, knowing they they may go to support something with which I inherently disagree. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/chick-fil-a-anti-gay-group-donations-_n_1644609.html

      July 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee Brock

      lol, yeah im not crazy about their stance. With that being said chickfila might as be selling crack bcuz im hooked.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gurgi

    Sooo, what right does everyone else have that gays don't have? Not a single one. And don't pull the "marriage" stuff. They have the same right to marry someone of the opposite s3x as everyone else has. So gays have no leg to stand on, they are not denied any right that everyone else has. They want "more" rights.
    That statement cannot be disputed in any way shape or form.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You're an idiot. Yes, gays have the same right as you do to marry someone they DON'T love but they cannot marry someone that they do.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJake4479

      you mean, except for the fact that your statement is 100% wrong and you have no clue what you're talking about?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Umm....maybe you should research what being gay means before you make embarassing comments like that.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Of course you realize that doesn't make any sense. How is wanting the right to marry "more rights". Your statement is equivalent to stating that blacks were never discriminated against, they had the rights, they could wear makeup and pretend to be white!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      I just love all your "apples to oranges" comparisons. You are making stuff up because you cannot prove my statement wrong. Please, try to prove my statement wrong without trying to change the meaning or putting in additional words. I would love to see it done.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. government cheese

    Quit trying to gay up my chicken!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jeremiah

    Why is it ok for Gays to disagree with the views of Chick-fil-a but not ok for Chick-fil-a to disagree with gays. They have different views, they are not banning gay people from eating there. If gays want people to tolerate their beliefs they should tolerate other peoples opinions too.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Susan Tetewsky

    I disagree with Chick-Fil-A and the only way I can protest is to not patronize them any longer. My money, my choice.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • liz48

      Sure! keep your money and see how far that gets you....

      It is only G-d's Mercy that says He sends rain on the just and the unjust, that keeps abominations alive...but there is a point where man will answer for all deliberate sin...

      July 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • stronghold

      The same right that Gays have by wanting to be respected, these people also have the same right to their beliefs. We need to understand that IT IS NOT MANDATORY to agree with someone's lifestyle. Gay people call begot those who dont accept their lifestyle, so should we call you names for not accepting ours?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      No one says you have to agree with anyone's lifestyle. You're just not allowed to demand that others be treated as second class citizens because of your irrational prejudices.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tobin

    Go Chik Fil A!!!!!!!!! Note to all Gays: You CANNOT and WILL NOT make us accept your lifestyle CHOICE. Its not OK to be GAY!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • nick

      So if it's a choice when did YOU choose to be straight? All this ignorance disgusts me

      July 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • PK

      LOL if the Gays cant make you accept their lifestyle then why is it ok for Christians to try to make the entire world live according their beliefs?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tatman

      Note to Tobin, I need my cape back....I've got chicken to protect!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ravi Chandran

      Way to go Tobin. I wonder how your note got in because if you are not in favor of this perversion you are not main stream and CNN will likely not publish your comments. It is enough. Its high time Americans stood up to this nonsense. Chandran

      July 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. amazing1

    What makes any of us so different from Chik Fil A??? We all have opinions, thoughts, and spiritual beliefs. Just because they are willing to openly stand by them doesn't make them any different.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ggillis

    I'm sure if the company discriminated against rednecks that most of the people on here would be screaming their heads off! Losers! Enjoy your fat riddled fried chicken. And by the way, I used to love Chickfila, but I will not support a company that discriminates against any one.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dano

    Michael Cole-Schwartz is a pretty lousy director of communications.

    He says Chik-Fil-A is discriminatory, but how are they discriminating? You can have an opinion in this debate without discriminating. They don't intentionaly NOT hire gays and lesbians, just like they don't NOT hire atheists or buddhists.

    Where's the discrimination? It sounds like Mr. Cole-Schwartz is spreading his anti-gay propaganda to further his organization's agenda that everyone who has an opposing opinion MUST be a horrible person!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Square One

    This makes me more inclined to eat there. The very few gays that want to stop eating there won't make a dent. They are such a minority, and the power they perceive to have is false, and boosted by the gay loving media. I've never tried chick-fil-a, but now I'll eat there daily. Thanks for not being afraid of the militants!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. liz48

    The threat of the gay community is to threaten to not solicit these businesses...If a business truly worships G-d and not the dollar, they will not cave into such pressure; and G-d will show up to bless the companies that stand for Him...

    July 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Becca

    I do not see why it is necessary for a restaurant chain to announce their stance on gay marriage. It just seems like it does not matter. They are not running for office

    July 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cow

    eat mor chikin

    July 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Keep your bedroom to yourself...

    I don't want to hear about your bedroom. What or whom you do in your bedroom does not make you special, or a community, or deserving of some special right. Marriage should be between a man and woman as if follows the same natural order of all animal species – IE: You need a male and a female to create offspring thus keeping a species from extinction thus the whole reason marriage was created (that's also how we generate more well balanced people in our society). When Adam and Steve can create life on their own then you can have marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
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