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. TakeThis

    SOMEDAY SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WILL BE GAY. Could be your own children!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keep your bedroom to yourself...

      wont be yours .... you need a man and a woman for that-

      July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Greg Powell

    This is a test. I'm trying to figure out the CNN filter.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott in Houston

      I just returned from lunch at Chick-fil-A... The food was no better (could it be any better?) or worse than it was yesterday. Call me socially insensitve but I buy my lunch based on my taste buds. I'm not gay, but I am 3 times divorced and I don't feel the least bit offended. Nice to see a business with cajones that aren't wrapped in dollar bills...

      July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keep your bedroom to yourself...

    Actually our laws were founded on the 10 commandments...and for some reason people thought it was ok to shy away from that so much so that something so disgusting as what people do in their bedroom deserved some sort of special rights to do so...next we will be discussing special rights for what people do in their bathroom on the toilet...

    July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      "Actually our laws were founded on the 10 commandments"

      Compared: "I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me"


      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

      You're wrong.

      Also, no one is talking about what gays do in the bedroom except for you, you pervert.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ticktockman0

      Actually, US law is not derived from the 10 Commandments, but rather from British Common Law.

      Marriage should be open to any consenting adults, regardless of their orientation. Otherwise, it is a special right granted to straight people.

      If you find what people do in their bedrooms disgusting, best not to think about it too much.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Equality6

    There are so many ignorant people in this world that it is sickening. We are supposed to be examples to our children and teach them that it does not matter if they are black, white, bown, fat, skinny, gay, straight, or any other different factor they are all people and deserve respect. We are going back to the slave days, where black people were not permitted to use the same bathrooms as white people because it was "Gods" way. Did anyone of you write the bible...no. Everyone interprets it in their own way. Marriage is a sacred bond that is to be shared by two people who love each other and most hetero couples see it as a tax right off . They get married and divorced more times that one can count and. How about the fact that we are not supposed to abuse and molest our children, but that happens on a daily basis. Whether it is by a priest, a parent a school teacher or other adult figures. Is that ok as well since it was not a gay person doing the molesting? Grow up people. There are better things to worry about. We are so consumed with who is sleeping with who, that we forget the fact that the economy is falling apart, the government is a joke and this Country has become the laughing stock of the world. When we start focusing on real issues and stop paying attention to ignorant people such as the President of Chick Fil A who claims he is doing what is right in the eyes of "God" then maybe we can get this country back to a place were it needs to be.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott in Houston

      Why do you even care what "ignorant people such as the President of Chick Fil A" think about gay/not gay... does he make a good chicken should be the deciding factor if you pull into his shop or not. He makes chicken nuggets... not laws.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gkingii

    Being opposed to gay marriage is your right. It does not make you a bigot, or a hater or any other vile word those who disagree with you may use. It is your right. It just makes you opposed to gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • gkingii

      Also, being in favor of the "legal recognition of gay marriage" is not the same as being in favor of gay marriage.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irene

      Your rights end when your opinion about gay marriage is imposed on others. If you oppose it – don't marry a gay. Otherwise, you have no rights to determine others' rights. Imagine how foolish it would be for gay people to try to stop straight people from getting married because in their opinion, only gay people had the right to do so.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nope

    Mr. Cathy shouldn't be driving gays away from being customers. They could be his biggest supporters, since Chick-fil-a food tastes like ass.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      Now that was funny

      July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    I applaud Chick-Fil-A, the company that gave me my first job and where I worked 3.5 years until I graduated and then joined the Navy which I served for over 30 years. I too have the same BELIEF as Chick-Fil-A. I am white and married to an African-American, oldest of 5 was gay and yougest of 5 is gay...gee, am I a hate monger and racist too?! You progressives kill me and I venture to say the overall population are not as accepting to gay marriage as you want everyone to believe. The media is as corrupt as our government and your pollings are meaningless because they are tainted.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greg Powell

    Okay, so a simple non-offensive sentence gets through. Hmmm...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jon

    methinks mr cathy doth protest overmuch...

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

    So after this, I'll attempt my original post again.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. katolungile

    AA's will still eat there...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Curtis

    I am a christian and I love everyone including gay people. I am also a very strong christian. I hate to use pentecostal or evangelical, but you catch my drift. However, even though I love everyone, the act of being gay is wrong, unholy and unbiblical. I did not make the rules. It is clear for all to see in the Bible. Remember Sodom and Gommorah..Paul also talks about it in the New Testament. Let us even leave the Bible for a second, the question I ask gay people is that " Do you think that part of your body was made for what you are putting in it?" This is plain common sense, that is not what it was meant for. Also, if you insist that gay is good, if all of us are gay, how do we reproduce and would all of us not go extinct.. Even gay people know in their heart of hearts that the habit is wrong...If you come to God for forgiveness and live in his Word everyday, he can help you kick that habit...Public opinion can never make something right or wrong..The TRUTH does not change...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      Hate the sin not the sinner. Dont think gay people think its wrong in any way shape or form. Even deep in there hearts. I must say that even though I am not a Christian I do respect your stance.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Val Van Heiss

    Boycot them!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul

    I am amazed that a work of fiction, such as the Bible, has created so much hate over the years.
    Either Christians are really forked up or God is wickedly cruel.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. For all the haters

    So you haters will buy Made in China products which means you support the exploitation of Chinese workers in slave-like conditions?? And you shop at places where CEO's steal money and leave our low-on-the-totem-pole workers with minimum wages salaries, so you must support that ideology.. yet you want to protest a business because of their personal beliefs. It's not like they are bashing certain types of people openly on a daily basis, they respect people. I don't believe in the Islamic religion, but I still shop at Halal stands and buy products from Muslim managed companies. You people are craaaazy. I love Chick-fil-A...you guys still have me as a customer!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Well I am sure that they are balls out pleased they have an illiterate as a comsumer.
      Hang in there Biff!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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