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. EndTheHate

    In a press release Chick-fil-A announced that starting August 1st they will only serve right wings and as sholes.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sam

    These "people" are terrified because their kind has already lost the morality war. Gay mariage will exist all over this nation soon. This type of human with this type of "thinking" will simply be consigned to history's dustbin. In the meantime, do not patronize this establishment. I am a happy, healthy lesbian who will marry my lady. It does amuse me that these spiritual philistines can do nothing to stop us. Ha, Ha. Oh, and as for God–She made us too or we wouldn't exist.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • pmn

      Keep dreaming legalizing gay marriage on all states. It won't happen. This company and any company has the right to back or disagree with gay marriage. What really irks me is how you all try to shove it down everybody's throat.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • egm108

      One of the problems in this world, is that some women want to imitate men; and worst some men want to imitate women.
      Chick-fil-A may not be able to stop, but WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES CAN. Just watch...

      July 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. carlos

    I agree with chick fil a.

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

    As a side point, does this mean that they DO discriminate during the hiring, promotional process? Do you have to be a Christian to work at Chik-fil-A? This was a really dumb decision from an ownership standpoint, why toss something like this out in the open when it will likely only hurt business. Bad business decision, stay silent like the rest of the industry and let your product do the talking.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • pmn

      And it was really bad business decision when Starbucks backed gay marriage. Are you going to stop going there? Probably not...probably not as much though.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Buck

    Mmmm mmmm, love those hate filled nuggets.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. adamthefirst

    We support you and your decision, finally a company that will stand up to what most American's believe in!!!! Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • hipforhat

      Clearly you didn't read to the end of the article where it quotes the poll that shows that a majority of Americans actually believe in gay marriage.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • snacks1324

      Think ya missed the last paragraph
      "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%."

      Most Americans...I think not?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CAC

    Don't like their policy – don't frequent their restaurants.

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

      That's the plan.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alexis V

    I'm so glad that Chick-Fil-A is standing by their beliefs. It's refreshing to know that someone in the public eye isn't afraid of it's scrutiny. People may think that Christianity is a "blast from the past," but it's here and now, just as it was 2000 years ago. It aggravates me to know that people who do not agree with other people's beliefs suddenly jump to the conclusion that affirming beliefs is "hate." I have plenty of gay friends and all of them know that I am a Christian. I love all of my gay friends to pieces and I wish them the best, but they know that I don't support gay marriage. That doesn't mean that I "hate" all gay people, or that I "hate" the idea of gay marriage. I just don't support it, and I believe that Chick-Fil-A doesn't hate gay people either. I also think that it's a double-edged sword to ask a Christian based company whether or not they support gay marriage... You already know the answer before you ask, but if they say otherwise, then they lose support from the Christian community. It just makes no sense to get all upset about it.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • awasis666

      Do you tell your gay friends that they are going to hell?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. awasis666

    I hope that they don't use any gay chickens, that would be a sin.

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

    Big deal. They're a private company....they can do what they want. They aren't hurting anyone. If it upsets so many people then they will go out of business.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keep your bedroom to yourself...

    @ indorri – 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 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Keep your bedroom to yourself...

    still wont be yours....you need a MAN and a WOMAN for that...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 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.
    So far, no one has been able to prove the above statement wrong. Everything has been tried, mostly using "apples to oranges" comparisons, or putting in words or changing the meaning, or just being insulting, thereby being the "hateful bigot" they accuse others of being.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |

    Poison peddler is also a hate peddler. Do yourself a favor an eat healthier.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JDF

    How can anyone take CNN serious. Thats likely the only thing going for them, becsides licking Obamas BUTT.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
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