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. Greg Powell

    "God hates sin like a mother hates the cancer that is killing her child." ~A.W. Tozer

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

      and how would Tozer know that, did he talk to this 'god'?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      But the cancer is God's plan. How can she hate God's plan?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      If there were a god I would bet the one he would hate is you ! Too bad you just don't see it !

      July 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Paul

    Please open more locations, would like to visit and keep your business going!

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

    ""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."

    He is not only against gay marriage, apparently he is also against those who are married to their second or third wife. I wonder if those individuals agree with his message and support his business...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mr Dalloway

    Oh by the way, the time will come very soon when gay people WILL be able to marry in all 50 states.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      not in mine it won't

      July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Danica Wolfe

    I will never understand why it is ok for one side to stand up for what they believe but when the opposing side stands up for what they believe in it's called hate. Chick-fil-a's stance is not hate, it's what they believe in. Those who bash Chick-fil-a are as intolerant as the ones they criticize.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mojojuju

      One stance gives people rights. The other stance takes away those rights based on a genetic condition. Therefore, one stance is based on hate, the other on human rights. Not that hard to understand, for the critical thinker.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • marianny

      hi! i think is okay that he stands what he believes in, the problem is that he has a business open to the public, everyone. So, some of his customers many not be happy. As me, my opinion may be offensive to someone closed to me, but the greater amount of people you affect, the greater the news is.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • emptydesire

      You obviously have no idea how to think from someone else's point of view and be the victim of oppression.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Truthbetold

    Society eventually evolves. Businesses like these won't exist in future generations but they have right to support whatever they wish.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JPopNC

      That's what they said when CFA didn't open on Sunday's and now look at them. This won't hurt them an ounce and in fact will probably boost their business as those who support them will make an effort to visit today.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      they will be around for a very long time

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

    Awesome...I'm going to eat there in honor of their stance today!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gaucho420

    I was going to try one out, as I hear they're' quite good...but not anymore. Family values is a nice way of saying gays shouldn't share in the same rigths as everyone else, based on religious beliefs. Due to this, I will now never eat at Chick-fil-a, as I don't share their beliefs. Chick-Fil-A will never see my dollars and I made sure to let everyone I know about their anti-gay stance, multiplying the effect.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. m

    They didn't say they would not serve gay people just that they don't support gay marriage. Boycotting will not harm Chic Fil A. People shouldn't eat fast food anyway, it's really bad for you. We should boycott all fast food because it's making us Fat Americans.

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

    From what I see in this article, he stated his belief, not his intention to take actions that are hurtful to gays. I'm going to put my pitchfork back in the shed now.

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

    As a gay man, I've continued to eat at Chick-Fil-A simply because I like their food ... but now that the CEO has made it official that he considers me less worthy of equality under the law and human dignity, I've decided to leave Chick-Fil-A behind.

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

    I think people need to realize everyone has a right to religion. We may not like what they think and thats okay. They have that right that is what makes us different here in the US. We have that Freedom. We dont have to agree to disagree. We always trying to change others beliefs. Let them be them.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mojojuju

      They absolutely have a right to their beliefs. Nobody in this entire thread has said they don't. The commenters just said they'd exercise their rights not to choose that restaurant because they don't want any of their money being sent to pay for anti-gay causes. Chik-fil-A has sent a couple million bucks to anti-gay causes. So if you buy their sandwiches, you're indirectly helping support that. I don't want to have even a penny of my hard-earned money going to support fear-based initiatives.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr President

    @Take This – That's why I plan to take my kids for fast food to Chik-Fil-A instead of McDonalds or Burger King so that they can grow up straight

    July 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brenda Hamblin

    I agree completely with owner of chic-fil-A's stance on gay marriage. I will continue to support this business every time I get a chance. Our nation was founded upon Christian morales and now liberals and the media have made a mocker of living according to the Bible. Our nation will be judged. Drqughts and storms to name a few.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mojojuju

      If you honestly think that two girls kissing makes a drought, you need to pull your head out of the sand and go back to fifth grade. I pity you. I do. Your ignorance (and lack of historical perspective!) are staggering. You DO know that biblical marriage used to include polygamy, right? That's some traditional marriage for ya.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. steven lewis

    Chick-Fil-A is correct in one regard, the Bible does mention marriage! This took place thousands of years ago and it is not the word of God! Not one chapter of the Bible has been verified as written by God! Even though the Bible mentions marriage, it is the various Government that makes it LEGAL. When a Government requires a License for Marriage, then that Government should not discriminate! This Country alledgely is founded on Religious Freedoms, but too many people want to force their Religion down the throats of the rest of us. Separation of Church ans State is a must for this Country to survive based upon the principals of which it was founed!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • krissa

      Hmmm...actually I believe it is the Atheists that are trying to force their beliefs down our throats.

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