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. krissa

    Well, I am for gay rights. However, I greatly admire Chick-fil-A for standing up for their beliefs. Nothing they said was bigoted. In fact, the people who are supposedly "gay "or for "gay rights" are the ones being bigoted with their comments. Hypocrisy at its finest. I have only eaten at Chick-fil-A once, but I am purposely going to go there every couple of days and at least spend $50 on food. I'll then donate that to a homeless shelter or someone who is in need. I think this might help make up for some of these people who are protesting this place. One more thing, no one really cares, nor do they even know about this. Once again the media is making this story bigger than what it really is. And standing up for one's beliefs in a respectful, non-bigoted way, is not being on the "wrong side of history". In fact, perhaps it is this vocal minority that really are on the wrong side of history...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brad H

    Funny! This has permanently etched things in my mind... GOING TO EAT MORE CHICKEN!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Reasonable

    I am a Christian who lives in San Francisco. I regularly eat/shop at establishments where I disagree with the owners political positions. I consider that a reasonable and tolerant thing to do. So to all the people saying they will no longer eat at Chick-fil-et...you are being intolerant! If openeness, acceptance, and tolerance are so important, then PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH and continue eating at a place you like or change your message.

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

      Completely agree with you...they hate God's moral laws..they are the ones who are hateful. We show respect to all people, disagreeing with someone doesn't mean you HATE them. If you tell them not to set themselves on fire, even though that's their choice and what makes them happy, it doesn't make you hateful....it just shows you have better sense

      July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • maggotfist

      You actually make a good point, but there is a condition of man which is overlooked these days,...it's called principal.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leonardo

    Can Rush Libaugh or Newt Grinich eat in these resturants?They married and divoced countless times lol

    July 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dp

    I'm assuming I can conclude that the "we" in "we are all married to our first wives" refers to the management and that they are all men.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ugh

    No where in the story does it say Chick-fil-A as a company is against gay marriage or anything for that matter. Simply quotes the owner as saying he is supportive of the biblical definition of marriage, doesn't say, he won't employee gay people, or that his company donates money to fight gay marriage. Quite getting your feelings hurt when people say they don't believe in what you believe in.

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

      it's not what they say it's what they do....contributing millions to anti-gay hate groups

      July 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thank you!

      Exactly! Well stated and I totally agree! LGBT groups need to stop being hypersensitive. There was nothing discriminatory about the comments, simply a position on values, values which many Americans STILL believe, despite the overwhelming media attention that would have you believe if you don't support gay/lesbian marriage you are a "minority". I applaud Chick-Fil-A and anyone stating they will no longer support Chick-Fil-A financially has no basis for that decision. Nothing they said was "hateful". Stop being so insecure!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JB

    Love makes a family, not gender. If someone does not like Chic Fil-A's beliefs, they do not have to patronize their business–I sure won't be. But I don't anyway since I don't like their food.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pmn

    oh for the love of...you know just "can it". Someday there will be fairy dust and we will run in the fields..wake up live in the real world. Some will be gay some people won't. Big deal and deal with it. However, stop shouting for all these rights. You have the same freedoms and rights as anyone else individually.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Patrick Henry

    Finally a company that supports openly there Christian beliefs on their sleeve! We do not pick and choose what we like about the Bible, we just believe and obey. Why is it that when any other religion is threatened for their beliefs, an outcry from the world condemns the assailant? However, this is nothing new for Christian's, Christian's at present are persecuted for their beliefs more today than at any time in their history, were is that outcry for them!
    I too am Guilty as charged, when Cathy said that she is about there company's support of the traditional family unit (based on the Bible) as opposed to gay marriage. Are Christians not to have a voice, or is that reserved for only those who only wish their voices to be heard.
    Christians do not wish to discriminate against Gay’s or anyone, Christians just simply wish to present the Gospel to those who wish to hear. If we as Christians cannot communicate our beliefs to others with equal enthusiasm, than we too have been discriminated on the basis of our religion.
    God Bless everyone,

    July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • J Slivka

      You are right on. This world is so evil that people can't even figure out what GOOD is. Kinda like in the days of the Judges....everyone did what was right in their own eyes. It's like drunk people walking off a cliff, they are having fun on the way to the cliff, but it's still a cliff they are heading for. But we are hateful for caring enough to tell them that God knows best.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FLIndependent

    Okay, here's the thing...everyone has a right to their own beliefs and has freedom of speech. However, some things from certain people are better off left unsaid. Everyone knows Chick Fil A is closed on Sundays due to their religious beliefs so it isn't a far stretch to learn the owner is anti-gay marriage. I like Chick Fil A and am disappointed that the owner would go public in his stance as he is causing division and controversy where there need not be. I imagine he's going to see picketing in front of his restaurants now and I would say rightly so. The world would be a much better place if we could just leave our "beliefs" to ourselves and treat eveyone as human beings. Gay people are just as human as non-gays and deserve the same rights and priveleges. If they want to marry then so be it...the world WILL NOT END because of it.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lord Vokk

    Just remember, lack of support does not equal hate. In today's world we always want the extreme, Christians DO NOT hate gay people, they simply can uphold gay marriage, because that would be upholding sin. Everyone is sinners, and Christians do not hate everyone, to Christians being gay is just another sin.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. maggotfist

    DAMN! And I eat there every week once a week for breakfast,...well used to anyway. Where will I find delicious biscuits for breakfast now!?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris Jones

    Chick-fil-A is a wonderful company that has the right and freedom to support God's plan for marriage without being labeled as hateful. To disagree with the liberal redefinition of marriage is not hate. Where's the tolerance that liberals demand of conservatives?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Think Outside the Box

    It is really so sad to see so many Christians who do not follow Jesus's greatest commandment to love everybody and not to turn off their brains when they approach God (Matthew 22:34-36, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28). Adhering to traditions without thinking about how these traditions might make other people feel is turning off your brains and closing off your heart to God. See you all on Judgement Day.

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

    Chick-fil-A is not anti-gay. They are just upholding a Biblical view of marriage. That is both their right and duty as Christians. Standing up for truth does not mean one hates gays. I do not hate gays in any way, but I also understand that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. God loves gays; and like every other human being in the world, they have the opportunity to turn to Jesus Who is the only way to a relationship with God.

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