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. paul2313

    I dont know why all the fuss. I know some gay bars (some, not all) that if they know you are straight, will give you crappy service.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kit

    Fine. Let those who chose to believe in hate also get heart disease from this horribly awful food. Kind of seems like Karma to me.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DJ Smith

    I CONCUR with Dan Cathy...love the sinner – hate the sin.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Right on DJ Smith....well said

      July 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    Here is my beef. Our country was founded on Christianity. It is in our laws, it is on our money, it is everywhere. Now our country was founded upon the fact that you don't have to be a Christian to be a part of it. But, why do you get to bash those who wish to openly express their beliefs? You can be a Christian, not believe in gay marriage, and not look down on those that do. Being a Christian is about supporting your beliefs, but being tolerating of others. There are those that take it too far, put down people, say they are going to hell, etc. Chick-Fil-A did not do that. They are a private business, they can do what they want. You also can do what you want. I am just sick and tired of folks getting up in arms because someone expresses their beliefs and opinions. You are ramming the fact that you are gay and proud down my throat...I don't go around to those that are gay shoving my marriage in their face.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Here's my beef. Our country was founded on the right to free speech. Cathy has a right to his and we have a right to ours. Funny thing about free speech though; if you are dumb enough to say things that may be legal but offend alot of people then you had better be prepared for the consequences.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ticktockman0

      The US was intentionally NOT founded on Christianity. Many of the colonies were. The colonies are long gone. And government belongs to all of us, gay and straight, religious or not. That we have religious slogans on our money simply proves that relgious nuts are very persistent.

      And why do overly religious people feel that they should get to bash gays by denying them the marriage benefits that they themselves take for granted? And why is it that you feel you should be able to do that with impugnity? I am sure that if someone was punching you in the face, you would feel compelled to hit them back. Of course, but allowing marriage for straight people and denying it for gay folks IS rubbing it in their face and ramming it down their throats. Telling gay people that they cannot marry is the same as telling black people that they cannot sit in the front of the bus.

      People like Mr. Cathy and yourself will someday be seen as being on the wrong side of history. At least, I hope so.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Naaron

      First, our country was not founded on Christianity. ANY basic search online will prove this point. In fact our country was created to FREE ourselves from religious persecution. Secondly, you are "shoving" your marriage down our throats. Every day you walk with your wife, hold hands in public, talk about your marriage, show photos, it's all "shoving" it in others faces, as you say. The only reason you think WE'RE shoving it in your face, is you don't approve or appreciate it. Otherwise, you wouldn't have a problem with it, and wouldn't consider it "shoving". We just want the same respect that you have with your relationship. You get that opportunity. We, at the moment, don't have that. We will, and one day this will all be another blotch on the history books.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DOUG L

    It seems anymore that if you do not agree with a group then you are a bad guy. Well this company is standing behind its beliefs and i applaud that and will continue to eat there. If you are gay that is your business and no ones else. Gay people continue to bash others if they do not agree with them. Maybe we should start boycotting gay people for there beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim tom

      Gays are 3% of the population dude. You are mostly getting bashed by straight people who know how to think for themselves.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brad H


    July 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nancy

    GO CHICK-FIL-A!!!! Again the hate mongers are the ones protesting Chick-fil-a's right to stand up for their beliefs. It's not like they said gay couples aren't allowed to eat there for goodness sake. Their protest itself is hypocritical. They have no tolerance for others beliefs if it isn't in line with what they believe.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      They donate to organizations that attempt to ban marriage equality. The boycotters are calling them out on this.

      Attempting to equivocate/paint marriage equality proponents as bullies is a deceitful tactic. You are subsequently exposed as a liar for attempting to do so.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      Nancy, if a company such as Apple or let's just say CNN stated that anyone named Nancy isn't "right" and is "morally wrong", would you still be so non-chalant about the issue? I highly doubt it. If Chik Fil A stated that gay marriage is ok, and hetero marriage is evil, I highly doubt you would be ok with it. It would make you feel like an animal wouldn't it? Most of you aren't really grasping what is really being said here. That's the sad part. I guess you only "accept" a human being, if they are straight. That is the sad thing.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. POed

    Hate mongers? Since when did having a position and voicing it become hate. God bless you Dan.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIg Gay John

      So many people barking the same think. Good for him, I'm glad someone is standing for their convictions. I remember someone else in history that did as well. Heck he even started a war over them....His name was Hitler!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe Schmoe

    I'm not opposed to their Christian values as long as they aren't telling other people how they should live. We live in what is supposed to be a free nation and as long as someone isn't directly hurting someone else, no one should be infringing on someone else's freedom to live as they see fit.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ATR

    So because someone doe snot support something means they hate it? I don't support smoking or smokers but that doe snot mean I hate them.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ugh

    So if I started saying that a black man and white woman shouldn't get married, because it's not in the bible, I would be considered a "hero for sticking to faith" ? Please. Half of you don't understand the magnitude of these people's beliefs. You can't even see that it's hateful? Are you guys blind? Gays ARE human beings. Just like slaves were human beings, and it took them years to break free because of people just like you who think this guy is a saint for sticking to his beliefs! The whole marriage issue is just because they want the same basic RIGHTS that straight married couples enjoy. If you want to call it a civil union instead, FINE. Just have it be where the same rights are in force, such as seeing your significant other in a hospital and not having to lie that she or he is your cousin. Please people, don't put God into everything. That's the problem here.

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

      Pedophiles ,murders ,rapist ,slaves , thieves all of these are human the choose to do these things . That doesn't make what they do Ok . And the Bible does not list color of ones skin as a requisite for anything . It does mention Apostles baptizing an Ethiopian man and welcoming him to the Church.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cisco Kid

    Bravo for Chick-fil-A!!! Great to see others publicly standing up to this insanity and standing by their beliefs, despite the wailings of so-called hate, etc. Will do all my fast-food purchasing there from here on out!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ticktockman0

    Mr. Cathy has every right to state his opinion, regressive though it may be. And those of us who disagree with him have a right to state ours. And under his leadership, his company gives millions to anti-gay groups as "charitable" contributions. Well, it is his money to spend. However, it is a fairly moronic way to spend it, given that there are now many who, knowing this, will never spend a dime in one of his restaurants.

    I have to admit, I am quite taken with Mr. Cathy's view on the biblical concept of marraige. He has conflated the bible with monogamy, which is clearly not the only option for marriage espoused in that book. It simultaneously amuses and saddens me that those who most loudly trumpet the bible as a moral guidebook have clearly not read it.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eric

    My new favorite place to eat now!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. vt supporter

    This company also bullies small Vermont businesses! See the New York Times article. Shame on you Chick!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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