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. Don Notts

    Who cares? Chic-bleh-lay is terrible. They ended up on this guy's site for the most overrated sandwich in the country: http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=overrated_sandwiches. If a salty, salty chicken sandwich isn't enough to keep me away from there, it's their hate and fear mongering. Yes, religious people, there is hate and discrimination. Just like those who were pro slavery and pro segregation who told us all "it's in the Bible" (yep, there's stuff about owning slaves in the Bible). You've all been duped to take literal interpretations of the Bible, but when someone calls you out for eating shelfish or getting divorced, your stuff hits the fan and you end up sounding like more of a babbling idiot. So, congrats, Chick-fil-et (however you spell your stupid name) on your stance. It's not like gay (or straight) people who have taste buds would want to eat your salt soaked chicken served on a bun that's even worse than McDonalds – and no, I won't try the salad.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BIg Gay John

    I have seen this commment WAY to many times now. If you are against gay marriage, please do not tack on the "but I have gay friends". If you arent willing to support them in marrying who the love, than you are NOT a friend. You are simply being polite to them so you do not get labelled a bigot (since if you loved them like a true friend, you would want them to be happy regardless). It is kind of like political double speak. I dont support your cause, rights or needs, but your my friend! Usually when you have to make that point it means you ARE a bigot....Just sayin. Now if your hang up is just on a simple word and you want that to be for Hetero relationships, fine, than amend the laws so civil unions and marriages are one and the same and you can feel free to call it whatever you like...(but if you are limiting even one of those rights, than it is discrimination)

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

      Now wait here, I don't necessarily agree with this. While I am very angry with Cathy and many of the posters here, I do not necessarily think that their opposition to gay marriage denies them friendship. I find it a least plausible that people here would help out someone they knew were gay in many situations. While the "I have gay friends" cliche does not give any more credence to their arguments, I do not find it implausible that they are indeed good friends with gay people.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIg Gay John

      Indorri – I can see your point but do disagree and maybe should have added what my defination of "friend" is. To me friends are people I consider family (and yes my friends are equally as important as my family to me), and therefore want nothing more for them to be happy (whatever it is they chose). I forget that we now live in a FB culture that values the number of friends as opposed to the quality of them. I would suspect (but have no proof) that those claiming the friendship in their posts are more like aquaintences (co-workes, some one from a social club, etc.).

      July 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dab

    WE SUPORT CHICK-FIL-A 100% in their stance FOR marriage between one man and one woman, against gay marriage!!!!! End of story!!!!!! WE WILL SUPPORT them as often as we can with our patronage!

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

      I've always avoided Chik-etc because they are a "Christian" based company. I can't support a place that is closed on Sundays. And now I have another reason to boycott these goofballs.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KingofQueenAnne

    The Chick-Fil-A CEO has his First Amendment rights to say/do what he believes, but MY First Amendment rights allow me to think what he stands for is stupid, voice my complaint in a public forum, and spend my pro-equality dollars elsewhere. Sorry, I just figure that by the time you become CEO, you should develop a bit thicker skin.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wildone

    "Eat more Kale".

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lynneb

    Please Chick-fil-a, don't back down from your Christian values because of what Gays or non believers say. It is time for Christians everywhere to stand up for Lord and what the Bible has to say. We have freedom of speech too. There are plenty of God fearing people everywhere that will support Chick-fil-a and keep it in business. We need more businesses like you and I admire you so much for keeping the Sabbath and staying closed on Sunday. I will dine more often now at one of your resturants to show support. Besides the food is outstanding!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 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 and name calling, thereby being the "hateful bigot" they accuse others of being.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lulu

      They don't have the right to marry the person they love (pursuit of happiness). That's the right that we should all have.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Lulu, you are putting words that aren't there. there is no "pursuit of happiness" anywhere in my statement. My statement is still standing as true.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      There is no need to argue against you because it is just as false an argument as "everyone can practice Christianity (but no other religion) as they fit" would be an argument that people have freedom of religion.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Have you even *met* a gay person? I know several people personally who are not legally allowed to marry his or her partner in our state, and therefore can not share benefits, or even enjoy survivor's rights or be considered "family" and allowed to visit when one or the other person is severely ill in the hospital. They do not have the same rights everywhere. End of story.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      indorri, fail, another "apples to oranges" comparison. By law, my statement still stands as true. Gays have the same rights as heteros.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Mel, as a matter of fact I do know several gay people. But you are still wrong, unmarried hetero couples have the same limitations. My statement still stands as true. Gays have the same rights as everybody else.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lulu

    Cathy doesn't seem to recognize that the biblical definition of the family unit is not Mom, Dad, and the kids. More like Dad & Mom & Dad's other wives &/or slaves &/or concubines, and the offspring of the various unions. And it was also pretty likely that Mom & Dad were closely related (first cousins & such), especially if they came from wealthy families. And Dad could beat Mom (indeed, was advised to make it a daily habit) to keep her in line. If a man died his brother was advised to take the man's wife/wives as his own & make sure she had an heir. Is any of that the definition he supports ?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brad H

    Taste like Chicken... Except that its really good Chicken!! Funny, I forgot that it was so good!!

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

    WE support the views on this topic by Chick-Fil-A 110%!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brett Homer

    I really wish the Christians would take a page out of the Jewish handbook. If something is against your religion you don't partake. You don't force the rest of us not to partake because it's against your beliefs. If consuming pork is against your religion, don't eat pork. It isn't against mine so let me eat bacon! If gay marriage is against your religion, don't have a gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Exactly, and that's what all the short busers here don't get. If Cathy's statement were merely a proponency for "Mom, Dad and 2 and a half kids" there'd be no uproar. It's because his company spent time, effort and money on things like Prop 8 that make this fresh admission of his anti-marriage views such an outrage.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TakeThis

    Did Jesus Eat Chick-fil-A at the Last Supper?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Triciajo

    Wonder how they feel about serving Gay customers? I have never liked their food and this is just another reason not to go there.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry Osama

      I refer you to Sam Kinison's comedy routine about gays arriving in Heaven for your answer. You may find it 'hard to swallow (for the first time in your life).

      July 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Martin Gardner

    Once again a Christian proves he is not the loving caring person he pretendts to be in church.
    Instead the true christianity in his heart of hatred and distain is showing thru.

    Now remeber true Christians God said do not judge least ye shall be judged.
    Oh yea I rember now you only use the parts of the Bible that you want to and ignore the rest

    No more Hate fila for me!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry Osama

      Sam Kinison had it right when it comes to the "gay" lifestyle.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jammer

    This is America people and businesses can do as they please its called FREEDOM ! if you dont like a business practice dont use that company , its common sense although that is gettin very hard to find read this thread ! Ha

    July 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
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