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.
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Twitter comments were also divided.
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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Tried to go to Chick Fil a for lunch and the drive thru was backed up around the building and there were probably 30 people in line inside. Guess there stance isn't hurting business. If you don't like what they believe, eat at KFC.
It will in the long run. Over half the country supports gay marriage so... Please continue to go there because I'm sure you won't live long if you do!
Jeez, I never knew Chick-Fil-A was a Christian restaurant, if there is such a thing. Now that I know I will never go there again. Besides their food stinks anyway. Probably because they are christian!
Do they want to marry me? No? Then I don't care.
They could be breaking federal laws. They're going to pay dearly for these declarations.
And what would that law be?
Reblogged this on Sekel and commented:
I'm glad Chik-Fil-A took a stand instead of valuing their business more. I'm supporting them even more now.
It aint ok to be gay.
It's less ok to be stupid.
If they want to protect traditional marriage they should be giving money to organizations that want to ban divorce.
to tko: they do give money to organizations "against divorce", in a sense. They sponsor marriage retreats and counseling
Geez, I didn't know chicken had a sëxual orientation. Has Chick-fil-a ever refused service to a gay person? No. So why should you care?
Furthermore, for all of you LGBT people and sympathizers out there, disapproval of the gay lifestyle does NOT = hate. Of course, you want to claim (dramatically) that it is – nothing like demonizing the opposition, eh? One can have (or state) distaste for your lifestyle without "hating" you. Just because wackos like the Phelps nuts in Topeka show unbridled hatred, doesn't mean those of us who are morally against homôsëxuality hate you.
It is the same faulty reasoning and rhetoric used by Obama supporters who claim that those opposed to Obama are by definition, racist. No wonder, as the LGBT crowd and the Obama crowd are one and the same. You are the hateful ones – and poor thinking haters at that.
Chik-fil-A has actively helped oppose enactment of marriage equality.
Your attempt to state that marriage equality proponents are hateful for opposing such actions is deceitful. Lying isn't a Christian value either.
well said KCArrowhead! well said!
Discriminatory hiring practices actions don't need to be based on hate either.
Bless you, Narrow-head.
Well said, KC !
you are right on target!! well said my KC BROTHER!!
Way to go Chick-fil-A. Stand up for the family and your beliefs. This is America where you have fredom of speech and religion. It's not hate to disagree with the gay lifestyle. Being against something doesnt mean you hate it or the person doing it. As Christians we my hate the sin but love the sinner. Theose accusing Christians of 'Hate' should be more tolerant themselves. I think they may be the haters here, hating anyone who disagrees with their gay lifestyle.
There go the dirty gays again. Stirring controversy when they should stay at home and be their merry ignorant self. The irony about this is Chickfila will still serve you just like they would anybody else. I'm pretty sure that more people will go to chickfila now than not go. If gays don't like it, they can go to five guys. If lesbians don't like it, they have taco bell.
Because of this Chickfila will be stronger so thank you:)
Good for them. I support them and will go there everyday now to increase their sales
Thank you Mr. Cathy. There are still some decent people in this world. I support 1000%.
God Bless All.
Decent? Really? How about, "I don't agree with you," and leave it at that?
I don't have much of a problem with Chik-fil-a not supporting gay marriage. I just don't like them funneling money to a cause that makes it against the law for gays to get married. Just because you don't support it doesn't mean that no one else should be able to. That is the big difference here.
Kudos to Chik-fil-a for being honest about their beliefs. Jeers to them though for donating money to groups that try to force their beliefs on others by making others beliefs illegal.
Bless you, Jeff (Atlanta)
Jeff: it's beyond "not supporting it". Allowing gay marriage, changes the entire purpose of marriage.
Even putting the bible aside and looking at it secularly:
legal marriage has historically been specifically about biological families. Having biological parents, stay with their offspring.
Allowing two gays to marry, redefines marriage as being all about "love" (and really, more specifically about lust).
That must not be allowed to happen.
Good for Chick-fil-a! Somewhere, the LGBTQ community got it crossed and started to believe that if someone is not fully supported of their agenda, then that means they hate gay people. Ridiculous! Just because I disagree with something doesn't mean I hate it. Learn the difference.