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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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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Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic Dog

    the upcoming election will prove two points.
    (a) that christians are believers according to convenience, and
    (b) that republican christians are republicans first and christians second

    Romney is a mormon which is a religion that, as well as co-optingsome parts and characters from the bible word for word, also contradicts and makes a mockery of so many key christian religious beliefs that it should be a bigger issue to christians than gay marriage and abortion. But ... the same way as christians always pick and choose which parts of the bible to loudly proclaim and which parts of the bible to pretend don't exist ... they will ignore all these issues and vote for Romney anyway.

    What do you think God/Jesus will think of you if you give your vote to a man who truly believes that he will one day be a God? Or a man who truly believes that Joseph Smith, a 19th century reknowned con-man, is an equal of Jesus?

    Go on christans, pretend you never read this post. Find some obscure bible quote that will justify you supporting a cult. What a joke!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • phoodphite

      Dyslexic

      Absolutely – Republicans are greedy people, and the Christians among them are usually the type of Christian that is both greedy and bible-thumpers who, for their own political agenda, choose various passages out of the new testament to make their point in judging or putting down someone else (which often times flies in the face of Jesus' teachings).

      July 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • FLIndependent

      Wonder what these Repub "Christians" think about Dick Cheney's gay daughter getting married??

      July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tobin

    It aint ok to b gay.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      I'll be the judge of that!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dust off your feathers

    Since when is saying you hold a belief in traditional marriage a crime?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Huh?

    Gee – I'm banning ignorant, fat people who eat greasy, fried fast food. So, we're good.
    You'll all be dead and gone before we are, so no biggie.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jenny

    I am happy the Chick-fil-a is so open and honest with what they stand for and believe in. I will be bring my business and friends and family there every chance I get. Chick-fil-a is a comforting, family oriented, resteraunt and I will continue to support them. As a Christian I am happy to support this business and pray God continues to bless it and other businesses like it. I don't believe that these statements are intentions of "hate" rather a statement of informatable stance. For those who unfortunately dont share the same beliefs, they now have a choice to continue to finically support chick-fil-a.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PandoraDoggl

    Advocates of government mandates concerning who must hire whom and who can or can't support what should take notice of this occurrence. Watch and see, if people really are disgusted by Chik-fil-A's stance, then they will lose revenue over it. Hit a company in the pocketbook, and you may see a change – one that they chose for themselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dyslexic Dog

    Religious Law #4 – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jonboy

    Hurry up conservatives! If you eat three chicken sandwiches this week, noone will be gay anymore! If we only knew that all it took was eating chicken and mayonaise, we could have saved all that time praying the gay away.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get a job Hippies

      we dont want to pray the gay away, we are just sick and tired of hearing you whine when you don't always get your way

      July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank

    Still do not understand the use of the word (hate) when people state their disaprovel of a lifestyle..if hate is disapproval ,then what are the kkk groups.white supremeist groups.and people who murder or beat up someone because of their skin or lifestyle?can not be both.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vivek

    So all the people who believe in family and traditional marriage are bigoted? I think from the posts it's very clear who is bigoted and racist!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jrachelle

    INTOLERANCE goes both ways. So does tolerance. No one is promoting violence or anything illegal. CNN don't promote or escalate this issue.

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

      Excellent point. If it wasn't for CNN there wouldn't BE an issue. After all there's nothing about Chik-fil-A here that hasn't been known for decades.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Flint Rock

    Its the land of the free. Mr. Cathy can be a bigot anytime he wants. His restaurants make a mean chocolate chip cookie. So do a lot of another restaurants.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lukeskywalkr

    Not only are their policies bigoted, eating meat is unethical. Only rednecks and poor people eat there anyway.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. James

    I just watched the video. OMG! It's Mrs. Meers from Thouroughly Modern Millie and she's a food writer! Who knew?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. harlod

    I'm for allowing gays to marry. With that said, I find it amazing that just because someone has religious values and stick to them, that others have to define that as HATE. I think the word hate has been severely watered down if people think that just because someone defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, that they HATE gays. Shame on the people who think that. They are weak. I want gays to be allowed to be married. if someone doesn't believe that I don't hate them or think that they hate anyone. I will continue to eat those wonderful chicken sandwiches. And I will continue to speak out FOR gay marriage. We are a free country. You can do whatever you want and think how you want, as long as you are politically correct!!! right?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blanche

      For example: I think that you are non human and not worthy of respect or marriage, but I don't hate you.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • pm

      I'm gay, I'm for marriage equality, and I agree with you. Since Prop 8 became "Prop Hate", the word "hate" has been bandied about to define anyone who doesn't agree with the right of LGBT people to get married. I've worked hard to achieve the right to marry, spent countless hours on campaigns, yet I don't think that everyone who disagrees with me hates me. The hypocrisy I witness at time of those claiming that those who hold religious beliefs to be hateful who then turn around and disparage them can be infuriating for me.

      That said, there are of course factions who DO hate LGBT people and violently attack. But that is a different subject entirely.

      If I want the rights afforded to me, I have to respect the rights of others as well.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • sketchedy

      Well the thing with this restaurant chain is not just that they are stating a certain belief, but actively contributing money to political groups that want to deny rights to U.S. citizens. So there's a difference–they are not just holding their own values, but trying to enforce them on others, that's where they lose any kind of moral high ground and why people have a right to be upset with them.

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