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. Badda Bing

    When will you gays realizes that you cannot force the rest of use to agree with your lifestyle CHOICE?

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

      When will Christian zealots realize that you can't force everyone to agree with your BELIEFS?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dad

      We don't need your blessing, we just need you to step aside and allow the true meaning of the words, "all men are created equal" to come to fruition.

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

      @Badda Bing

      I respect differing opinions from mine, but I don't respect ignorance. Your comment is a perfect example of what I don't respect.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OkayMan

    My turn now. As I find most Christians to be too rigid for my tastes, can't argue with Mr. Cathy. His store, his value system and Lindy's in Tallahassee has better chicken sandwiches. Gay people get the understanding that we black people are taught as children, you can't make people like you. We want you treated fairly but that bias want be going anywhere.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Huh?

    Needing to correct a quote I saw in these posts: "Only people who think like that are liberals"...

    July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jon

    Who cares! Their sandwiches are junk anyway – making fat Americans fatter.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RightHere

    Oh WOW eating all those hormone raised chicken caused Mr Cathy to grow man boobs http://energizerbunniesmommyreports.com/2012/05/the-chick-fil-a-scoop-1.html

    July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sam Smith

    Why don't we call gay marriage "gayrriage" or "marriagay"?? Call it different from "marriage" and everyone would be happy??

    July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dad

      Call religion something like cheligion and it is still a cult.

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

      Brilliant! I have been thinking about the same thing. Gayrriage sounds right.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Another vote for Gayrriage!!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David Mydock

    Do you read?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ray Palinski

    I cannot understand why folks pick and choose what they want to follow out of the Bible. Personally, in this age of enlightenment and discovery, I don't know why any educated person would even choose to believe paraphrased words written in a book, from a time that cannot be ascertained. I believe there is truth in the Bible, but shouldn't we just treat others the way we wish to be treated? I have no problrm with gay or straight marriage, love is blind. Everyone should be able to decide for themselves who to love, and to be able to suffer or enjoy marriage equally.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thomas Newsom

    I am much more concerned about Chik Filet's extensive use of factory farming and animal cruelty. What disgusts me the most is that this faith-based organization believes it is not responsible to the environment and its inhabitants.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • KCArrowhead

      I am more concerned with your inability to even spell their name correctly...

      July 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Many folks do not recognize the difference between spewing hate on the one hand and standing on truth on the other. Hating others is wrong. Speaking the truth in love is right.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim tom

      Many people don't realize that calling one's opinion about something "the truth" is moronic. And yes, religion is an opinion.

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

    Wow, Chick-fil-A isn't for gay marriage, what a shocker.....

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

    Facts have never swayed starry xians.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. blessings

    They were like the chicken place that did not care to give him the time of day. Is that really a wonder?

    July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KCArrowhead

    "I infer that because someone doesn't approve of my lifestyle, they MUST hate me. As a result, I will hate them back even more!" – mantra of the LGBT crowd.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nick

    Many of you seem confused... people aren't hateful because they oppose equal rights for gay people, they oppose equal rights for gay people because they're hateful.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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