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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

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

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Jayson

    "Religion created hatred" Hypocrisy what world are you living in that religion somehow creates hatred.

    Hatred exists regardless of the existence or lack of religion.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve O

    I think it's funny that so many people that are anti gay have somehow made it out that it's not bigotry – it's just what they believe. Some even think that because people are upset with them for being anti gay are bigots. There are even a handful that think it's THEIR rights that are being impinged upon.

    You people are remarkable in your brazen disregard for logic.


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

      From Merriam-Webster: bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

      Bigots treat others that are outside of their opinions and beliefs with hatred/intolerance. You can be a christian, and not an anti-gay bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      I could care less if a gay person marries a goat for God sake. I'm just getting tired of their panties always getting in a wad over nothing. Geez, it's ok for gays to have opinions about things, but how dare anyone else....

      July 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      why is it always ok for the libs to scream racist or bigot JUST because someone disagrees with them and stands on what they believe, so much for the left being so understanding. The biggest racist and biggots there are, the left who hate whites and hate Christians...and if you are both, good Lord watch out.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henderson

      How is what Dan Cathy said in any way bigoted? He didn't say "Chick-fil-A will not serve gays!", "Chick-fil-A will not employ gays!" or "Chick-fil-A hates gays!". He simply said that, as a whole, they support the biblical definition of a family. That's all. I understand that many disagree with what he said, but that in itself DOES NOT make the statement bigoted, hateful, or any other colorful adjective you'd like to choose to describe it. LGBT's deserve EQUAL treatment not PREFERENTIAL treatment. Jeez, have a Coke, enjoy your freedom, and find something reasonable to complain about.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Are you for or against murderers then? Because if your opinion is that ,who they are and what they do is wrong, then um you are clearly a bigot... Wow..

      July 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • dcfromct

      Where is the hate in this article? There was nothing hateful or bigoted, he simply said they support traditional marriage. Just because the CEO has a different opinion and supports what he believes does not make him hateful or a bigot. Would you say all smokers are hateful towards non-smokers or vice versa. Because a business may have smoking or non-smoking areas are they bigoted or discriminating against the other? Same with religion, just because a person is of one faith, don't assume that they must hate people of all other faiths.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • McP

      It appears that something is logical only if it supports one's view. Must one like what other's like so as not to be labeled a bigot. The fact that I say I don't support this action or trend and refuse to let it become part of me, is that something for me to decide or you to decide. I just find it strange that supporters of gay rights are trying to force everyone to swallow their own pill. And before people try to make some comment, it will be instructive to reason that neither evolution nor intelligent design provides any premise for the whole gay stuff. Nature is hardly self destructive, and religious views is neither. Leaving all that, I like to think, people should learn to accept the fact that not everyone will find your actions acceptable and it is important you learn to forge ahead with those that do while not bantering the others.

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

    It makes me, for one, even more likely to go there - though the fact that I LOVE the food has a lot to do with that. But, it's also a bit crazy - there are MANY companies that espouse positions at least as strongly, but they don't get this hatemongering crap

    July 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bob

    Biggest line ever in Chick Fil A. Hate to break it to some of you GBTL or whatever your called and you liberal enablers. America doesnt care about you floating around not only wanting rights but special rights. Your gay deal with it and stop pushing it on me. It makes me sick how you infest young minds with your agenda. Get a life.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lorraine

      Well said Bod.

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

      There are no "special rights" in marriage equality. There are equal rights. There is no "gay agenda". There is an anti-gay agenda that wants to tear apart families because there are two men or two women in them. There is no "forcing" you to accept marriage equality, there is the establishment to prevent you from forcing your views on us. We are not the ones seeking to prevent Chik-fil-A patrons or so-called "traditional marriage" marriage equality opponents from marrying, they are the ones seeking to stop us from marrying. Your deceitful rhetoric is plain and your animus clear as day.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meredith

      @bob – "You're" not "your". Education (in all aspects of life) is an amazing thing.

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

      indorri, you have just stated the opposite of everything that is true. Proving Bob correct.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lorraine

    I whole heartally Love Chic-Fil-a. I read her comment & there was no type of hate in her comments. She simply stated that she was for traditional family which is Man & Wife. That does not make her a hater. It does however make all of those posting the ridiculous comments about them haters. That being said Way TO GO Chic-fil-a. I support you 100%!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gelene mason

    I can never understand why it's ok to say something and if anyone disagrees then "they" who disagree are always told
    their "wrong". Disagreeing with something or someone isn't wrong, it's just that people don't always agree on everything. If no one ever took a stance for what they believe and stood up for it then this would be a very "whatever"
    country. People can say whatever they want or whatever they believ, but in the end it is "GOD" who has the last say.
    Don't hate the person, hate the sin.We may not like what other people do or say, but we shouldn't not like them, just
    don't like the thing they do or say, but don't judge. We have "all" sinned at some time or other. He who is without sin
    let him cast the first stone".

    July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gurgi

    Sooo, what right does everyone else legally 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 resorting to insults and name calling, thereby being the "hateful bigot" they accuse others of being.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom

    I applaud Chick-Fil-A's stance on traditional values, but I don't think they've gone far enough: The other day I saw an employee with a cross tattooed on his arm. Although I appreciate the sentiment, Leviticus 19:28 strictly forbids the practice. I'm sure Chick-Fil-A be serving him a pink slip soon. Also I noticed that they have some female managers in their restaurants, Timothy 2:12 explicitly states that a woman shall not have authority over a man. Will they be rectifying this soon as well? I'm sure they don't have to fire them. The women should just take a lesser position than a man. After all, those are real traditional values. These are only a couple of examples that show they haven't gone far enough to extol Christian ideals as a company. I saw that they are suing a Vermont man for his slogan "eat more kale." I believe the man is a Christian and as you know lawsuits among believers are forbidden in 1st Corinthians. I'm afraid that if they don't take action on these other fronts, it may seem that Chick-Fil-A is a greedy, sterile, soulless corporation that uses the culture wars as a cheap marketing ploy to fool consumers into believing that they are "making a difference in this world" by stuffing their obese faces with seasoned poultry.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sarah of Reason


    July 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dcfromct

    Why is this even making news, he didn't say anything hateful at all in the article. They have long been a company, founded in Christian principles, ie: closed on Sundays. All the guy said is that they support the traditional marriage which many people and companies do. He didn't say anything disparaging, hateful or negative, only that they support traditional marriage. I don't see CNN posting articles about any businesses that fund planned parenthood and abortion. This is a perfect example of the far left media trying to make something out of nothing. Try reporting on something new worthy, rather than trying to pick a fight. How about doing some research, and report on a positive news – people volunteering to help others – soup kitchen, providing clothes or a place to stay for the homeless, helping a wounded vet or their family. Find some news worthy NEWS, you can remove the entertainment section – celebrity divorces and rehab are not news, its gossip.

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

    I could care less. I've never eaten there and never will, anyway.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve Paradiso

    I don't buy popcorn from the Boy Scouts and I'll not buy food from Chick-fil-A. Nice job by their PR guy in trying to remove the foot of Dan Cathy from his mouth.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike in WI

    McDonald's makes a pretty good chicken sandwich (including the pickle) that is quite comparable to Chic-Fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Name*jesy

    There is nothing wrong with chic fila not supporting gay marriage, and it also does not mean that they hate anyone because they dont support it. They are standing firm in what they believe in, thats something that many people have forgotten how to do. Go chic fila

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. derekream

    While it is admirable that they chose a stance and defended, the issue here is not whether or not you should or shouldn't support gay marriage, but it should be about good business practice. In this case, when a large social movement is coming together within the last 10 years, and reaching a peaking moment, the last thing you want to do is to go against what is statistically more favorable as far as revenue. Many people try to balance personal/ faith values with the practices of business, but almost always, any form of value-laden policy that infringes upon other people's wellbeing and pursuit of happiness will always be struck down. As far as being a gay man myself, I loved the food there, but as I mentioned in my example, when your values infringe upon my ability to pursue happiness, I will defend it. No more money will be coming from me or my fiancee to Chick-fil-A until they get a grip on reality.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172