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. Hanford Searl Jr.

    ... Hey CNN Broadcaster Brooke Baldwin!?! We, in thee LGBTQ Community don't-REALLY-care what thee ignorant CEO of this-STUPID-fast food co. says-ABOUT-"Marriage Equality!" What-WE-do care about, is-HIM-giving $3-MILLION to discredited, ANTI-GAY groups like NOM! These H8FUL organizations-SUPPORT-"electric shock" therapy for-LGBTQ-people!!! HARDLY "Christian!!!"

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

      Hey, whatever it take to cure you. But you in that community need to make up your minds, were you born that way? or is it a choice?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J. Parker

    Yes, Chick-fil-a does has the right to spew whatever narrow minded stance they choose to believe. That said, I choose NOT to spend my money in support of their hate, prejudice and ignorance.

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

      You can't even get into the Chik-Fil-A near my house at lunchtime. There are so many illegal Mexican mothers there with 8.5 children each. It is always a zoo.

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

      it is not hate that are just making a stand for something they believe in. Just like you when you dont buy from them anymore.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Parker

      Has = Have

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

      J. Parker, I stole your comment to use in FB on the CFA page just before I "Unliked" it. Thanks! 🙂

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

      J. I don't see any hate coming from what Mr. Cathy says. As a Christian he believes in traditional marriage. He didn't say gay people are not welcomed in his stores, he didn't say there should be laws against gay marriage – he simply stated his belief. Not sure he is the ingorant one on this topic as he has as much right to his opinion as you of yours.

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

      It is not narrow-mindedness. Those of you that believe that that lifestyle is OK have every right to your belief. But you cannot force the rest of the world to agree with you, and you simply cannot say they are narrow-minded if they don't agree with you. You have your opinion. They have theirs.
      For that matter, I could call you names for your thinking that men should be with/marry men, which I believe is just sick. But I won't call you names. So please be polite enough to not label others because they don't hold your view.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TheSean

    When did being in support of traditional family values automatically become equated with the word "hate"? That is a very dangerous position that many in America have taken today. Duke Richards and Blake Brown (quoted above) clearly have no idea what hate means nor do they have any idea of the severity of that word. As utilized here by their comments, "hate" is used inappropriately.

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

      Then you should have no problem with the legislature keeping you out of the life changing opportunities of the military. Or the local church condemning you to Hell. Or states allowing businesses to fire you simply because you put a picture of your loved one on your desk. You should walk a mile in gay shoes before blurting such silliness.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theothersean

      When they fund hate-filled organizations, that's when it becomes hate...and Chick Fil-A does exactly that.

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

      @Concerned: "As a Christian he believes in traditional marriage."

      Well as a Christian, I disagree with him!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BRod

    As a liberal Christian – a follower of Jesus (who never shunned anyone, except perhaps the religious holier-than-thou of his day, who sound a lot like Chick-Fil-A's President), I am disgusted by Chick-Fil-A's stance against gay marriage. Two of the most important people to me are Christians and are gay. They have been in a loving committed relationship for the past 30+ years. They had a commitment ceremony decades ago, but have never been able to have a real wedding, due to backwards, hateful thinking by people who take Bible verses completely out of context to condemn their fellow men and women. Chik-Fil-A you are complicit in hurting the people I love, and therefore you have lost a customer. I hope you lose enough customers to hurt your business. We do not need more hate in the world – especially when it is associated with Jesus or God in any way.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jason

    Why does Chick-fil-A have to stick a finger in the eye of people who want to commit to a long term, loving relationship, huh? Why not save the whales or free Tibet?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. angryed

    It is his right not to be in support of gay marriage...it does not make him a bigot to have strong beliefs on the subject...he just disagrees with the liberal surge of celebrating gay unions...not everyone agrees with it nor should they be expected to celebrate a choice of lifestyle

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

      Not a choice. You need to convince yourself it's a choice so as not to feel guilty about your bigotry. Why not hate folks with blue eyes or anything else they were born with. The only here is yours, to be a bad person.

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

      Actually that's where you are wrong. Consider if a representative of a restaurant in the 1950s said that interracial couples did not have the right to marry. Sure, freedom of speech gives everyone the right to proclaim their beliefs. But that doesn't make those beliefs any less bigoted, prejudicial, or frankly wrong.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sburns54

    It's funny all the christers saying how they'll now go out of their way to eat this deep-fried garbage! Hope they eat tons of it, get fat as a house, and have their arteries burst. That's one way of getting rid of bigots!

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

      Let's get this straight: Home Depot and Penney's can support gay "marriage" but Chik-Fil-A isn't supposed to support real marriage? Typical liberal double standard.

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

      Yea, or we could just let all the gays mate with gays... then by the laws of nature (or god), no procreation would lead to no more gays. Brilliant.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Linda

    Thank the Lord that there is a company with a Christian leader that stands firm in his faith. The gay people are the ones that take offense from the Bible not Mr. Cathy. He is not judging just obeying Gods word. God bless Mr. Cathy and eat chicken at Chick-fil–A.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      When Jesus saw a minority being mistreated, he assisted them and reprimanded the perpetrators. ALWAYS. Jesus wouldn't like Chick-a-fil, the bigots who run it, or the bigots who defend it.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Obeying your cherry-picked literal interpretation of the bible, huh? Must have cut out all those verses that talk about love and acceptance. Hypocrit.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will Miss the Waffle Fries

    Too bad they're like that but at least now we know. My whole family loved their food – especially the Waffle Fries – and we'll miss it but won't ever go back. Trying to figure out for a family of six going there once a month, maybe about $45.00 per time – approximately $550.00 per year, multiplied by 10 years, only $5,500.00 out of their pocket for a decade. I doubt they'll miss it – of course it I can convince everyone I know to follow suit . . . . . . .

    July 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      Don't worry I will eat the fries that you don't want....

      July 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ABarker

    It's wonderful to see a company stand on God's principles and not back down. He will bless you for your commitment.

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

      You worship a very hate-filled god then. My God would have a big problem with your god. Huge.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James

    How are they discriminating?? They don't discriminate based on who they hire (a friend of mine who was openly gay worked there for years). The CEO simply said, "I favor a traditional marriage," it's his own opinion, not company policy!

    Gosh, some people have an ax to grind for any little thing!!!!

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

      Consider a statement made by the CEO of a corporation in the U.S. "Inter-racial couples should not be allowed to marry." You think that would raise some eyebrows? Perhaps have people calling him a bigot? I do.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ken

    Businesses exist to sell something for a profit, and the end goal is always to broaden the customer base. For an owner to purposely and enthusiastically alienate say 10% of it's customer base (not too mention all the sympathetic) goes against all business as well as common sense. The only thing that makes people behave this irrationally, and jeopardize their life work, would be powerful emotions. Love or hate.... In this case HATE. Those who try to spin this as 'principalled' or some other well thought out moral stance are fooling themselves and most likely guilty of the same hate.

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

      It is NOT hate. It is a personal belief. That fact that you disagree does not make this hate speech.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • rfoster20

      I don't see any hatred here except the hatred of the gay community against christians. He didn't say he hated anyone. He said he supported traditional marraige... and I support and applaud him for that. Go Chick fil A

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

      What does Christian values of marriage have to do with hate. The man never said he "hated" anyone. Just another over reaction and crying wolf. God is Good!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkingDeeper

      I have no problems with people's beliefs, but to base this on the Bible reminds me of other things from the Bible ... pro-slavery, anti-minority, women subserviant to their husbands, ....
      I cannot in good conscious eat there again.
      By the way, I'm a Christian minister.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Larry

    Exactly where do you read that Mr Cathy or Chick-fil-A espouses as you say " hate, prejudice and ignorance" ? Did you even read the article? Look in the mirror...you're the one spewing hate, prejudice and ignorance.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Patrick

    Praise The Lord!! I support Chik-fil-A! I am glad to see a company that remains committed to its beliefs, even in the face of protest from a minority of people who could not to patronize a business they don't like. Just because a person does not agree with a company'e policy does not mean everybody agrees with your opinion.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      Gay people are God's creations. They are human and you do not have a monopoly on all of the feelings of love that God provides all of us with. Gays feel the same things you feel. Imagine if all restaurants decided to stop serving all people named Patrick.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Great idea! I'm going to start discriminating against Patricks. In fact., I'm going to make our Patrick work all weekend instead of getting his time off. But I want you to know that it is because of my deep core beliefs that Patricks are hateful and despised by god, not because I "hate" you. So it's all good, right?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
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