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. independentlyowned

    Marriage as defined by the Bible includes having multiple wives at once, being allowed to beat your wife, and treating her as property. Glad Chick-fil-A wants to uphold those values!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clarissa

      well duh, christians have notoriety of picking & choosing what they want from the bible. If the bible dictated our lives, I would be enslaved because of course I'm Hispanic AND a female, so doube threat there. So I you know i ALWAYS appreciate hearing people, groups, orgs say that go by the bible, cause deep down that just shows how awful their ideologies are.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      wow you had to reach way back for that one. If you want I can come pick bugs out of your hair later.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    When I grew up it was "Adam & Eve". Today it all is about "Adam & Steve"

    When the hell did that change?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Essie

      It happened when the gay community grew a collective backbone and stood up to the insanity of intolerance coming from the local church.

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

      When Christians stopped standing for their beliefs

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

      Bill, it never "changed". There have been gay people for eons. Today, though, they are better able to live openly and enjoy their productive lives and have families. In past years,they just hid, for the most part, perhaps marrying and having families, living a lie.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • boycottdemsandrepubs

      Eve checked out, she doesn't need a man anymore.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LAVERNE

    The LGBT community has become exactly what they have accused others of being, ie bullies who condemn anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle. Just as they have the right to live the way they wish, we who disagree with that lifestyle have the right to disagree. Our disagreement in no way stops them from living their lifestyle so I don't understand the hoopla. Just as we can't and don't try to force change upon them, they should suck it up and realize that no matter what they say or do, those of us who disagree, will continue to disagree. I love my husband and children but I don't agree with everything they say or do. To expect everyone to conform to, agree with, or share the same ideas or ways is lidicrous. GOD may as well have just put one brain in the center of the earth and we all walk around like robots working from that one brain. LGBT, you do your thing BUT don't expect me or anyone else to agree. You seem to have forgotten that WE ALL have rights. I and everyone else who disagrees with the gay lifestyle will not allow you to take those rights from us. SO GET A LIFE AND MOVE ON!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henderson

      As far as I'm concerned, "LAVERNE" nailed it with this bit:

      "The LGBT community has become exactly what they have accused others of being, ie bullies who condemn anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle."

      BINGO and BRAVO!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      How naive. We all have rights? Think again. Gay rights have been thwarted for generations. You would gladly deny to gay Americans the things that you hold dearest in life. There is some insanity in that.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbcal

      Couldn't agree more Laverne

      July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      The LGBT community and their supporters have not tried to stop Chik-Fil-A patrons or "traditional family values" proponents from getting married.

      Chik-Fil-A has donated money to causes that seek to deny marriage equality.

      Your attempt to reverse the designations and label LGBT as "hateful" and Chik-Fil-A as "just espousing their belief" is deceitful. Again, lying isn't a Christian value.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eva

      It isn't a lifestyle. It is simply life. Your terminology exposes your bigotry.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      Gays Have Families because they once had a mother and a father. I could be wrong but I thought that babies came from men and women having relations. If you know what I mean.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. For Real?

    Come on people – what happend to "embrace diversity"? What you mean is that everybody has to embrace what you want and what you believe – but if one has their own beliefs and ideals that differ from yours – then they're racists, bigots, mean nasty people right? you want live and let live or not? how about all of you that are fired up practice what you preach. so what – they have their own beliefs – does everybody in the entire world have to share your convisions or risk being branded racists and bigots? you're not obligated to demonstrate the same acceptance of different ideal and values as you demand? isn't that called hypocrisy?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      So true! Preach on!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bigotry-fil-A

    All anyone had to do was read the writing on the wall of any Biogtry-fil-A restaurant, it religiosity is spelled out plain and clear in it's adverstising. That is the last time I entered a Bigotry-fil-A. May it go out of business soon.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J. Morales

    Wow, great to see how many people on here are correctly pointing out that all the hate over this announcement is coming from the Chick-Fil-A bashers! Let's keep it up people. It's exactly these kinds of things that we need to point out if we want to change this country. Time and time again people take respectful stands for traditional marriage, such as Carrie Prejean and Kirk Cameron, only to be called all sorts of vile names and have death threats uttered at them. This kind of hypocrisy needs to keep being pointed out. Glad to see it and keep up the good work. It will take each of us reaching everyone we can, online and in person, to make some real change. God bless.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatrickR

      Again, you completely miss the point. This has nothing to do with a respectful stand for marriage. We all support marriage. It's the fact that Chick Fil A donates millions of dollars to organizations which actively demean and work to undermine any families that they don't see as "acceptable." Demeaning my family does not strengthen or protect theirs.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      It's great to see people lie about the actual intentions of the respective organizations?

      Again, Chik-fil-A has donated money to organizations that fight marriage equality.

      Marriage equality proponents have not fought against Chik-Fil-A patrons or "traditional family values" proponents right to marry.

      Attempting to paint the criticizers as the real bullies is nothing but a blatant deception.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    spoken like a true bigot

    July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    For those of you that are pro-gay, good for you......that is your belief, your opinion, your right.
    It is also this gentleman's right to hold his own personal beliefs and opinions.
    If you choose to stop going to his business, that's also your choice.
    But please stop saying that if we all don't come to accept the gay lifestyle, we are hateful, or bigoted, etc. We are not. I disagree with your lifestyle. I think it is sick. But I have every right to hold that opinion. Stop trying to push me around to your point of view.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NonHater

      My sentiments exactly Mary.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BFWG

    You can't taste hate. Lunchtime and I want me a number 1 with a large sweet tea.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cameron

    Eat Mor Chikin!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dee

    Correction to your story.

    Chick-fil-A espouses "Christian values," NOT Christian values.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve T.

    I am not a particularly religious man...and I am not against gay marriage. However, I do not see how someone expressing their religious views about what they believe as being "hatred." She did not say, "we won't serve, hire, or even treat gays differently." She was simply saying, "we believe marriage should be between a man and a woman." Everyone is free to choose to eat at chick-fil-a or not if they disagree with their position...just like we should all free to have different opinions on certain subjects without being called a bigot. To say otherwise would make you the bigot.

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

    Is so funny reading these people call other people hate mongers and bigots. They clearly misunderstand the meaning of both. They have just as much a right as you to an opinion and there was nothing about hate in Cathy's response just that they support the traditional family values and there is nothing wrong with that.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      It’s clear YOU don’t know their meaning. Having the ‘right’ to their opinion as nothing to do with ether. (I.E. Black Panthers, K*K*K) As far as the hate goes… that is a matter of opinion. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Adding to your ignorance is this notion of ‘traditional’ family values. You clear need both a dictionary AND a history book.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. anon

    Hate to tell you folks this, but you DO realize that now his business is going to boom? The only ones who will boycott it are the gays, who are an EXTREME minority, and their straight loon friends, who are also, thankfully, a bit rare.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatrickR

      Ironic that you posted as "anon". Straight "loon" friends who are rare??? What rock have you been living under the last thirty years?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      @Anon
      As usual you scrubs are poorly educated. Poll after poll shows that the MAJORITY of U.S. citizens support gay rights. And you wonder why people say conservative/republican/Christians are stupid.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Langor

    I've always loved your food and your values, glad to see you haven't compromised on either. Our family will buy more of your product should you have any decline in revenue... which I have faith won't happen.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chicken Lips

      LOL–hope your insurance is paid up with all the fat and sodium you are about to consume!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Butch

      Chik-Fil-A? Isn't that the sandwich with the inevitable grizzle in the center bite?

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