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. Jim

    Insignificant story, if I may say so myself.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Jim Pretty sad you consider the discrimination against a group of people here insignificant.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. HaveSomeTea

    NOW THE BURNING QUESTION.... Do they hire gay people? Do they discriminate against them?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Aeroman

      That's illegal and would be particularly watched now that they've publically expressed their views.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. AdamandEve

    See gay demons cast out at emmanuel. tv

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave, CA

      Well we all know how Eve screwed up everything for poor Adam. If you're into taking creation myth's literally that is...

      July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. DC

    It's funny how now a days when people disagree especially about this issue it becomes a hate issue. We all have our opinions and the freedom to have them. They are taking a stand just like you are so quit playing the hate card and get over it! If you don't like it don't eat there that's your right.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Chickfilafan

      Agree 100%!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @DC You are free to believe whatever you want. When you pass laws to force people to follow only your beliefs is when the hate comes out.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave, CA

      DC- if it was someone trying to treat YOU as a second class citizen and take away YOUR rights, you'd scream, wail, and call it hate too.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chickfilafan

    Yay ChickfilA! Love your food. Love your family values.
    I'll eat there more often to make up for the people who won't. Why is it fine for someone to say they support gay marriage and totally "bigoted" to say you don't. It's not like they discriminate in who they feed. Chill out folks.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave, CA

      Chickfilafan- so "family values" includes spreading lies and trying to treat others as inferior, second class citizens? Glad I don't live in your judgmental "traditional" world- aka fantasy land. Slavery was traditional biblical value too. Get over yourself. Enjoy your greasy, nasty hate.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. BDB

    Guess I'm for freedom of speech on this one. They are welcomed to their beliefs as long as they don't discriminate to their employees and customers. I am less likely to eat at Chick-fil-A however. What bothers me is when Christian conservatives try to point out that GLBT people are sinners I thought we were all sinners? Who are they affecting but themselves? Gay people sure aren't bringing down society. Wall Street greed is too busy taking charge of that!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. downinfront

    Popeyes!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Chickfilafan

      Is a greasy mess.....

      July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. tacostand

    No more business for them.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. humtake

    The only thing wrong with this entire situation is that people feel that if someone doesn't believe in what they do then they are free to be as derogatory as they want. Gays have basically changed this country from Land of the Free to Land of the Free unless you don't agree with me. So what if they believe in something you don't? It doesn't make them any more or less able to produce their product. I am for gay rights but I don't get my panties in a knot because someone else doesn't.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Art

      humtake, very well spoken, just because one disagrees with something doesn't mean they hate the individual doing it.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Erwin

    While I support Cathy's right to say what he believes and kind of admire the fact that he made that comment and stands by it knowing he will alienate customers because of it, I will no longer eat at Chick-fil-A, It's a shame because I liked their food, but wrong is wrong.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gurgi

    I never used to eat at Chick-fil-A. Now I will go out of my way to eat there when I have a chicken craving.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave, CA

      Gurgi- enjoy your coronary.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. LarryH

    Always liked this restaurant chain and they have given me more reason to like them. They stick to their values.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Manu

    Thanks and thanks. You will see me there again on Sunday 🙂 this is the first time some corporation has the guts to speak the Truth. And don't worry your business is not going away . We all know what happened to JCPENNEY who tried to promote the forced immoral values.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. SH

    Seems like only non-Christians have the right to voice their opinions these days. If Christians say what they believe, they are called haters. We don't have rights any more. People better start taking a stand for what's right and against what's wrong or it will be just like in the middle east– we'll be killed for even believing in God.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @SH Say want you want, but trying to pass laws is not freedom of speech. It's you using the police powers of the government to force your beliefs on others that do not agree with you.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mattski

      How about this? "I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. But I also believe that others have the right to live by their own beliefs, even if they do not agree with mine. All are welcome at Chik-Fil-A" How about that?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Totally agreed.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      No one is being silenced here. Both sides are getting equal oppotunities to voice their opinions.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mar

      exactly

      July 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • BoldGeorge

      Funny you should mention the middle-east in your comment (not that there is anything funny about this whole issue), but I don't know if you've noticed this...Islam is taking over this country at a very fast pace. I have no doubt that this country will have Islam in our politics at a high level right after Obama's reelection. Look at the signs around you, in the media, in politics and even in our educational system. They are subtle right now but it will become more and more noticeable within just a few years. It will overshadow Christianity in less than a decade, if that. And believe it or not, the gay agenda is highly supported by Islam. Just keep looking out.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • TommyTee

      Hey you just answered your own question in your statement. What is right and wrong...just because your god says it is wrong doesn't mean it is....you are imposing your beliefs which are founded in religion on non-believers, heck on everyone. And therein lies the problem my friend. Gay people do not have a problem with you, they have a problem with you imposing your beliefs on them. Christians, Muslim, Jew...whatever, civil law should not follow religious views.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • ka

      How about Ireland where for years people have fought because they believe in different flavors of Christianity. So quick to go to the middle east. Man is so tribal, if everyone was white, the green eyes would fight the blue eyes.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • FLIndependent

      Here comes the "persecution" syndrome. Seriously, where are Christians being persecuted in our country?? Get over yourselves. This county is made up of many relgions, non-religious, etc. If you want to live in a "Christian" country please move to a theocracy.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nottolate

    "Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote on

    The real hatemongers are the gays and their supporters who label anyone with a differing opinion as "bigots." They're really bullies.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Ahh...Christian victim complex. It must be so tough on you being in the majority in this country. Not even allowed to pass laws marginalizing other people anymore. It must be sooo difficult.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
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