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. rfoster20

    Did this fool just say it was a genetic condition...? come on son

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

    The religious wingnuts just keep 'a postin'!!!

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

    Issue isn't going to be resolved here. Lets talk about it over a Coke and a ... Chicken Sandwich.

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

    I will not support a company that thinks I am immoral, ill or needs to be offed by the government. That's exactly what Chik-Fil-A believes. Oh, and playing Christian music in their stores and forcing their employees to pray at Orientation: wrong. The more you right-wingers push your LUDICROUS ideology, the more Equality will march forward – so give it up! We have facts on our side. You have, well, fairy tales and make-believe magic men in the clouds. (Yea, how's that workin' out for ya?)

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

      Hypocrit much? Gays are the ones doing the pushing. From the comments on here, they seem to be the "hateful" and "bigotted."

      July 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Deborah

    Although I support Chik-Fil-A's right to publicly state its opinion on the subject, I think it's foolhardy to involve a fast food chain in matters of politics and subjective morality. I wholeheartedly disagree with their official position, however, and hope this breech of professional etiquette doesn't cost them too much.
    I think a mass MARCH OF DISSENT should be arranged so the corporate mouthpieces realize they should stick to what they know: awesome chicken rather than imposing morality.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mochaboyslc

    I use to eat there all the time, but not anymore. I will not support a company who supports hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DrillPress

    Ate there last night. The place was packed (as usual). Good for them.

    So many of the people who are saying they will never eat there again are just putting on a show. They will be secretly stuffing that delicious fried chicken into their yaps when their friends aren't watching (in the style of Squidward and the Krabby Patty).

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You have no way of actually knowing that. So you are basically just making things up to make a point….and calling it fact. I’m shocked….really I am. I personally stopped eating at Chick-Fil-Hate over a year ago. I freely admit they have good food but it’s not good enough to lose my soul over.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GayAtheist

    Semper Fi to all out, loud, open and proud gay and atheist Marines.

    You protect ALL Americans...even the Christian Trash at Chick-Fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rfoster20

    And I'm glad they kicked ol boy outta the boy scouts too!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken margo

    At least the owners are honest and that's all you can ask for. Now the choice is yours, you can go to their establishment or not.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    Boycotting Chick-Fil-A = supporting gay marriage and losing weight from not eating fried chicken. WIN-WIN.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jacob

    ".....and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.

    Its funny how everyone is focused on his stance for gay marriage. He's also against everyone that has been divorced. Is it important to know the personal opinion of every executive, in every store you go into?
    You might just find yourselves with fewer places to shop in.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dennis Sullivan

    Will make a point of eating there more often. Glad to see organizations standing up to thuggery. Boy Scouts and now Chick-fil-A. Start of a trend??

    July 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Please explain how gay-marriage is “thuggery”.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      No response? Big surprise.

      July 20, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sandra

    I love Chick-Fil-A! I'm not going to stop eating there because Mr. Cathy (I guy I actually admire) states his opinion. As a matter of fact, I'll make it point to eat there more now. He could make more buckets of money if Chick-Fil-A opened on Sunday's but he is consistent with his beliefs and morals. I admire that. Who gives a crap if he offended gays and lesbians. Everyone is so thin-skinned and sensitive. We have other more pressing things to worry about like the decline of America.

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

      The hateful and bigotted gays are a good part of the decline of america.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nonredneck

    Chik-fil-a has bad overpriced food. That's why I don't eat there. All the pro-gay communists ranting about boycotting chik-fil-a don't really mean a thing. I doubt it will make it go out of business. Plenty of Muslim owned business contribute to terrorist organizations and they are still in business. Why? Because people like the products they sell in order to keep it in business. Same thing here.

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