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. Crazy

    Have not eaten at this place for a long time, and will definetly be staying away from it now.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. qwdvmakl;smdvki

    Sounds like a great restaurant to bring my family to

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

      Your gay children might not feel comfortable there.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ffacts

    if you are gay, you are free to be with whoever you want to be with.

    however, do not change the definition of a marriage. If two gay men want to put themselves inside each others rear ends and call that a healthy, wise way to life, that's their business. but do not twist the true meaning and definition of a marriage to meet your sick ways!

    I will visit ONLY chick fil`a from this point forward. they have all my business.

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

      Nobody here was talking about rear ends, you pervert.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      indorri, duhhh, that is what the male gays do? They are the perverts.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      I raise my glass. Here is hoping you turn into a great big Chik-Fil-A sandwich.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      And no one was talking about what people do in the bedroom until he brought it up, the pervert.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sbreezy

    i have no issue boycotting a fast food restaurant that sells chicken mcnuggets on wonder bread.

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

    Its all about the gay Chickens you know.

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

    So it's ok for gay rights activist to throw parades, shoving their views down our throat but it's not ok for someone else express their opposition?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • EndTheHate

      I went to a straight pride parade in Chapel Hill, NC. Google it for proof.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • bakum

      It sounds to me like you don't want freedom of speech, you want everyone to agree with you. I personally applaud Dan Cathy for being honest and at the same time will never eat at his restaurants ever again. I don't want my money to be supporting what I think is a bigoted, ignorant ideology.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan

      This is what happens when you tell a subgroup for 2,000 years that they are going to hell. They grow a backbone and tell you that you are wrong.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Donald in CA

    If mr. cathy found out one of of his children or grand kids was gay would he feel the same way? Dick cheney changed his mind after his daughter came out of the woods. Christian hypocrites is what they are.

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

    In other news Chick-fil-A announced that they will only serve right wings and azzholes.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Killing_time

      Uh, just why exactly do you feel compelled to call yourself EndTheHate then spew so much of it on here? You're nothing more than a stereotypical left-wing hypocrite.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jdude

    I'm so sick of CNN running stories like this just to get everybody stirred up and shouting at each other. Who comes out ahead? the media makes money either way.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kelvin

    THINK about your closest friend; the one that loves you unconditionally – do you "agree" on everything? I'm almost certain you don't! There will always be conflict and there will always be a differing of opinions. But does that means that people have the license to label people as haters and bigots simply because they have different values and standards in which they live? Back off the mis-labeling and the assault of people's character; because what comes through "your" actions says a lot about "you" than the legitimacy of your movement.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Diamond Air

    gay chickens everywhere,

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rascal Rabble

    lol...there is no such thing as gay marriage!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • EndTheHate

      lol....there is no such ting as an intelligent bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • EndTheHate


      July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt

    Love me that Chick-fil-A!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    So they only hire christians then? Having to pray at meetings would be a bit much. Hell it's bad enough when Walmart employees have to do their stupid cheer...

    July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chicken Lover

    Good call Mr. Cathy, don't compromise your beliefs to accomodate others. You have survived this long with God's help and that is how you will withstand this.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
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