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. Gurgi

    Sooo, what right does everyone else legally have that gays don't have? Not a single one. And don't pull the "marriage" stuff. They have the same right to marry someone of the opposite s3x as everyone else has. So gays have no leg to stand on, they are not denied any right that everyone else legally has. They want "more" rights.
    That statement cannot be disputed in any way shape or form.
    So far, no one has been able to prove the above statement wrong. Everything has been tried, mostly using "apples to oranges" comparisons, or putting in words or changing the meaning, or resorting to insults and name calling, thereby being the "hateful bigot" they accuse others of being.

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

    There position is what every company in America once was before they caved to pressure from 3% of the population. Bravo Chick Fil A stand By your principles you may loose the the business from Gays and Lesbians but that just means there's more for the rest of us!
    I didnt see anywhere in there announcement that they Hated Gays, I just saw where they didn't agree with there life choice.There is a big difference there and America sees it, The Gay world needs to drop the Hate tag line on everyone who disagrees with them. Its pretty simple to disagree without Hating.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Loyal Northern Democrat

    They are afraid someone will choke their chicken at a restaurant.

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

    Freedom of speech for everyone in America, except Christians. Why do people hate what God says in the bible?

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

      Why do you think christians do not have freedom of speech? They do as much as everyone else.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Sorry, where are we saying government should arrest him for his beliefs?

      I personally wouldn't care if he were Christian, Buddhist, Marxist or Scientologist. He contributes to campaigns against marriage equality, he earns my ire.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • DocCutty

      How is his freedom of speech compromised? He said what he wanted to. He...and you...just have to deal with the consquences of consumers making informed decisions. Fundamentalists need to stop playing martry. Nobody's compromising your freedom of speech. Others are just exercising theirs.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      how are you people so ignorant as to believe there is a "god" ???????? have you ever heard or seen this mythical being? NO and you ever will

      July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Exactly! What has happened to America's freedoms? Suddenly, if an opinion is not politically correct, free speech goes out the window along with freedom of religion.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bert0529

      Whose freedom of speech was denied?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ed

    Not a smart move for Chick fil a. They will still have to serve gays. They will have to hire some gays or they will be accused of discrimination. Also, they can be expected to loose business. All in all, it was dumb of management to take a stand.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbmart1312

      Ed, Chick-fil-a espoused their beliefs. They did not say they would not hire gays. You are reading to much into it. They voiced their opinion. I think the gay and lesbian lifestyle is wrong but I have gay friends and have no problem in hiring someone who is gay. why is that even a popint of discussion?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      As far as I'm concerned, it was/is a great move. At least now I'll know who/what is sitting alongside me.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      Poor Ed. Chick-fil-a will likely gain business from Christians who want to support them because of their beliefs. And last time I checked there were a lot of believers out there.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Killing_time

      Dumb like getting "loose" and "lose" confused, huh?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rev. pelkey sr.

    it is a shame that people who are different froam a religios stad point always bash us for not condoning there life style bur they hate us and will bocot a truly christian company. shame shame shame on you

    July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roumen Los Angeles

      Rev, have you ever considered an education? You know, learning how to write, spell, use grammar, etc.?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Get Real

    Bin Laden is dead and we are still at war in Afgan (almost 10 years), kind of weird that there are no concerns about that story.

    Maybe we should re-instate the draft so that could be a big topic on social media.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ken in MO

    They said, "we are married to our first wives." I guess that means that they cannot vote most Republican members of Congress...as many on on their 3rd or 4th wife. Oh, I forgot...only Christian when it suites them. I love their chicken but I cannot go back there again after this.....AND I am a Christian....they dont sound like Christians....they sound like Biggots! Shameful!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Willy

    I ever found anything so great about their restaurants & find their bigotry disturbing enough to not ever go there... This is nothing new, and it's been quite some time since I spent my money in their store. No WalMart of Chic Fil A for me!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Aaron

    Way to go, Chic-Fil-A! Glad to see we have companies left that stick to their beliefs and refuse to bend to the liberal hate-mongers. I'll def. make it a point to eat their more often and continue supporting them.

    Also, why do they keep tossing out the word "hate", when talking about Chic-Fil-A.
    Disagreeing with something does NOT = hate.


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

      Strawman. They have contributed to fights against marriage equality, a stance which rips apart families.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Todd

    Wait a second. Who cares what the beliefs of their company's President are? It's not like they are preventing gays and lesbians from entering their establishments. While I do not agree with their stance, I do respect that they had the guts to say it publicly. Most corporate leaders hide behind their lawyers.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Killing_time

    Very happy to see SOMEONE standing up for what they believe in. I pray they kowtow to no one.

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

    The company truly showed what was important and that was the all mighty dollar. They quickly retracted their hard-line stance when they started to receive negative press/comments on the social media sites.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Padraig

    I hope all of the obese chirstian supporters of Chic-fil-a keep eating that fatty saturated food. the real God's plan was to invent fast, fried food so all the fatties die quicker! Its working! Fatty

    July 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      Wow that was Hateful and Bullylike. I just Dont Understand Why you have so much anger and hatred towards Christians.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. thecoldequation

    Chick-Fil-A hate mongers? All it did was express their stance on the subject. How sickeningly onion-skinned society has become, when there was nothing in the statement to cause a ruckus.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
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