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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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. Cameron

    Eat Mor Chikin!!! Because its Soo Good!!!!

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

    Not everyone believes in God or the bible. That is the great thing about this country – that we are free to believe in the god we choose or in no god at all. Following your religious beliefs is fine until it involves discriminating agains or arming other.

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

      Wow I didnt know that disagreeing with someone = discriminating agains or arming others.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Funding Hate Is the Issue

    Hitler had a set of values he believed in and look what it did. There's one thing to live and practice your own values. But it's different when you are directly funding initiatives that affect others and their rights. What if I said my values don't allow Christians to divorce? It's all about protecting traditional marriage and the family. And if a Christian got a divorce, both spouses would be taxed for that action at a very high rate. All other religions are free to divorce without penalty. Would that be fair? Especially when limiting the rights of one group and not all.

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

      So Chic-fil-a = Nazi Germany.....yea right....keep drinking the Kool Aid!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Surfdude99

      Amazing! It seems one is not free to express one's opinions to the totalitarians on the left. Ridiculous to label his opinion hate speech whether you agree or disagree.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • I like Chicken

      A tolerant person's intolerance of people or businesses with differing views is rather hypocritical, don't you think?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1Patriot

      Every single one of you using this platform to bash Christianity need to face the truth- Subjective Morality is a slippery
      slope to anarchy and widespread immorality. You may Think you know something about Jesus, but it shows in your writing that you do not. In such a hurry to blame them for everything that doesn't go your way...So, you are gay and don't feel like you are getting your fair share of rights now because your ideas of marriage aren't supported by the local chicken place? That is your excuse for bashing the principles that allowed this country to flourish into what it is?
      My suggestion- go to Taco Bell then pray.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    Here is a concept, you can disagree with someone else's choices in life and that doesnt mean you hate them it means you disagree with them, but to the gay world to disagree is to hate, Now you can say Hater all you want but its easy to see there isnt any hate here its just a choice.
    hers to You Chick Fil A You have my business I love your Tea.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. maltytasker

    Will they kick me out if I don't say a prayer before I eat?

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

      I'll never know. I'm not going back.

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

      Yes and if you dont buy a milkshake stone you to death with the new chocolate chip cookies

      July 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sbreezy

    so looking forward to the day that the baby boomers finally stroke out and leave the world to us human beings. we will all put roses on your graves and then convert all the big churches into JCPennys

    July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • candw1

      I am a baby boomer, age 65 and I do not agree with Chick-fil-A in any way. I do not agree with religious zealots or the super right wing religious screwballs. But sbreezy you are doing the very same thing as these nuts...painting every baby boomer with the same brush. That is completely wrong and misplaced judgment on your part, wishing that a total generation dead is just as wrong just as they are about their stance on the rights of gays to marry.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    I love there tea, you will always have my business.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bath salts

    I will be sure to order Chick-Fil-A for the next clan meeting.

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

      You need to get off the bath salts. They mess up your thinking.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JustMe....

    This company certainly has a right to decide it's business policies. Just as I have a right to determine where I will spend my hard earned money. I already scratched Chick-fil-A off my list long ago because of their support of ideologies I don't agree with. This is simply one more reason to keep my money in my own pocket!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tim ("Not a Fan")

    As I scroll through and read some of the remarks obviously written by those who are lost and blinded by the truth, I have to ask myself....... Christianity, when interpreted and lived out correctly, represents everything that's good and decent in the world, i.e. love, patience, kindness, etc. If I live my life within those principles and find out in the end there is no God, (will not happen by the way) then I've lost nothing. But if all of you who are lost, remain lost and in the end find out there really is a God, then you have lost everything!

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

      Pascal's Water is a passe, trite and cynical attempt to scare someone into believing. A god of a different stripe may well reward disbelief and punish belief, or would reward skepticism and punish gullibility, or even vice versa.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      Pessimism is a God given virtue. Start asking questions. Don't accept the "truth" from anyone who hasn't seen God or returned from Heaven.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hollyrobyn

      I totally agree with what you said.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jesse

    It's about time some company had the guts (or gizzards) to stand up. It's just crazy how you are labeled as a hater if you stay with God. It seems that the finger is pointed in the wrong direction.

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

      God isn't the problem. The bible is the problem.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sheesh

    It's easy to say "Science has proven the bible to be false, just a little FYI there for ya...." Give examples.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael Montgomery

    I won't be eating at burger king anytime soon

    July 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Maybe_Me

    I commend Chick-Fil-A for exercising their right to have strong beliefs and to publically stand behind them, which isn't seen very often in the business world. I'd also like to say that as a gay man, your company will not get another dime of my hard earned money – thats MY right. I also want to say thank you to the company for making this so public, so others can make an informed decision about whether or not to support your political leanings.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. OU812

    If you don't like it go eat somewheres else. Good the line might be shorter now, LOL

    July 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
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