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.
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Twitter comments were also divided.
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 â€“ 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.
â€śIt'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. Â As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.â€ť
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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I defenetly support it!!! ANd they will ALWAYS HAVE MY SUPPORT!!! plus my family loves chick fill a nuggets:-) marriage is between a man and a woman.......thats how God created it and thats how it keep on being. God doesnt hate gay people he hates their choice of becoming gay. They were not born gay........God doesnt make mistakes!!!
You are not gay, so basically you don't know if they are born gay or not. Furthermore, you know just enough about God as a dung beetle. That is a fact. Live with it.
You just called some of your fellow HUMAN BEINGS MISTAKES!!!! WOW....just WOW! If you're an example of a "true believer" then I'm more than happy to live my life without your so called beliefs. Do one to others as you would have them do unto you.
jbmart1312, its a valid point. Now they have to be careful not to cross the line between free speech and violating the law. Do you not think that they may have a bias against hiring gays?
You can be fired in about 28 states just for being gay. So I don't think that they are going to get in trouble for discriminatory hiring practices. This is yet another evil perpetuated onto gays that conservatives completely ignore.
you might notice that Cathy also says the company only supports the "biblical definition of marriage....we are all married to our first wives." WOW! No one who works at Chick-fil-A is divorced!!!!!! That is astonishing!! (insert eye roll here).
Hate? He never said anything hateful. He said what he believes in. Disagreeing with someone is not hate. Yelling "hate" and "phobia" anytime someone says something you disagree with is melodrama and not helpful.
When did it become a crime in the U.S. to have a personal opinion.
I eat bacon – I don't accuse my Jewish friends of hating me because they disagree with my decision to kill and eat pigs.
I prefer a library card over a Kindle. I don't accuse someone with a Kindle of hating me. Or being a Library-phobe.
The fact is that there are extremists out there on both ends – including the ones who yell "hate" everytime their feelings get hurt.
"I eat bacon â€“ I don't accuse my Jewish friends of hating me because they disagree with my decision to kill and eat pigs."
Now imagine they attempted to influence government to ban the sale of pigs for use as meat.
That is what those railing at Chik-fil-A are railing at. They do not merely "not support" marriage equality, which would be fine by me. They have donated time and money to organizations that actively seek to ban marriage equality.
It seems as thought the LBGT community with the support of the media wants EVERYONE to change their beliefs to match those of the LBGT community. There were no words of hate in Dan Cathy's statement – only his personal beliefs and those beliefs of the privately held company for whom he works. If people say anything in support of traditional marriage, the bullying tactics of some LBGT community members and supporters begin: accusations of hate, intolerance, bigotry. Why can't the LBGT community accept the fact that not EVERYONE is going to believe exactly the way they do?
We as Christians have to take a stand for righteousness. If Chick-a fila continue to stand God will sustain them. No weapons formed against them shall prosper.
As one of the dreaded "gays", a few thoughts:
– Yes, I know. I'm going to Hell. Given some of the people who are supposedly going to heaven I'm looking forward to a toasty warm afterlife, assuming that there is one. Also, I'm an athiest (double trouble!) so while I respect people's religious beliefs, any attempt to reason with me using the bible or god is falling on non-believing ears. By all means, feel free to pray about it.
– I admire anyone who stands up for their beliefs. If this is the stance that this company wants to take, fine. I will be over here enjoying my Oreos and Starbucks.
– The overuse of the word "hate" on all sides of this argument is getting old. If people think my lifestyle is disgusting and doesn't warrant equality, then that's fine as well. Call me names, deny my rights, whatever makes you sleep at night. In the end I will be happy with my partner for the rest of my life and there isn't anything you can do to stop us. Ah, freedom. It's a beautiful thing.
I applaud Chick-Fil-A's decision to continue to support traditional family values. I am sick and tired of the LGBT folks continued attempts at forcing their agenda on everyone.
They should start discriminating against all people named Wayne. It's just such a nasty sounding name and I just don't think God would approve of that name. I'm tight with God. We have coffee on Saturday mornings and I'm certain that he would disapprove.
I like Chick-fil-A's stance on this....! I will be sure to eat more chicken!!!!
Here is hoping that you will choke. Maybe a cute gay EMS employee will save your life. What will you think about gay then?
I'm going to get a chicken sandwich in about 20 min.........
telling someone they can't get married because it's against your religion is like me telling you that you can't have a donut because i'm on a diet.
No. That's like making someone accept donuts in their house who doesn't believe in them.
No. That's like making someone accept donuts in their house who doesn't believe in them.
Neither Christians nor the Taliban will ever unwrap that logic.
The bible is a book based on faith. Science is based on measuring and testing. Science has no opinion on religion. Please keep us out of it. Putting science up as the enemy of religion just makes it harder to educate people.
Dear Twit – Just because you are an idiot, you really don't need to go to a public forum and prove it!
God Bles Chick-fil-A! what an awesome testimony to what you believe. That's what God wants from us to stand even when you stand alone. I will eat more Chick-fil-a . This is not hate but Truth and all those who call it hate need to be SAVED. Give your life to the Jesus. He loves You so much!!
people like you should have to get JESUS tattooed to their forehead so i can avoid you.
You have no idea whether or not there is a God and you certainly don't know what he wants. How silly.
That does it! From now on, I will boycott dining at their business every Sunday! Wait till they see the impact of only getting income from just six business days a week!
Hasn't anyone noticed that their sandwiches really suck?
There is inevitably a grizzle in the center bite.
I love the way people are using the "scientist" as a call to authority like they were the new Gods. Science is a journey to knowledge, not the ultimate authority. Scientists do not all agree.