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. Mitch

    Hmmm, interesting. Men can't suck but their sandwiches can...

    July 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brad

    Jesus didn't eat chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lisa

    My daughter and I went to support our local Chick-fil-A today. They were packed and so was the drive thru!!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FLIndependent

    A poster here said, "Why is it always ok for the libs to scream racist or bigot JUST because someone disagrees with them and stands on what they believe, so much for the left being so understanding. The biggest racist and biggots "there are, the left who hate whites and hate Christians...and if you are both, good Lord watch out"
    This has to be one of the most HATEFUL comments on here....this person is actually saying all left-leaning people are non-white and non-Christian! That says it all, doesn't it. How hypocritical! Any she claims to be a God fearing Christian...just WOW!! Since you are so righteous and obviously a Republican, what do you think of Dick Cheney's gay daughter getting MARRIED!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gurgi

    I really wish the gays would come together and make a decision. Are the born that way? or Is it a lifestyle choice?
    If they are born that way, then they need to be tolerated and research conducted to find a way to cure them.
    If it is a lifestyle choice, then they are just sick perverts that need to be kept away from normal society.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Wow al of you educated, smart people write off thousands of years of human knowledge and learning.....beacause you are so much smarter than those of us who are believers. You had better hope that you are correct....

    July 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    Hey, if a particular man likes to sodomize / or get sodomized by another man, what concern is that of mine?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. smith

    They are standing by their beliefs, how is that discrimination toward gays? Now that gays know they are "anti-gay" I doubt they will go there, or desire to work there as another commenter posted. Unless they don't read the news. It amazes me that just because I don't believe something the same way you do, I'm discriminating against you. Amazing.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Damien

    As long as people are not exactly the same there will be prejudice and bigotry (from all sides), however the world would be very boring if we were all the same.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vega

      Thank goodness for the Taliban. They are a mirror to our Christian intolerance.

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

    Don't worry Dan, you didn't create that cmpany anyway – the smart, educated people have already told you that. Let them keep telling each other how smart they are and how stupid we believers are....it makes them happy and changes nothing for us.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Boise Maroon

    I guess that's fine–whatever. But let's not call it the "Biblical definition of the family unit." How exactly does the Bible define a family, because I'm pretty sure it's not the definition they were looking for?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eagle

    So just because cfa doesn't agree with gay practice means they hate gay people? They haven't denied them employment or food... They haven't done anything other than voice an opinion. If you disagree with people on the car they drive will you hate them? "I hate you because you drive a dodge, go away." Like how ridiculous can you be? Chick fil a hasn't violated any laws or treated anyone unequally. They have simply voiced the opinion that they disagree with a certain lifestyle. Get a grip.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vega

      So they should have no problem exposing their political contributions to vehemently anti-gay politicians.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geni Holmes

      Regardless of whether you are for or against gay marriage, what President Dan Cathy said was a simple statement of his company's *opinion* and there was nothing 'hateful" about the statement. It was not "hate filed" nor should that statement define the company as a "hate monger". There was not a thing derogatory about that statement. Good grief people, calm down. But I would be more than willing to bet all these people screaming about never going back to eat at Chik-Fil-A again will go back.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nboy

      They haven't just voiced their opinion. They donated money to causes like NOM that fight against gay rights, specifically Marriage Equality.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Do Gays Work at Chick-fil-A?

    I bet they discriminate and that their hiring practices restrict gays from being hired. If that was the case, would that be OK? The Cathy family seems so high and mighty so it's a matter of time before they fall since the scrutiny has begun.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myto Senseworth

      It's just a mater of time before society pushes the gays back in the closet and out of sight.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doc Knowitall

      You underestimate the power of a tasty chicken sandwich to sway public opinion.
      Boycots won't hurt this group at all. !

      July 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    What is absolutely amazing is the lack of TOLERANCE for traditional family values!

    I love how the liberal-gay-nambla-leftist agenda castigates Christians for being intolerant, but they are the most intolerant of all.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis


      You're absolutely right that we liberals are intolerant, but you miss the point: we're intolerant of INTOLERANCE. We must never be so tolerant as to tolerate intolerance.

      People are certainly allowed to have their beliefs, but it becomes a problem when those beliefs are used as an argument against a minority. Need I remind you that in the past, people have used religious beliefs and the Bible to exclude African Americans from their rightful place at our country's table?

      It's almost as if as long as the bee is flying in someone else's bonnet, you not only don't get it, but you actually support the BEE.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Whatever


    July 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
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