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. citizen

    Wow people putting religion in this. We have to put up with the hate for Christianity by stating incest and polygamy, but dare we say that we dont agree with gay marriage and we get condemned. What a double standard.

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

    The so called progressives posting here are spouting more hate and bigotry than the owner of Chick-Fil-A. The people defending him at least have an argument based on logic; that being expression of first amendment rights. Many progressives on here can't find a valid reason why he shouldn't express his point of view, so they resort to ad hominem attacks on him and those who support him.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. K Dog

    Chick fil A. Thank You. Say what you believe and believe what you say. Well done. I don't believe in supporting it either, nor do I believe it is my right to punish their life style. I do feel sorry for those who choose to live that way and I am happy that the state I live in correctly chooses to ignore this choice.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack 1

    It's nice to see someone not sell out over political correctness. I'll sure buy their products.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Patricia

    I stand by the Chick-fil-A President. He has an opinion just as everyone else has one. If you agree or not you don't have the right to tell someone what they should feel. As for my opinion I agree with Dan Cathy. Mr. Cathy stand up for what you feel don't let anyone change your mind if that's what you believe. POWER TO THE PEOPLE

    July 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matthew

    Isn't capitalism great? A company can choose to make a statement and consumers can choose whether to patronize them. We need more free enterprise, not less!

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

    II realize Chick-Fil-A is family-owned and they can give money to whomever they please, such as the antigay organizations they choose to support – likelwise, as a consumer, I can vote with my feet and go to McDonald's instead.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. James Dee

    Its a privately owned business. If ownership wants to express it opinions on such a topic, then thats their right. Just as it is for consumers to eat there, not eat there, or organize boycots.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vega

      And a marriage is a contract between two consenting adults. So they should not be worried about gay marriage in the least. Right?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doc Knowitall

      Ahh, all the commie libs want their point of view and no one else’s expressed. Talk about discrimination and freedom of speech !

      July 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • joels2000

      jamesdee,

      You are incorrect jamesdee. Most if not all businesses are "privately owned." You are not "free" to do what you want because you have a private business. Chick-Fil-A can not fire someone because they are black. They can not fire somoene if they are muslim. I am wondering if you are confusing private business with private organization (like the and for profit and non profit. EEOC still applies to chick-fil-a.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. justin

    How can people that Mr Cathy is brandishing hate and using the Bible to do it by choosing sections of the Bible. All of the Bible is supportive of traditional family. There isn't a place in the Bible where it's supportive of gay marriage. It's not hatred toward any person persay, it's a belief centered around Christian values and grounded by faith in the Bible. I am Christian and support everthing Mr Cathy said. I think it's evident by looking at the product that CFA has built that they know what and how to do it the right way. I think they should be.used as role models for other businesses and people just the same to look up to and model after.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vega

      When you assume that all people give the same weight to the bible, you cross over into a fantasy land.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. citizen

    He never said he hates gay people but simply expressed his first amendment right to his opinion by stating he believes in traditional marriage..that's it...where's the hate?
    You want to shut people up for having an opinion against gay marriage. What is the gay community trying to pull. Fighting intolerance with intolerance is stupidity. Smart up and set examples if you want the people to accept the idea of gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Strawman, and a deceitful one to paint marriage equality proponents as bullies. No one here is attempting to shut up Cathy. No one here is attempting to prevent him from marrying.

      Contrary to what you're trying to present, Cathy and his company have donated money to groups who attempt to ban marriage equality. Criticism of his is valid. Your criticism is a lie designed to fuel animus to those criticizing him.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dB24

    The only reason I will not eat here is because the illiterate cows annoy the heck out of me...

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

      lol, so true

      July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PamKay

    Every person has the right to vote his conscience with his wallet. I often do this. It's your right, just as it is Mr. Cathey's right to hold his own beliefs. Christianity's very definition is love. We are required to love our Lord, our neighbors, and even our enemies, but we are not required to agree with everything anyone else believes. We are given the ability to apply the Bible's teachings with discernment. Those who have been accusing all Christians of "push[ing] one thing from that stupid book," are just showing their own small-minded bigotry. It seems that the only group of people that it's o.k. to freely discriminate against is Christians.

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

      Oh yes, the poor oppressed Christians.

      Let me pull over and get out of the way of your WAAAAAAAAHmbulance.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      Sorry baby, but painting the Christians as the victims will not fly in this century.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ

      well said!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bandomak

    Chick-fil-a long ago staked themselves out as a Christian business. Simply by stating that, they automatically declare that they are bigoted and ignorant. There is a phone book out there called the Christian Blue Pages, there you can find thousands of ways to avoid helping people who discriminate against others.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Very false. A Christian person or business does not have to exhibit intolerance, nor does an intolerant person or business have to be Christian.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      In every major city in America there is now the Gay Yellow Pages. Pick one up. Support these establishments. You will find old time service and a smile.

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

    I like Franks answer: "If one guy likes to get sodomized by another guy, what business is that of mine?" LOL, love it. Ain't America great

    July 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hayden

    I think that any company or person who picks and chooses there biblical stances like chik-fil-a is is spreading more hate and ignorance than the people that are negativly bashing them. I my self am a christian and believe that "man should not lay with man" however the one thing in the bible everyone forgets is the golden rule and its brother, "due unto others as you would have done to you" and "live and let live". You dont have to like there choices, you don't even have to live around it especially if your rich enough to live where ever you want. But dont shove your self rightous morals in ever one elses face, or else the people whos choices you dont agree with will shove theres into yours.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dylanesq@msn.com

      Well said,Hayden.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
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