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. Yanaris

    Shamed on you old man,god forgive them

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

    it's obvious where the hate is. Just because people don't agree with you, doesn't mean you or anyone else has the right to just bad mouth them and criticize them. Isn't that what you don't want brought upon yourselves. For the choices you make. Double standard is what I"m seeing in a lot of these posts. Go figure.

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

      Come back and talk to us when you have been discriminated against from the cradle to the grave in a land that promises that all men are created equal.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernCelt

      Faith (strange name for a girl that doesn't seem to have any),
      Discrimination? Try being born Catholic and just see the bigots crawl out of the woodwork. We don't teach hate, quite the opposite in fact.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lets Be real

    Let the man have his point of view and quit hating cause this company doesnt sell sausage. Go get your sausage elsewhere he dont need your business dirty butt takers

    July 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Faith

      This goes for anyone who has ever been divorced also.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      We aren't mad cuz he ain't selling sausage. We're made because he's trying to stop other people from selling sausage (donates money to campaigns and groups that fight against marriage equality).

      Also, no one was talking about butts, you pervert.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Seamus

    I hate Chick-fil-A for the sole fact that they charge over a dollar extra to put lettuce and tomato on an already overpriced chicken sandwich.

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

    Went to eat at Chick-fil-A at lunch to show my support and couldn't even get in the parking lot it was so crowded. Yep, the boycott is already having an effect.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    People of this land, including the puzzled and troubled souls that are confused by the look of their genitals:
    It’s really not all that hard to figure out, is it? It is like this, it is the left-hand or the right-hand, is it day or it’s the night, it’s a rich person or one that’s a poor person and of course, it’s a GIRL or no…., it’s a BOY! Famous words that are cried out from the delivery room every hour across the world!
    Either you are a man, or you are a woman, and the bottom line is, it only fits one way, unless you are sick between the ears. The bodily function of an individual’s rectum, male or female, is used for one purpose and one purpose alone. I don’t think any of you need a picture drawn to show you this purpose, even though it appears that a small minority of mankind needs to review their high school human anatomy textbook.
    If you are sick, get the help you need to find your way back to normal. The entire gay idea is repulsive, disgusting and reeks with filth and sickness, both mentally, morally and as it pertains to basic hygiene!
    This country has far bigger problems, like the economy, retaining strong family values, and putting God first in our lives, back in our government, back into the public & private school systems and in that of our hearts; than we do by giving attention to such a basterd movement as gay rights. We need to get back to the principles this land was founded upon, and the weak minded and sick, should stay in the closet or seek the help they so desperately need.
    As for Chick-fil-a as a company, or any others, both corporation or as individuals, who so proud and so willing to make a stance, May GOD BLESS them each and every one!
    To all those who love America, make a stand for it! For all those who love the Lord, pray for our country and for these sick lost souls, before it is too late and they burn in hell damnation for all of entirety!
    God Bless America & God Bless Chick-fil-a!

    July 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernCelt

      Ever spent any time in that delivery room, or know any Obstetric Personnel? Not every baby is born with a clear definition. The doctor sometines has to make a choice, chooses wrong, and the baby's brain wants what its equipment can't deliver when it grows up and the hormones flow.The rest of the cases are a genetic mutation. It is Nature, not always Nurture.
      They can't help the way they are, stop" throwing stones".

      July 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Albeebee

    Hey the earth used to be flat, slaves sub human, and who dared say no faced persecution or death. It's just a definition of a word / practice this time. It'll pass.

    But I have to say one thing though, that they are inevitably the force that put shame on the different, makes parents disown their kids, and gives school bullies strength.

    At any rate, I am still glad to see many are standing up to them, and that we continue to progresses into a more rational and compassionate society.

    Christians now enjoy a free society with a proper shape of the earth, and equal rights for all races and genders. Christian parents will soon find out how relieved they are to not fear they give birth to a gay kid, because by then it'll be a non-issue.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KLN

    I support Chick Fil A. It's a Christian owned company. They should not have to be apologetic for having traditional Christian Biblical beliefs. I would point out there was nothing mentioning "hate" in the statement released. Just because you don't condone something doesn't mean you "hate" the people choosing to do it.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDinHouston

      Junk Food for Jesus – everyone stop by and get your free WWJE (What Would Jesus Eat) bumpersticker.

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

    So sick of this crap. This goes beyond religion, this is about America. As much as you have a right to be openly gay, they have a right to to be openly anti-gay marriage. In no way was what he said hateful or bigotry. If you don't like it fine, don't buy their products, you're just one less person I have to wait on to get my food.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      And no one is saying they don't have that right. Another deceitful strawman.

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

      Nope, nothing wrong at all – it's just like when the same Southern restaurants who had the nice back door, separate seating area and separate washroom for people of color. Those restaurants weren't against "those people" either, they even went out of their way to give them their own separate area and their own rules. Junk Food for Jesus just prefers white Christians to any of "those people" that don't meet their select criteria, that's all. What's the harm in that?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. caliroll

    Bet anyone a million dollars that some of these righteous creeps are loitering about in men's rooms tapping their sweet little feet under the stalls!

    July 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Better Things

    I've got better things to do than boycott companies that disagree with my political positions, even if they fund the opposition. They're free to waste their money however they want after I give it to them. I go there for a decent meal, not for moral counseling and funny thing is, I get a decent meal with no attempts at moral counseling. Furthermore, boycotting a company just puts unfortunate low level employees out of work. The management will shut down, cash out and live happily ever after while you idiots put already poor people out of work.

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

      I don't think it's fair to label the boycotters as idiots, though I think your assessment is fair.

      That being said, it seems untenable to just continue funding them if you view them as actively engaging in injustice. It's a rough position.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Better Things

      If your goal is to reduce funding to the opposition, then yeah, boycott But you're doing so at the expense of innocent people. But I think people who are willing to hurt innocents, regardless of motivation, are idiots. Sorry.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      But what about those who don't go there because they dislike the food? They're also "hurting innocents".

      I'm not denying collateral, but it's untenable to state prima facie that not patronizing somewhere is hurting the innocent low level workers. Otherwise, we'd all be morally required to visit everywhere at least once, no matter or own personal preferences. I think it's more appropriate to lay the blame for any collateral damage at the feet for those who instigate the boycotts, i.e. the Chik-Fil-A upper hierarchs.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. senseless pillow fight

    If civil unions had the weight marraige does this wouldn't make the news. Gays don't care about religion, they care about benefits that come with the recognition of said filed union. So recognize civil unions to give those benefits and let god sort it out. To proclaim that all religious people hate gays is simply as ridiculous as saying no gays believe in god. If it wasn't a benefit issue it wouldn't be one at all.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Agreed, civil unions. Don't try to change the definition of marriage.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gregory

      Maybe gays wouldn't be so militant if they hadn't missed out on those benefits for 2,000 years. They are not fighting for themselves only. They are fighting to correct the past shamelessness of this country and to pave a better path for all gay Americans who are yet to be born. Denying gays won't end the birth of gay children. This tactic is a religious fantasy.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Sooo, Gregory, 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

      July 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      Gays don't care about religion? Yet another generalization about this population from someone who doesn't know a thing about this community.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      My opinion is that we should take away the legal weight which marriage is given. It is, and should be, a religious choice how one is married. It shouldn't be given special legal status. If we don't decouple marriage (pun not intended) from the legal system, then we stay at the current stalemate of whether we deny equality to gay people, or deny right of practice to religious people. Because if gay marriage is legalized, I give it about 2 weeks before someone sues a church for refusing to marry them, and another 8-9 months after that before one of the judges rules against a church in such a case. Then it becomes a question of whose rights are more right.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      And everyone would have the same rights if only Christianity would be allowed because everyone would be Christian. What, you want to be Muslim? Jewish? Wiccan? You're asking for special rights!

      No one's falling for your lies, Gurgi.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      I agree and I"m not gay. Get government out of marriage (ie. tax breaks for married couples and for children).

      Is it fair that a married man and woman earning 100K pay LESS TAX than a single person earning 100K or a gay couple earning 100K? Look it up in your tax tables at the back of the 1040 booklet.

      Its called PANDERING to get votes and both parties do it.

      Eliminate the horrendous family court system and let "marriages" be dissolved as any other sensible business contract would be, when one party wants out. If churches want to exclude gay couples from ceremonies, fine.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. craig

    I think the key issue is that Chick-Fil-A donates a portion of their profits to groups that lobby in opposition to gay rights.

    While certainly private business owners are welcome to give their points of view on social issues, it's good for the public who spend money at this restaurant to know how some of the money they're paying will be used. If you're okay with a portion of the cash you drop on chicken nuggets going to fight gay marriage and other gay related social issues... chow down.

    I'll eat elsewhere.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gregory

      I would strongly suggest boycotting Mormon establishments also.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike500

      When you buy a ticket to a Barbara Streisand concert or go see a movie with some Hollywood leftist (and nearly all are), you are supporting their contributions to their agendas. This is no different. The 'tolerant' left is the most intolerant group in the world.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      MIKE500 said: "The 'tolerant' left is the most intolerant group in the world."

      Correction, they are the second most intolerant. The prize goes to the Christian Conservative Right.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Great post, Craig. Thank you for beautifully articulating what's at issue here. I, too, will eat elsewhere.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    I'm still trying to figure out what "anti-LGBT policies" Mr. Cole-Schwartz is talking about. "We believe in the family unit, as biblically defined" isn't a policy... it's a statement. They didn't finish it up with "So if you're gay, you get reduced benefits, lower wages, or poorer quality service." I'd be curious to see Cole-Schwartz's evidence of "open discrimination", given that discrimination is about actions, not thoughts or words. In all likelihood, there are discriminatory people who work for Chick-Fil-A... but any company that size, with that many people, is going to have the same problem. After all, if even 1 in 1000 people is a super-bigots, given that around 30 people work at a given Chick-Fil-A and there are 1600 stores, that's at least 48 super-bigots working for the store, statistically speaking. No company that size can weed out all the "bad apples" before they have a chance to do something stupid that reflects poorly on the company.

    There's also no hate going on here from there point of view. At no point did they talk down anyone... they merely acknowledged their beliefs. When I say, "I believe X", that's not equivalent to "I hate all people who don't believe X." But I'm a computer programmer... what do I know about logic?

    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Yes, I realize "is a bigots" flies in the face of anyone who's ever heard of subject-verb agreement. I apologize, I swear!

      July 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • sacs88

      Well said, Mike!

      July 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Heh, wish computer programming translated well into human psychology.

      The issue is that not that they don't condone marriage equality, it's that they actively donate money to fight it. I would have no qualm with them if they merely didn't support it.

      That's the problem with using binary logic in politics. "Supporting family values" is code speak for "can't let them f**s marry".

      July 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      We embrace all people who aren't named Mike. See, nothing discriminatory there.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TonyGa

    Hey, they make good chicken sandwiches and nuggets. Why do gays think anyone that doesn't fall for the gay marriage thing is a bigot ? Two men loving each other is something other than marriage. Gay couples should have legal rights equal to other couples (where practical). Move on to bigger issues. Thanks.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
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