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. TMF

    It's Refreshing to see Christian values being upheld. That's what this country was founded on and should get back to. Thank you Chick-fil-A!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Restaurant Critic

    Fried chicken industry???? Stop already. You don't like their values system, please just go somewhere else. You don't want their food, and they don't want you as a customer. Everybody is happy.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. V

    Chik-fil-A has never hid their religious beliefs, which is an odd thing to say about a company. This stance was a given. If you don't like it, eat somewhere else or shut up and take your chicken sandwich, as they will serve you.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. pistachio

    Sorry people who dissapprove of Cathy stance. I did not hear one word of hate by that person in his statement. He was just stating what the restaurant stands for, the same way gays state what they stand for. How anyone could read hate in his statement is beyond belief.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @pistachio Yes, and in many of our opinions what they stand for, denying rights to a group of citizens, is hateful.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Actions are more important than words. Spending money lobbying and pushing for laws that marginalize other minority groups of the population is wrong. While their bigotry might not necessarily be rooted in "hate" the net effect is the same.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aimb

    Chick Fil-A has the right to state their bigotted, anti-Christian beliefs, and I have the right to be happy for another reason to avoid their nasty food like the plague.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Hypocrit much??

      July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |

    If Chicl-Fil-A's stance on Christian values is so offensive to gay people, then why is it that some gay people call themselves Christians? Isn't the Episcopol Church a Christian denomination? This issue only points out the doublestandard on both sides. I am not gay nor do I care about gay marriage or marriage in general. Its all hogwash if you ask me! But if just about everything on T.V. nowadays has a pro gay slant it doesn't mean that I'll stop watching it. Shows like Modern Family, Will and Grace, Ugly Betty and so on are all over the airwaves. The fact that gay people are all upset becuase a restuarant chooses to state its values is ludicrous at best.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      On that, I agree with you. I've never understood how gay people can want to continue to be Christian, but childhood brainwashing is hard to overcome. For that matter, I don't know why women would really want to either. They're little more than chattel according to the Bible. And THAT is the reality of "traditional" Christian marriage and family values.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. downinfront


    July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Yep, going there for lunch today instead of the Chick-Fil-X.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. js

    Chick fil A maintains a double standard just like religion. They do and say two different things. For instance, while they say they are biblical, they also accept money at the counter from child abusers, ra-pists, p.o-rn addicts, thieves, drug addicts, spousal abusers. chick Fil A, how does it make you feel knowing you built an empire with help from the derelicts of society?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    Gay people don't want the world to revolve around them, they want to be treated equally. Chick-fil-A is being boycotted because they discriminate, not because they "don't share gay values," whatever those are. As a Christian, I wish Chick-fil-A would stand up for Christian principles instead of human prejudice.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Clearly stated, they treat everyone w/ respect whether they support the lifestyle or not. You don't give money to everyone who asks you for it, do you? Does that mean you hate them? No, it just means you choose to use your funds more wisely. Perhaps you should read Romans 1 and meditate on the "christian principles" written there. Find out what God thinks first and what His principles are. Christ didn't give money to the sinners when he walked this earth, but that doesn't mean He didn't respect them as people. He showed them their sin and healed their souls. Then he expected them to get their sin right and honor God through their actions. Don't hate Truett Cathy for speaking the truth found in God's Word. Search it out for yourself, and stop being brain-washed by a God-hating media and world. Wake up, Christians!

      July 20, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      I couldn't agree with you more, Dan. Good to know that there are other Christians out there who know that the foundation of Christianity is love. The Bible I read still tells me that "God is love," and to "love your neighbor as yourself." It's a shame that other people don't see it that way. They'd rather stick to the rules and be "right" than stick to the words of Christ and love.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I believe what the Scriptures tell us. I jus can't make up my own. I respect all souls and hope for God's mercy on Judgement day.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • sonofamram

      Somehow I don't think gays boycotting Chick-fil-A will have much affect. When I eat there I think I see a lot more customers with American flag pins than rainbow pins.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      But, Dan. They ARE standing up for Christian principles. Marriage, as defined by the bible, is an essential principle. And they are in no way discriminating! They lovingly open their doors to any person and have never stop serving someone because of their life choice.. So you can't say they discriminate at all. And if you are a true Christian Dan, you'd understand that they are following ALL of the Christian principles, by loving their neighbor, and being kind. That doesn't mean they have to agree or support the Sin in which that person lives in.

      July 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • trailsofthewinterstorm

      wanting equal rights does not equal 'thinking the world revolves around them'.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CutieGirly

      Dan how is Chick-Fil-A showing human prejudice?? Are they refusing to serve gay customers? They discriminate after them anyway? Or they just state an opinion? They opposed to gay marriage something which biblically is between a man and a woman under God (its in the vows)? Does Chick-Fil-a marry people??? No! so why does this matter? I dont see the logic of your statement... human prejudice.. really/ I think not.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      Chick-Fil-A doesn't discriminate. My son works for Chick-Fil-A and is a proud gay young man, his managers and coworkers know it and treat him as a valuable member of the team. Management's beliefs do not translate into discrimination necessarily.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      How is it discrimination to voice your opinion? You do know the meaning of discrimination, correct? I thought as Americans we had a freedom of speech? Live your life as you chose but with thte understanding not everyone will agree with it. Theres a difference between discrimination and not agreeing with a lifestyle. If chik fil a refuses to serve people becaus ethey are gay or if they are openly rude to gay people then I could see your point. All thats happened here is they stated their point of view and beliefs and are standing strong on them. Just as we Christians do with our faith.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catalyst

      Please do explain how Chick-fil-A discriminates. Just because the owner believes in traditional marriage, doesn't mean they discriminate. You call yourself a Christian, but you don't appear to have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

      July 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • history lover

      Exactly how are they discriminating against G&L's? By making a statement to say they don't agree with their lifestyle? Are you for real? The CFLa in my neighborhood has an openly gay man working at it! What discrimination?

      July 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Uh, where is the discrimination coming from? The article simply says that Mr. Cathy made statements that he did not support gay marriage. There is no discrimination here. It seems like the gays and lesbians are the real haters in all this.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
    • HappyForyYou

      bible bible not human

      July 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Then you aren't a Christian. Let me guess, you also support abortion.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • NATE

      Dan you are not a Christian. A Christian would not stand for a life style that is contrary to the Word of God. I'm very sad that my children will have to grow up and see a man in love with another man. that is nasty and Gays need to stop trying to change everybody else and change themselves.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • oakhill

      You lost me there. They aren't espousing any prejudice. Nor are they discriminating against anyone. Simply stating an opinion. So what's the problem.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Dan, I am a christian who shares the opnion of Mr. Cathy. From what I have read about his statement I do not see where he did anything other than share that he supported a pro family organization; like many other organizations who support political advocate groups. I am very confused how his statement shows hate of any who believe differently than he. The only hate I see is coming from people who have their feelings hurt because someone disagreed with them publicly. I don't hate people that have different opinions than I. I Have compassion for the road they have chosen. This is a Christian principal that mr. Cathy has showed support for, the family. I urge you to seek out Christian principals in Gods word and I pray you choose to believe them as Mr. Cathy does . The best way to prove what Christian principal is would be to back them with Christian literature.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      discriminate? wow...woooowwww!! that is funny! anyone can voice their opinion about ANYTHING! gays voice their opinion, athiest voice their opinions, that's all it was. he has a belief, and he was just stating his belief. he wasn't "discriminating" against gays. That is obsurd! It is sad that when a Christian says something it is picked to death. I have personally met Dan and his father Truett. While they hold their values and beliefs TRUST ME they would treat a gay person just the same as any other individual.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbe

      Perfectly said Dan!

      July 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mkane

      so chic fil a stopped serving gay people? how are they discriminating? since when has chic-fil-a held marriages, maybe the locations in vegas, i dont know.

      July 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jr

      There is no report of discrimination anywhere that I have read, simply one man's opinion. What you are saying is that if he doesn't agree with you, then he is discriminating? Other posters have written about the company "preaching hate". If I say that I don't ageee with or approve of what you do or say does not mean that I am ""preaching hate". You are the one "hating".

      July 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dek

      explain to me the discrimination part again? how does the man saying what he stands for have anything to do with discrimination. you people should really just shut the hell up, since you obviously dont know anything about what your spouting.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. runabout

    Sidebar question. Is their food any good? I have never had Chick-Fil-A. And the pictures of their food on their website don't look very tasty...kinda the opposite actually. The food looks like insanely overprocessed chicken. I drive by one frequently, but never felt compelled to stop.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Middle Aged Gay

    "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit." ...doesn't that (in some instances) include multiple wives?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hugh Jass

    Sorry, but I'll stop eating there. Keep the hate nuggets flowing, eh?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Deep-fried arteries.

    It's too bad they're bigots, but, if it's a small consolation – they are purveyors of heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes. It's not like they are selling food that anybody in their right mind should be eating.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. xGBHx

    First wife?? My FIRST wife was a trifling street walker who when confronted about the guys (yes multiple) she had been caught with decided that my high morals were too much for her and took our two daughters in the middle of the night and left me. 12 years later my SECOND wife and I have now been married almost 10 years and have not had a fraction of the issues I had with my FIRST wife. I admire people who can pick the perfect mate right off the bat, but I do not like it when someone acts like they are better than someone else because they have never been divorced. especially when many I have known who have been married once are miserable and just stay for the kids or for the sake of "making it work".

    As for Chik-Fil-A, I am not a christian and have eaten there a few times before. Anyone who acts like it is such a shock to learn their feelings are blind. I decided a long time ago that I did not like the company based on how I would never make it past the 1st interview if I were to ever apply there because I do not go to church. I understand why they hire christians, but I do not think its wrong to assume that my morals are any lower than say a cheating pastor who has repented.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. sgurdog

    They make fast food, and we have plenty of choices so either punish them or support them, who cares. Some bible thumpers making processed chicken and nasty waffle fries are quite irrelevant when you come to think about it and I don't understand why they would attempt to thump and serve but oh well. I now who will not be getting my support, which is my choice based on my values. I bet the people who manufactured those bible scriptures never thought their product would continue to sell so well after all these years.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
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