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. danimal

    I always love hearing the comment "its a family company", or "we support family values", as if gays don't understand family. All gays are born into families and many gays have their own families, so I don't understand why christians have the corner on this. Since Chick-fil-let is trailer trash food anyway, most gays never go there so who really cares. They just end up looking backwards, ignorant and hateful.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hopeful

      Malachi 2:13-16; Matt 5:11-12,17-20, Matt 7:17-23, Matt 19-12, Mark 7:17-23, Mark 9:42-50, Gen 5:5-34, Jude 1:8, 1 Cor 7, 1 Cor 6:9-20, Rom 1:26-27, Dt 22:5, Dt 27:16, Gen 5:5-34...Our life is to glorify Him, not ourselves.....We all make choices, but do we choose to humble ourselves and say we're sorry for not doing what He's asked of us? He doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He will continue to grow us into His perfection. Why settle for less?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      danimal: you missed their definition of family - they exclude not only gays and lesbians, but people who have ever been divorced.

      Their idea of family does not allow remarriage - at least that is what I get based on their comments.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MG

    I don't care what Chick-Fil-A does with their private money. At least their honest about what they contribute to, so if you don't believe in their beliefs, you can choose not to eat there. I don't eat there because they put MSG in their chicken..yuck!

    July 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lew

    Get with the program, Dan Cathy.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pro-American Activist

    I've got one thing to say. Chick-Fil-A is a business. As a professional business in America (and I guess in an ideal world) you, as a business, do not mix your personal beleifs with business. You're out to do one thing and that's make money. It shouldn't matter if you are black or white, gay or lesbian, Muslim or Christian. Last time I checked, it was still ok for gays and lesbians to have fast food chicken. There are some companies that state if they are for a certain race (NAACP) or religion (Aid Assocation for Lutherans) but they CLEARLY state that. They don't state their demographic range well after they've been established and say "Hey! We are only going to cater to Catholics now, even though for 20 years we've been serving all religions"...get my point?

    July 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joninsc

    You are supposed to be making sandwiches and fast food, not preaching Baptist and Fundamentalist God hating picked out Bible Scriptures. I am advocating that our church boycott your restaurants until you learn that God is love and you are supposed to cook chicken, not sinners.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. songdude

    go to utube and check out "chow down at "chick-fiila' its a version of a pop song that was originally recorded by wilson phillips ( hold out for one more day ) Its so crazy funny. its a slap in the face to what is happening with all this controversy over chick fila'

    July 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pdxmum

    I always love hearing about "the biblical definition of marriage". What would that be...a man plus as many women as he can afford/steal/buy?

    July 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Iowagirl

    Business owers with beliefs/values are not allowed to express them? I sensed no hate or discrimination; only honesty about a belief. I thought we welcomed that in this country. How about we respect his belief as much as we respect LGBT's.
    I'll be sure to take my business here in response to the hate I'm seeing here.

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

      Yeah what you said... Don't understand the reaction at all – didn't see anything hateful or mean spirited in the owner's statement; still wondering if I missed a quote or something.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LittleRockGDI

      @iowagirl, your SO right. I don't have a strong conviction either way, but I'm shocked at how hateful the LGBT fans are towards people that think differently from them. Maybe its because they got bashed for so long that's the only way they know how to respond. I respect "LGBT loving" liberals and "700 club" Christians.
      Eitherway, polarization and inability to compromise are killing this country and it saddens me greatly to see so much energy wasted on such a pathetic topic.


      July 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SeilnoigileR

    Question for all you spouting about the 'anatomy' (Dan, etc.) bit: What is your justification if a same gender couple never engages in those kinds of activities? What verses do you use to jusitfy your beliefs then? Or if a man-woman couple engages in those activities? Both cases can and do occur. Also, not a choice. Being christian is a choice. Marriage was not 'created by god'. It is and always has been a civil contract – the spiritual end of things was tacked on to keep 'em married for fear of divine judgement.

    That being said, it's not fair to call Chik-fil-a bigoted, hateful, etc. either. It's an opinion. You may consider it an ignorant one and are free to say as much, but it still remains an opinion. The main problem is that the god squaders ultimately want everyone to believe as they do and would be giddy with joy if we were to become a theocracy (like a different flavor of Iran!) which is absolutely unacceptable to anyone. It's the pushing for legislation to enshrine your beliefs that infuriate – not that you have those beliefs. Get it? Try reading some of the Republican platforms from various states and then denying that a theocracy is what they're after. That and the 'I, Me, Mine' mentatlity that they espouse. Quite sad.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WDinDallas

    Personally, I don't like Chik-Fil-A, but I like their politics. I am buying the company Chick-Fil-A for lunch.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |

    Just another example of modern people who, in the Bible, Jesus was preaching against. Splinter < log

    July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. everettreb

    I have never eaten at Chick-fil-A and I did not know that they held such strong Christian values.

    I will start eaten at Chick-fil-A now in fact I will go out and eat there tonight.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sonya

    Really!?! This is America and they can do whatever thay want it is thier company. You don't want to believe in the Bible then go to KFC! I am behind Chick-fli-a all the way! Way to go for standing up for what you believe!

    July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    I don't understand the reaction. Nothing hateful – guy just stated his views on the topic which something like half the country agrees with. Not like he's discriminating or throwing things at gay folks. Did I miss something?

    July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Mike: fair enough. Let's change his comments and see what you think... Suppose he said he believed inter-racial marriage should be illegal, and donated tons of money to efforts to ban marriage between races. Suppose close to 50% of the country felt that whites and blacks and asians and latinos should not be allowed to inter-marry, and there was a real chance that it could become American law. Do you still feel okay about their efforts to block some marriages, based only on their personal opinions about race?

      Now, would *that* count as discrimination? If you answer yes, then you understand why other people are upset at their actions. If you say no, then I guess you don't care about companies pushing politics after all.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I find both positions unfortunate. Not discrimination though – if his company serves folks equally, doesn't have any discriminatory hiring practices, etc., I don't have any beef. His opinion on gay marriage doesn't interest me – if anything I applaud him for not playing the politically correct game.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jack The Tripper

    Being moral is doing what you think is right regardless of what you are told. Being religious is doing what you are told regardless of what you think is right.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
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