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. songdude

    I truly do NOT understand why this corperation discriminates against anyone. "Chirst" NEVER turned ANYONE away. What bible are they reading? If you dont believe in something, you just don't practice it. We are not here to condem people, we are here to help people. Are they saying they are bigger than "Chirst himself?" Tho shall NOT judge! it is just one of his teachings, but its probably the strongest, and the most abused by so called christians.

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

      Songdude – who did they discriminate against? Haven't seen any reporting on that.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • opwernby

      Dude – you said "bigger"!!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jackson

    "Traditional" marriage? Look at your bible, people had hundreds of wives and hundreds of concubine!

    THAT'S "traditional"??????

    July 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Conqui

    One has a right one's beliefs, as long as they are not contrary to demonstrated reality. Nowhere in the Bible, repeat–NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE - does it state that a family is only the result of a marriage between one man and one woman. One can look at Adam & Eve's family, but God explicitly states that that particular family was His punishment for sin. One can look at the marriages of great Old Testament figures, such as Abraham, Noah, etc., and find polygamy and reproduction with slave girls, with progency considered part of the family. There is God's requirement for a dead man's brother to father a child with the widow. So being against gay marriage can not be based upon anything I can find as an explicit statement in the Bible. Even if one falsely believes a gay person is a sinner for being gay, that doesn't prohibit marriage any more than someone who sins in any other way. We don't prevent liars or thieves from marrying, for instance. It IS sinful to say the Bible says something that doesn't exist. So Mr. Cathy perhaps should be prohibited from marrying.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. abqTim

    A company with a backbone, NICE! As much as I believe you can do whatever you want with your body, I believe even more that if it's your's then you can set the rules as long as it doesn't go out of the way to hurt somebody. I back them up 100% The people all up in arms are hypcritical idiots that probably also believe rich people owe them $$$ too.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lee

    Good for Chick Fil A!!!!!!! I am behind them 100 %

    July 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Necrofun

    All gay chickens will be rejected before having any chance at leaving the slaughterhouse.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. phoodphite

    The FDA better get in there and make sure they are not trying to use any shock therapy to "cure" any of their gay chickens.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dennis

    Rare to find people that don't hide the truth to be politically correct according to perverted peoples standards these days. Gay marriage is contrary to nature.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Esa

    God bless Chick-fil-A! IF GOD IS WITH US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US. I'm really proud of Chick-fil-A will keep to eat more chicken from Chick-fil-A. Thanks God for Chick-fil-A. America needs more people like Dan Cathy.
    Cathy, your provider is the only God and not customers who hate your stance for what you believe.

    Jesus is Lord!!! Amen

    July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. what

    Why is it OK for folks to burn the national flag but not OK to say they do not agree with a certain life style. double standard, reverse racism, villify the successful....

    July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jtowne

    Another example of Our way or your wrong There is no rm to disagree. I dont dislike gays or gay marriage But I 100% support a persons right to their own beliefs Not labeling them hate mongers..Ive come to hate liberals as the most two faced people I know..I think the gays and liberals are the new nazi s...

    July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Donny Moss

    I'm gay, but the biggest victims here are the chickens, who have their beaks seared off with a blade so that they don't peck each other to death in the stressful confines of factory farms where their breasts are forced to grow so big with antibiotics and hormones that they often collapse in their own feces - before they're thrown into trucks to the slaughterhouse where they are often dropped into scalding tanks while still conscious.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JohnM

    Any "God" who wants us to worship his "glory" is not worth the effort. Why would any being create a life form with the sole purpose of expecting that life form to worship it. And if we don't worship him properly he sends us to rot in hell for eternity? I think I would rather just be dead for eternity than spend it worshiping a "superior" life form.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. liz

    Why is it O.K. if you believe in gay marriage, but wrong if you don't? Doesn't everyone have a right to their own opinion. It doesn't mean you hate gays, it just means you might not agree with their lifestyle.........I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, I'm glad Chick-fil-A is standing up for their beliefs, doesn't mean you have to agree with me........

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

      That's like saying "why is it OK if you are against slavery and not OK if you are for slavery". The severity of slavery is larger than gay-bashing, but gay-bashing is evil just the same.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Also, as said many times, if you don't believe in gay marriage, then don't get gay married. But stay the hell out of other people's personal lives.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray joyner

      right on Liz

      July 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abnguy

      B...I do not believe he was gay bashing. Just because I disagree with your lifestyle and if you can be married does not mean I a bashing you. If that were the case there would be no debate teams in college.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sandy

    Chick-Fil-A is a privately-held company. They have the right to enact any policies they want. As consumers, we have the right to agree or disagree with their corporate policies with our checkbook. If gays don't agree with Chick-Fil-A, don't eat there, plain and simple. Gay activists have become like terrorists, insisting we all agree with their position or else. I will not be intimidated by anyone pushing their agenda. This is America and any privately held company can do what they want (as long as it's legal). Don't like it, don't buy it. I for one am going to eat at Chick-Fil-A whenever I want. I support their freedoms.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • father of three girls

      @Sandy. According to Supreme Court decisions the federal government has the power (given to it by the interstate commerce clause) to regulate actions in private industry(if those actions are deemed to violate civil rights laws). I'm not saying this is a civil rights issue, but if the Supreme Court defines gay marriage as a civil rights issue then Chick Fil-A will need to comply.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
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