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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. JimInDayton

    Good, dev-iants should boycott Chick-fill-A. At least I don't have to worry about AIDS infested maggots eating next to me the next time I go there

    July 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Your malice is showing.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. coloradom

    People – the real issue here isn't what anyone thinks marriage should be, it's that the government is involved in defining marriage in the first place! Get marriage out of the government. There's no reason it should be there in the first place. Marriage is (and should be recognized) as a private matter between individuals.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. California

    God bless Chick-fil-A! God bless you for standing for healthy, Christian way of life! You're my hero! These gays, who always talk about 'tolerance', will hate you, as they would do to anything that is right, pushing their evil agenda down our throats, but may Lord help you to keep your values strong! ALL the physical, psychological, and moral researches show that gay way of life is WRONG and morally devastating, but what can you tell a perverted mind? They won't listen.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JayneQP

    I support this organization's right to their opinion. I don't think it should come as a great surprise. However, I respectfully disagree and here's why:

    A very wise Puritan clergyman called Roger Williams wrote that forced worship "stinks in God's nostrils" and that you cannot legislate religion or philosophy because it leads inevitably to hypocrisy. This is precisely the position in which your "conservative" leaders now sit. From one side of their collective mouth, they are outraged over the government's meddling in Church politics (I.e., the birth control issue), calling it a "war on religion", and from the other side they are attempting to force the government into legislating who can be married based on their own RELIGIOUS values. Hypocrisy. Pure and simple.
    ...and something else that the new religious right seems to have forgotten: "Religion" and "Christianity" are not synonymous and anyone of a faith other than Christianity should be very concerned about the possibility that Christian Values could very well become Christian Mandates.

    By the way, Marriage is not a 3000 year old Christian tradition. Christians didn't start getting officially married until the 1500's (or using the word "marriage" until 1545), and even then, most marriages were arranged for profit (money, position, politics) and the Church was the force that came up with as many ways to nullify marriage as it possibly could. Ironic, right? Well, that's because women were paid (now, "supported") for exclusive rights to their "privates", thus ensuring that Joe Schmo's progeny were really his own...or at least FOR his own. Now, the history if marriage is a complex and often ugly one until the 1800's or so.... now we're only , what, 200 years or so ago, when POLYGAMY was frowned upon. AHA! So, the "3000 years of history" includes a lot of polygamy? Indeed. So, now, let's get to the nitty gritty.... should the government have any say at all in who marries who? Or should the laws regarding marriage only protect those who are incapable of making informed and clear decisions for themselves?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B

    There is nothing the matter with practicing what you preach. Unfortunately, what Chick-fil-a preaches is evil. Denouncing two people who love each other and want to commit their lives to each other is wrong. Chick-fil-a has made it clear that they don't want customers who don't believe as they do.

    It's too bad. I used to LOVE their waffle fries. No more waffle fries for me. 🙁

    July 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abnguy

      I would denounce a 40 year old teacher who loves their 15 year old student, even if they both loved each other. Am I preaching evil?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ima Satirist

    Thank you Mr. Cathy for your support of traditional marriage. I also support traditional marriage: I believe that White Christians should not mix their blood with the dark-skinned descendants of Cain. This is based on my understanding of the Bible and natural law. To all you haters, my position is one of love: love for traditional White marriage. I do not hate the dark races but I wish they would not force their views on the rest of us. Please support my business so that I can continue to donate to other faithful organizations that promote traditional loving White-only marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tatiana

    Gay marriage has nothing to do with good ass food!
    Good for you for standing up for what you believe in while knowing
    how much hate mail you will get for itl I might not agree with you
    but I do agree with freedom of speech.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Edwin

    I have no problem with their decision - as long as their employees are told - but I also understand that any business I do with Chick-fil-A will result in more political donations.

    Since I don't like their political agenda, I see no reason to give them more money to use that way. My decision to avoid their products is not motivated by hate or anger - just logic: if my spending at their company results in an undesirable political donation, I should not spend money there if I don't have to... simple.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Abnguy

    chick-fil-a sandwiches are awsome. I am all about freedom in this country. He should be allowed what ever stance he wants. The company should be able to hire whom ever it wants. I remember when all stores were not open on Sunday. The world seemed a better place. Maybe as we all socially and spiratually move away from god we lose something important to society.

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

      If you're all about freedom I hope you'll support freedom in marriage. That's a right which is currently being actively denied to tens of millions of people in this country.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. G8KeaPoR

    Everyone needs to calm down. Gay groups have been known to hate monger too guys. Aren't the comments being lashed back at them full of hate? There is no justification for hate ever even if you feel you have been wronged. Personally I don't believe it is the right of anyone to stop them from marrying nor the role of the government so I don't want people to get the wrong idea here. That said not everyone shares the same beliefs as me. I'm not going to stop buying food from the guy just because he believes something that I don't. Responding in kind only empowers the other side and starts a vicious cycle of back and forth. We see this all the time be it with racial prejudice or religious beliefs. Yes you should be able to say I disagree with that thinking, but why as some of the comments have shown would you put yourself down to the very same level as the person with whom you disagree. Part of understanding means taking a step back being the better person and responding in a collective manner. Also no part of understanding means agreeing with the other side. I don't agree with violence yet that doesn't mean I don't understand why it happens even when its called senseless. If people truly want to influence the opinions of others they should first try to understand and then after doing so show the other side how to understand their own side. That is the basis of dialogue that will ultimately lead to a real lasting resolution. Step one to doing that is knowing that the issues are almost always emotionally charged and that if you approach it in a calm manner you will get results.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 0rangeW3dge

    The "New" Government and Religion all wrapped up in colourful paper with cartoon logos, AND "It Tastes Good, and It's Good For You"

    Dystopian Sci-Fi has truly come into it's own.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mickey

    All of you folks who believe that it's great for that chicken place to uphold their religious views will, of course, give that same right to Islam and Muslims.

    You've already made it thousands of years for Jews to be attacked by your 'Christian' views. I'm sure Jesus would be very proud of what you do with your bigotry.

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

      I think any establishment can uphold their religious views I just may not shop there its their right to do so and mine to do business there or not !!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Maybe I'm missing something, but where's the hate and/or bigotry in Cathy's remark? Here it is, again, as reported above: "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." I don't see one word against anyone in there.

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

      Many so-called Christians do not read the Bible. And so they follow their hearts to make human decisions. And the heart is as deceitful as modern marriages. But the truth is that Christian persecutions on others were committed by ignorant people who followed their leaders and government instead of the Bible itself. It is not until the printing press is created in the 15th century that emerged the birth of Christians who follow what the Bible states...Thus the birth of the Quakers, Puritans, Puritan Pilgrims, and others emerged. It was them, who taught that we are equal under God. And they got it from the Bible. Without the Bible, and its instructions, we would not have the modern system and belief that exists today. And if the Bible rejects gay marriage, then whether my heart agrees with it or not, obedience to that concept comes first.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • FRED

      First of all the muslim thing is being pushed in our face. So with that being said if you support the killing of innocent people for wanting to learn how to read knock yourself out. I however, me well I am eating chicken tonight.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Name*James Bien

    Way to stand up Mr. Cathy! Funny how companies like JCPenney that are openly supportive of the "LGBT" lifestyle are struggling and Chick-fil-a isn't. Americans are tired of being told that we are haters when we stand up for our Christian beliefs. Why is it those that are not living according to Biblical Principles are continually offended by our beliefs but morons and liberals are upset when we are offended! Doesn't make sense. Mr Cathy, we will continue to support Chick-fil-a when we can and will continue our boycot of JCPenney and Home Depot. We as Christians are tired of being called haters and close minded bigots. Looks like the tables have turned. Y'all are the haters. Accept our beliefs like you expect us to accept yours!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Interested48

      But you don't accept others beliefs! Otherwise, you wouldn't care about gay people getting married or what others do in the privacy of their bedrooms. You use your beliefs to deny other people theirs! Not everyone believes in your bible or your God. They, too, have the right to their beliefs.

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

      You hit the nail on the head, James!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brian

    I have read this article twice and I don't get it. Cathy states that he believes in the biblical definition of marriage, where's the hate in that? Why are Christians called hate mongers if they don't agree liberals, why aren't liberals call hate mongers when they don't agree with Christians?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grendel

      Why is a book of fiction, written and rewritten to suit the catholic, pedophile, church assumed to be fact?

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

      Brian, you sincerely don't get it do you? Equality for gays (the"liberal" stance) takes nothing away from hetero rights. Denying gays their rights (the c-f-a stance) means they are not allowed the benefits of marriage: tax advantages, spousal benefits, adoption and custody rights, the right to hospital visitation, etc. That is why hate-mongering is not a two way street.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. n

    I. Am married and have kids, but I am ashamed That chic fila said something like this one should not judge anyone because They are better then the other person. Or they are different. I have gone to chic fil a every few days no more. U all at chic fil a are racist shame on u all

    July 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman glenn

      not to smart r u ???

      July 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172