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. norman glenn

    God bless Chick-fill-a....They got my vote.....

    July 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Loumac

    It really annoys me that when Christians practice free speech we are called bigots but it's okay for everybody else to hate on us and our faith as much as they please.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. H.B.E

    Regardless of what they believe, I wonder how smart it really was to make that statement, especially in a time of recession. I'm sure they just lost half of their customers. A smart business if they care about staying in business stays neutral or at least says they are. Chick-fil-A is not as big as a lot of fast food companies. I don't think they can afford to lose business right now.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LittleRockGDI

    @taxpayer bob.
    Your thoughts are right on. I can't believe how vehemently people are attacking this Dan Cathy guy for having an opinion when attacking an LGBT supporter's opinion would be considered the worst thing in the world. Insanity!

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

    Please don't try to forbid marriage amongst those our Lord God created g ay...

    1 Timothy 4:1-5

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart
    from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings
    of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are
    seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God
    created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know
    the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be
    rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the
    word of God and prayer.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jerry F. Coleman

    Boston Market is looking better every day!

    Their employees are extremely well groomed and plight...none of them are gay??? Stand up to your employer!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loyal Northern Democrat

      Have you tried their stuffed chicken?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mommy

    We LOVE Chick fil a! Eat there at least once a week. Now we will go more! Just because he spoke on the fact he opposes that lifestyle doesn't mean that he's putting anti-gay posters up, he does not agree. If you don't like it don't eat there! Just watch their sales go up! Media can be bias all they want but proof is in the #'s!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. erich2112x

    I could care less, just give me a large waffle fries. MMM.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Cathy tweeted a thanks to a news corp thanking them for the story and then adding, with glee, how it really lit up the LGBT community. Bigotry and hate at its finest.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve-O

    Well, I do not eat at Chick-fil-A–or any other fast-food joint–but I don't understand why the word "hate" has come up in so many comments when the idea was never mentioned by Mr. Cathy. Regardless of their policies as a company–something they have a right to–I don't understand how their words incite so much hatred in others. Goodness, I did not read any hatred in the announcement–just a frank admission of their beliefs. I thought this was okay in America? (Freedom of press/speech/beliefs?) I do not hate those I disagree with. I may choose not to support them–as some have mentioned. But, to call it "hatred" when others do not agree with your own ideology is, in my opinion, unfortunate–and a strong contributing factor to much of the strife in our world.

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

      Well said....

      July 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve09

      The only ones talking 'hate' are the ones spewing it.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Here's the thing about that: When the CEO of a company says that he is against gay marriage, it can be realistically believed that some of the money he makes off his company - money that you, the consumer, give to him - will be spent on campaigns like Proposition 8, or other anti-LGBT efforts.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • elephantix

      Steve-o's comment is one of the most level-headed comments you will read on the internet. Thank you for posting.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • SB

      right, like how "white's-only" restaurants in the 1960's were also not hating...they were just stating their beliefs that they want to serve only white people. they didn't say anything about hating black people, they only wanted to deny them of civil rights for kicks and giggles.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tac

      You are totally correct. The LGBT community has taken the word "hate" and applied it to every emotion and statement that doesn't directly support their narrow agenda. If he said "I love potatoes!," the headlines would say "Chick-fil-A's CEO hates other vegetables!" He spoke of his love of the traditional, Biblically-based family, not the hate of any group.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Wow! Can you imagine the uproar if they served fudge!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bobbo

    I don't see anything in the article referring to "policies" so they didn't say an employee can't be gay, or gay couples can't eat there. They just stated what he believes in, which one could probably have guessed anyway, they are pretty straight forward about their religion. I'm okay with people having diffeerent views on all the hot topics; the only time it bothers me is when people do crazy crap because of it.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Popeye

    My chicken's better anyway...... God's a tricky scoundrel, eh? It's clear God loves diversity – just look at what's been created. I don't think fools are suffered, though. And religion was created by man, not by God – as a way to control other men and thier money. Silly people who think because they adhere to something that man wrote they have bought their way to eternal paradise. Those are just the fools God has no intention of spending eternity with.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard

    Um... I consider myself a liberal and all that, but this news didn't surprise me or make me angry. It's Chick-fil-a! They're not even open on Sunday. Why would anyone think they'd say anything different than this?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Conqui


    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.""

    This kind of thinking is really bizarre!! That's like saying a person of color is not having their rights violated by having to sit in the back of the bus, because they have every right to be white and thus to sit in the front. There are a few connections missing in a brain, Gurgle.

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

      Actually, Conqui, you're wrong here: A gay person's partner or whatever dies and leaves him everything in his/her will. The partner has no legal right to that. The gay person's family (who wanted nothing to do with him) can go in and take it. (it's been done) In some states, it's illegal for a gay couple to adopt. They have no legal right to file taxes together as a couple. They have no legal right to see each other in an ICU ward. (that happens a lot) In some states, it's illegal for them to have s3x. Unlike Blacks and Hispanics, they don't have the legal right to be protected against discrimination. They are not protected under most state's hate crime laws. There's more, but I'm sure you'll see the point.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
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