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. Dan

    I am sure Chck-fil-a will survive just fine without the support of the gay community. The would not survive by sacrificing their own integrity. Good for them standing for what they believe in instead of knuckling under to the pressure applied by liberals and the lame stream media.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mlr

    HOW does saying you don't believe in Gay marriage = HATE speech? Huh? I saw nothing in the guys words that said he hates gays, won't serve gays, won't hire gays, etc. He has every RIGHT to believe or not believe in gay marriage. This is the problem gays have brought on themselves – and why they get less support than they would – by trying to say that anyoen that doesn't agree in gay marriage is a hater. Seems to me that the ones espousing HATE are the gays. Just saying. I love chick-fil-a... don't care about who sleeps with what as long as it is not the chicken I am eating... will continue to buy from chick-fil-a.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ChickFiletIsYummy

    Christians tend to be stupid, ignorant bigots and yes, the world would be better without religion...

    But... Chick Filet is GOOOOOODDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Still going... Oh well.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sean

    No, Mr Cathy likes to identify and associate with strong, Christian, straight, married male role models for his kids and grand kids. Someone like Jerry Sandusky.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    Looking for the quotes that say he hates gays. Finding plenty on beliefs of what a family should be and a definite anti-gay stance, but I see no hate filled language. Don't agree with the stance, but not seeing the hate either. Frankly see more hate in the comment section, but then again, most people here won't even give their first name rather hiding behind a pseudonym.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dataman

    Awesome!!!! Stand up for wat you believe in! I will be eating at Chick-fil-A more often!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    Mr. Cathy doesn't get one subtle difference: If he's against gay marriage, don't get gay married. He can even say, he has no plan to gay marry. The difference is "the right to swing your fists ends at my nose." Chick-fil-A actively supports organizations who raison d'etre is making gay marriage illegal for others, even those who don't have the same faith as his. As a Christian myself, I used to eat at Chick-fil-A even knowing their Christian stances and support and was completely fine with it. It was when he decided it was his job to impose his beliefs on others that made me a eat my last waffle fry ever again.

    We are Christians by what we do, Mr. Cathy, not by who we judge. Open your bibles and read it and that you will understand.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JayneQP

    No MAN in your Bible is ever given the right to pass judgment upon another man... except for Jesus. You all seem to hold yourselves in exceptional company and I believe that is a sin in and of itself.

    Romans 14
    Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

    Matthew 7: 1-5
    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stan

    Think its a good time I buy some McDonalds stock.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve P.

    The gentleman has a right to his opinion and a right to speak his mind. I will continue to support this resturant.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChowDown

      Me too! Have you seen the "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)" song on You Tube?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tuntruth

    You folks learn to tolerate other peoples views. Gay marriage is not the norm, we only tolerate it out of a spirit of love and the concept of freedom. You need to shut up. The guy didn't say anything negative about gays, a lot of them still work at Chick-fil-A. If you won't eat his chicken, then maybe... you are contented eating something else....... I don't think anyone will mind.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      "Gay marriage is not the norm, we only tolerate it out of a spirit of love and the concept of freedom."

      You didn't read the article did you? Chick-fil-A actively supports the National Organization "For" Marriage, which raison d'etre is only being against gay marriage and actively seeks to REMOVE that freedom from others. An unwillingness to grant rights and freedoms is the very definition of intolerance.

      Remember, thou shalt not bear false witness is one commandment that made it to the tablets!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. anonaguy

    What has this society come too when a company is branded as hateful for supporting the american family??

    July 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    It is Obama's fault!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RandomRantsbutgotsapoint

    GEEZ PEOPLE READ THIS!

    The person was asked a question he answered it honestly!

    no where did he say they hated gays! no where did it say they wouldnt serve gays or their families!

    You all who are saying you wont buy from them are planning on putting hard working people out of buisness cause you DONOT know how to read!

    We have a right to say and believe what we want! ITS AMERICA THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIKE THE FACT TWO GUYS BEING TOGETHER AND TWO WOMEN BEING TOGETHER!

    I hope all you people who are boycotting chickfila remember that if it falls there will be less jobs and more people (AND CHILDREN) who will go hungry and be homeless.

    I know its your right to choose not to eat here cause of what you believe, but think of it this way. A gay couple and their kid goes into a chickfila they wont turn them away cause they are gay. So why should you boycott and make an emplyee of chickfila lookse their job and their child(ren) go hungry cause of your choice...

    July 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • atlanta

      hopefully his employees will start leaving and not want to work for a man with such hatred and discrimation for others. I hope they go backrupt if he does not apologize for his remarks

      July 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David Buxton

    So... some idiots are getting mad that Chic-fil-A doesn't support gay marriage... seriously? They close on Sunday because it is the Christian sabbath even though it could probably be their most profitable day of the week, they are the most conservative restaurant out there, of course they stick to their morals and don't support gay marriage, and if you've read the interview, you see that he was asked his opinion on gay marriage and he told the truth and he's getting crucified for it... it's just more of the media trying to paint the Christian religion in a negative light...

    July 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Hogan

      Choosing to spend my money elsewhere does not equal hate. Telling me that I am an abomination to God IS.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
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