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. Joe

    "They just stated what he believes in."

    That is untrue. They had supported organizations in the past that had their values with no problems. The difference is now he supports organizations that actively seek to impede other people's rights and freedoms. There's a difference.... a BIG difference. I can't imagine supporting that any more than I could support an Islamic business trying to force their religion on me either.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Adam

    Religion is for substandard people who are afraid of the world.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. atlanta

    Chikfila has lost all my business from my company. I will not reimburse any compnay lunchs or anything that comes from there again until they change their mind. There is no room for this hatred and disrimination of othes.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. openminded

    yet another reason not to spend my money at that place....

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    "I'm sorry – exactly where do find any evidence of "hate", "hatred", "bigotry", or your trump card of "intolerance" in Mr. Cathy's statement here??" Intolerance means unwilling to grant others rights. Mr. Cathy is supporting organizations which specifically seek to impinge on other people's rights. That is by definition intolerance.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wade

    Personally don't agree with their stance, but they have a right to it.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bath Salt

    We will continue to support Chick-Fil-A. In fact, I will make sure the food at the next clan meeting will be from Chick-Fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ug

    I am glad that they told the perverts enough is enough!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hypatia

    Eat more beef

    July 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chick-Fil-A

    If believing in Christian values equals "hate"; then does being Gay; thus willfully removing yourself from the gene pool; equal "hate for humanity"? How can anyone judge Christian beliefs if you don't even participate in the creation of life (by choice)?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyn507

      We need less people participating in the creation of life, not more. We dont have the resources to support all the people we have now.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Gay couples reproduce, they just need to hire a surrogate mother, or a sperm donor.

      Hate is hate, whether it has a "christian" origin or not. Plenty of christians welcome gay people, so maybe the problem is you.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jwzg

    Why is it that those who espouse "tolerance" and "acceptance" so frequently engage in ad homInem attacks when someone expresses disagreement?

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

      I believe your argument was also used in the 60 during the race riots and didn't hold up well then.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Hogan

      Why is that you think I'm not allowed to decide where I spend my money?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    "We have a right to say and believe what we want."

    You are indeed correct. But I also have a fundamental right not to have to spend my money with organizations that actively seek to destroy my freedoms either. As for "jobs lost", they are not if that money is spent elsewhere. We still gotta eat, it just won't be at Chick-fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dcmartin

    Why is it that when someone stands up for what they believe, if it is not what others want to hear then they are labeled haters, and bigots and are made a target? Isn't what is being spewed at them hate? and aren't the people spewing at them haters themselves? Someone please explain it to me.

    Everyone has thier own point of view, and thier own beliefs...thats great! that's the way it should be. Just because I don't believe in the same things you do doesn't mean I am bigoted, and when I express my views and opinions, it doesn't mean I am a hater.

    Live and let live, be courteous, respectful, and kind. Serve others when you can, and love your spouse and children. If we all did this rather than screaming at each other over who was right and who was wrong, then the world would be a much better place.

    oh, and oreos and a glass of milk for everyone! that would make the world perfect! 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If what you believe in is hateful, then it criticism for the hate comes with the territory. You aren't the only ones who stand up for what they believe in.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    I don't understand why Mr. Cathy felt so compelled to share his views on gay marriage. You run a restaurant establishment – I don't care to hear your bigoted views on marriage. Instead you should worry about the lawsuits brought upon Chick-Fil-A for serving unhealthy food.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • heart40

      Because he was asked and he gave an honest answer. Just because he disagrees with you doesn't mean he is hateful.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      dave – i'm not a liberal. i just don't have hateful views.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cyn507

    I dont knowingly support any conservative, christian based organizations. Never have, never will.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
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