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. Josh

    I support Chick-fil-A in their stance against a sickness that will eventual help to destroy this country as the ancient Roman empire was destroyed. People are so screwed up in this country, everyone does what they think is right and if you disagree, they form a organization to try and make it look right. Soon these same degenerates will support inter-species marriage and you can make love to your cat.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • neguys

      i am more afraid of straight people with their wars, horrible offspring and general laziness !!!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • coreyjohnson93

      The Roman Empire was destroyed by government corruption and Eurasian invaders, you moron.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheri

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You are so silly.

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


      July 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    Never wanted to eat at one anyway. Their motto should be "Chick-fil-A: when there's no other choice," or "Chick-fil-A: We make Orange Julius look appealing," Now there's just another reason to not eat their substandard food.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RH

    as this guy has a right to say what he wants..so do I. I will not be spending one dime there. No one is telling them they can't say what they want. It's so very sad. This people live with hatred on a daily basis. Wow religion has really helped you. How does the world change if two gay people get married? Beats me...You'd think they'd want to spread more love. This is why I'm not religious. Just a good person. I fell sorry for you people.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Or YOU think you are a good person.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hobbits

    To really go after the company we have to protest the malls and other locations they rent from. Have protesters stand outside a mall telling people that mall support hatred and bigoted propaganda can hurt them and the other retail outlets. It won't take long for leases to be terminated and give them a feeling of what its like to be alienated.

    For those that think its their "right" to degrade gay people don't forget it's our right to protest that which we do not agree with as well.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. neguys

    shouldnt chik-fil-a focus on fattening up & killing americans with their greasy food rather than lecturing Americans????

    July 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa Reed

    I am proud to support a company with great family and moral values that is involved in helping and serving all walks of people and lives

    July 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    who really cares about what everyone thinks? If someone has a certain belief, it doesn't mean that they hate the person that has a different belief. The chicken sandwich is delicious, no matter what the Cathy's believe in. To say "oh we're going to not support this hate filled company" is so ridiculous it is truly insane, since they don't espouse hate but merely have a belief. It's the same as if someone wears a shirt you don't like, ok fine it's a bad shirt, but the person is still good. The hate mongers are those people who believe that a different opinion or believe negates an entire person. That's sad.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JMorrison

    And which exactly were the hate-filled words Mr. Cathey used? Which words were bigoted? Was it the part about being proud he is still married to his first wife? Someone please help me find the hateful words.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    " the biblical definition of the family unit" Right. Which one? The one with multiple wives? The one with concubines? The one with slaves? The one where the father sells the daughter for property to be the forced wife (at best) of a stranger? The one where the father offers up his son as a human sacrifice to a voice he hears in his head? The one where are father offers up underage daughter to a crowd of rapists so that his house guests (who are immortal beings in no real danger) aren't inconvenienced? Those biblical definitions of family?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Supporter

    I'll gladly take the 'haters' spot in line, might make the place more pleasant and peaceful anyways.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    Interesting...since when does supporting a traditional family and marriage amount to being a hate crime...sounds a little extreme to me...

    July 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DocNick- Oklahoma Christian

    I am not gay and don't even pretend to act like I know what is right or wrong concerning this. I just try to live my life by the golden rule and treat all people with respect and kindness regardless of whether they are different from me. I can't see how comments like this one can do anyone any good. It is this intolerance of people that are different or have different beliefs that causes many of the problems we experience in society today. I am a Christian and believe christianity could do even more good in the world if Christians would spend more time showing others the love that Jesus showed for us and less time passing judgement on others

    July 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      I totally agree with you. I feel exactly the same way and I consider myself to be a christian and I am not gay either. This Cathey should get his head out of the sand. With any luck the majority of christians perhaps will feel the same way and not support this bigoted family of hate mongers.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. L THomas

    I completely support and admire Cathy for standing up for what he believes. I'll eat there even more and encourage all my friends to eat there! Christians everywhere need to stand up for OUR rights for a change!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      More uneducated, fat Christians espousing hate and ignorance. Surprising

      July 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The word Christian is becoming more and more synonymous with the words bigot and hater.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Are you kidding me?

      Your "rights" or your beliefs?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      This is not being Christian, it is being bigoted. If Jesus treated everyone badly that he didn'ta gree with for something he didn't believe in we would really be in trouble. I think we call it compassions which Cathy and some of you do not have.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donna

    At this point we still live in a free Country. I am tired of gay's pushing this life style down our throats. We are a Nation that stands on our belief in God and our forefathers had it right. We need to come back to our first love... GOD! I will eat a Chick Fil-A as often as I can and so will my family

    July 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      No we are not a country like that. Nice try.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • midogs2

      There were no gays among our forefathers?.......................Idi0tic statement. .......................Seperation of church and state.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Donna, being a Christian and a non gay member of society, I do not feel or believe that the gays are pushing their agenda anywhere. I believe they should have the same rights as any other person in this country. They have been surpressed and yet many of them have important positions, contribute to society and lead the way for many good causes. Tell me, where do you stand in this line, what have you contributed to that we can all be proud of.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    "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."

    It's not gay people who are trying to force straight people to do something. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. Why can't you learn that? We are Christians by what we do, not by who we judge. Leave judgement to god and practice your own religion as you see fit. You don't see Muslims telling Chick-fil-A to stop putting bacon on their sandwiches, even though it offends their beliefs, now do you? Of course not, that would be silly. Same way with Chick-fil-A trying to impose their beliefs on others. Practice your own religion as you see fit and get out of everyone's else's business and everyone will be happy. Learn the difference!

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