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. Bob

    Can't wait for the new ad campaigns "Chick-fil-A: Number one with bigots!" or how about "Chick-fil-A: No with live feeds from Fox News!"

    July 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brenda

    I support Chick-Fil-A and respect them for maintaining their Christian values. There is no hate; everyone has the choice to patronize or not. I want more Americans and American businesses to remember from where we came: We are based on Judeo/Christian values. We must return to them. No hate here. Just the facts.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. EKIA

    I think we need to be accepting and non-judgmental of all views including Chick-fil-A's.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    "At this point we still live in a free Country. I am tired of gay's pushing this life style down our throats."

    Actually it's Mr. Cathy who's trying to push -his- life style down -our- throats. He's not content to practice his own religion as he sees fits, but actually seeks to change the law so that -other- people are forced -by law- to practice -his- religion. I wouldn't tolerate that from Muslims and I don't tolerate it from him either.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    I imagine if this was a Muslim or Jewish employer that was seeking to ban bacon because it offended their religion, no one would be too happy with that either.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Phillip Autry

    I am proud of Chic-Fil-A's stance against gay marriage. If you believe in God you have to accept what He reveals in His Word. God made one man for one woman for life. This is not a stuck in the past mentality, this is God's truth and it will remain truth. If this country and the world does not go back to Biblical principles we will be overcome like Rome of old.

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

      That means you're either a bigot or Christian (They both suck).

      July 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louanne

      You are right. There is going to be an end because this country is moving quickly down a path of immorality and definance towards God. He will take it only so long. They will get a rude awakening when they are left behind. Its not going to be all rosy like they think. With the Christians gone this great country will collapse financially, morally, ... The list goes on. But we will be in a better place because we have chose to accept Jesus into our lives and trust in him as our hope for the future !

      July 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. martin

    Evangelical christian values are bigotry values.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. charles

    Tolerance works both ways. Bash cfa all you want. Bottom line is its a company thats standing for something besides a profit.

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

    Chick-fil-A can have any bigoted, conservative belief it wants; it's their business, their financiual loss.
    Anyone who objects simply doesn't have give them their business or money.
    I have many other choices if I want a fast food chicken joint, Chick-Fil-A won't be one of them.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. My Opinion

    Love the person, hate the sin.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Reminds me of business in the 1950's that hung "Whites Only" signs.
    NO, There's NO difference.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • TownC

      Your mistaken! Gays are welcomed to eat at this restaurant any time they want. They can work there and they are not denied any rights at all. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Believing that does not make anyone a bigot and does not take away anyone's civil rights.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TownC

    Companies supporting gay marriage are many. It is good to see a company take a stand for morality and traditional American values. Maybe I will start going to Chick Fil-A more often.

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

      When you go to Junk Food for Jesus make sure you sit at the right counter.

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

    What's the difference between Chick-Fil-A and segregrationist restaurants of the past?

    Yeah, I couldn't figure the answer, either.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • TownC

      No one is denied service, all customers and employees are treated equally. The differences are easy to see.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      JDinHouston – did Mr Cathy ANYWHERE say that gays aren't welcome in Chick-fil-A restaurants? Have you EVER seen a sign that says "Gays Not Welcome?" No is the answer to both. He is simply saying that his FAMILY-owned and FAMILY-run business espouses FAMILY. He didn't knock gays in any way. Its your interpretation that is grossly wrong and you are doing his thriving business a dis-service by saying he did so. There is a BIG difference here. You would probably walk into any Chick-fil-A and act as flaming as you could possibly be and they would serve you just like anyone else.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDinHouston

      What's the difference between Chick-Fil-A and evangelical preachers?

      Nothing, both are getting rich off of religion, and promulgating intolerance as one of their tools to wealth.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      It's a pretty easy answer actually, unlike "segregrationist restaurants" chic fil a doesn't stop gays from eating there. The company heads (who happen to be the family that started the company and most likely own majority control) simply support an opinion based upon their religious beliefs. Last time I checked we had the right to our own beliefs without being persecuted for them. Its people like you who spout horrible crap at someone the second they have a differing opinion on a matter and associate them with something evil for it that are the problem here. Grow up and accept that not everyone is going to agree with what you think is right and accept that maybe other opinions may have some validity.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jo an

    Amazing???? When it is the 'people of love' who shut out members of the human family!!! Doesn't bother me...I do not eat members of the animal family....but I just wonder why!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CS Ray

    What ever happened to the notion that we can all have differing beliefs? Chick Fil A is a private company and if you don't like their views, don't support them by eating there. Why do I have to agree with everyone else these days (or at least not share a differing opinion)? Man, what a place we are soon to become. Remember that old revolutionary statement/concept "I may not agree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it." Political correctness is just another form of censorship and most of the 'hate' being thrown around regarding this story seems to be coming from the folks on the left. Left = liberal? Not anymore!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      You are dead wrong on several counts – it is not a belief but bigotry that is on the table – the "belief" is demonstrably WRONG and cannot be tolerated – just as 'whites only' was not a belief but a bigotry – and it is not a question of Politically Correct which in this context is a term used requiring sensitivity to people's feelings about terminology – we are talking about rights not vocabulary. So people (like me) will respond with their dollars – no more Chick-fil-A here – I was already on the fince when I noticed the Sunday closings.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
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