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. WhoCares!

    Their food sucked before regardless of their believes! Its really their right to believe what they want. If you don't support their point of view don't go to their restaurants......don't worry you won't be missing out on much.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    You know…Im so sick of the Christian hypocrisies. It’s great that you have faith, you pray, you go to church, you spew the rhetoric that most Christians spew. But if you REALLY believed in everything your God seems to be telling you through his “book” than why don’t you follow any of the other stuff that your God is supposedly telling you to do? It just makes me utterly sick. Christians are such hypocrites!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CJ

    Isn't it great that businesses are people too? I wish people would live their personal lives the way they want and not inject their beliefs into their businesses. To me, that's where it crosses some sort of line that makes me uncomfortable, especially when it's a belief that I find intolerant and unkind. People should only care about your food, or whatever product you serve or produce, and not your moral stance as a company. Change gay marriage to another controversial social topic and we could be back half a century or two. Would it suddenly be acceptable then?

    July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kate

    I'm Gay and I will no longer support Chik Fil A. Not because I think they are haters or horrible people, but because they are donating millions of dollars to HATE groups, yes I said it, people who spread lies about the gay lifestyle. I do not harm you, yet you feel the need to tell me how to live my life. I don't care about your Christian views, because in our country we have a freedom of religion, meaning all religions as well as the choice to not practice a religion. If you want to believe in the Old Testament please do so, and practice what you preach while your at it. Because I have read it, and dang is it scary. So simply said, no I will not support a company who supports groups that say gays should be hung from trees and killed, including gay children. Takes morals into question doesn't it? The only thing that should ever be preached is Love, not sin, hate, penance, or any other highly negative emotion.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Disanitnodicos

    Mmmm, I'm going to start eating more chikn sandwiches to pss off the gays.

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

    Again, I could give a rats behind what they think or do. I used to patronize them all the time even knowing they gave to religious organizations and really didn't care. I am a Christian myself so I was fine with it. It was only when they began giving to organizations that actively seek to destroy other's freedoms. That is just plain un-American. We are the land of freedom, and while they have every freedom to speak their mind, they do not have ANY right to impose their beliefs on others, any more than ANY religion does. We would not tolerate any Muslims organization imposing their religion on us and nor should we tolerate that with them. If they don't believe in gay marriage, they have every freedom in the world not to get gay married. Beyond that, live and let live and let God be the judge.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDinHouston

      I agree. I'm a nice Catholic boy, good family, just sick and tired of this born again push for wealth at the expense of others. It is absolutely non-Christian, IMHO. I used to think I was "one of them" until I realized they were trying to co-opt my religious beliefs to make me follow their dictates. Sorry, my church is older and it may not be any more tolerant but followers of my church tend to know it is more about serving than it is about using Jesus or taking holier than thou positions to get rich.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christopher Hogan

    It is obvious that the author is biased against equality. Look at the way they framed the issue by claiming that the entire gay community is up in arms and spewing hate toward those "poor, Christian businesses" who simply want to have their beliefs and be left alone. Notice the author left out the fact that Chick-Fil-A has donated literally MILLIONS of dollars to several organizations whose sole purpose is to attack the gay community and oppose any laws that protect people from discrimination or extend marriage-like protections. No other business in recent memory has gone out of it's way to demonize gay people. And I as a citizen have every right to spend my money elsewhere, thank you. So no, there is no "But there's hatred on BOTH sides" argument. That's a bunch of BS

    July 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sheena

    Don't like their views DON'T eat there. I never liked their food anyway ..... so no biggie for me. But you all are acting like they have to abide by YOUR rules. If their privately owned and operated – and you already know what kind of business it is – STAY home and fix your own chicken and enjoy. It's a FREE country and they can run their business how they see fit. "We have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason" ...... Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Get over it. It's just freakin' chicken. Ha! ha! ha!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    "What ever happened to the notion that we can all have differing beliefs?"

    That's a good question. Why isn't Mr. Cathy well enough to let other people practice their own beliefs? Why is he seeking to make other people's beliefs illegal? And yes, I will absolutely defend his right to -say- whatever he wants. What he does not have the right to do is use the law to -force- anyone to his beliefs, and the organizations he supports do exactly that. That is absolutely un-American!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. txcan51

    There is nothing more intolerant than a liberal when it comes to beliefs other than his/her own. They strike out like coiled adders at anything that remotely resembles diversity in opinion. Social liberals consider themselves to be enlightened but from my experience the left wing is even more intolerant than the radical right.

    Live and let live folks....I'm getting very bored with all the "outrage".

    July 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SweetTalk

    I am going to eat more Chick-fil-a. Their 40g of fat sandwiches will be GREAT for my heart!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PaulB

    Chick-Fil-A upholds "traditional family units". So what? Guess what, people have different beliefs than you do. Vote with your wallet if you want to, but they certainly have a right to have their opinion.

    I plan on eating there just as often as I did before, no more, no less.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      By traditional do you mean divorced, or dysfunctional – what?

      July 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • terri

      That's the most logical comment I have seen in a long time.......

      July 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jon

    I thought this whole God thing was put to rest with the Higgs-Boson. What are Christians talking about? Anyone that believes in creationism is absolutely delusional. Their claims have been disproved. It's amazing that if you tell a person something for their entire life, they will ignore proven facts and continue to believe. Facts are facts. Creationism is wrong, all religions are fundamentally flawed, and being gay is completely natural.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      So you heard the words "God Particle" and without doing any research or reading, thought that meant that the concept of God was null and void. Do you even know what the Higgs Boson is??

      July 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SweetTalk

    I am going to eat more Chick-fil-a. It's sad their grilled chicken is low in fat but its 920mg in Sodium will give a BOOST to my blood pressure.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AdophH

    So let me get this straight, I can eat some tasty food and will not have to stand in line with any gays ?

    Winner Winner Chicken Dinner ! How is this a bad thing ?

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