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. volitionx

    If you don't like their politics, don't eat there. Their food is pretty good, and I tell ya, the Christians who work there are WAY more polite than your typical liberal secular humanist ever is. So yeah, I'll be going back.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. artaud

    This has no bearing on anything because the Chick fil A customer's heart is just a big chicken nugget pumping fat through their veins, causing them to lack the energy to really have any moral convictions one way or the other.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SweetTalk

    I'm going to eat more Chick-fil-a. Their chargrilled chicken sandwich has tons of fat (12G) and it's LOADED with Sodium (1110mg) !!! My heart will be in shambles but my beliefs will be intact!

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

    "Social liberals consider themselves to be enlightened but from my experience the left wing is even more intolerant than the radical right. "

    You need to learn what "tolerance" means. It means willing to grant rights. You have every right to say what you want. But others have EVERY right to respond, otherwise it is YOU who are intolerant of their right to speak.

    And indeed, "live and let live." Chick-fil-A needs to get out of trying to force their views by use -of the law-. They have absolutely every right to practice their religion as they see fit, and have the same right as Muslims to do force their religion on others: none.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. damo12345

    This article is a disgrace.

    By leaving out the key information that Chick-Fil-A has been giving money to groups that campaign against gay rights, it leaves readers with the false belief that people are only complaining because this man voiced his opinion.

    No, it's that he's been giving millions of dollars every year to groups fighting against equal rights.

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

    I think its awesome that you stand by your beliefs and not give in to being political correct. I will continue supporting you.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      What beliefs? They say they are Christian, but oddly enough this hate and bigotry was never taught by Jesus, but I guess Christianity has nothing to do with him anymore.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kat

    Frankly, I could care less about this company's policies on anything. Have never eaten there & don't intend to.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    I think business' should stay "neutral" on political and religious issues when you are selling products to the "general" public... Or they risk offending some of their customer base, and the communities they serve. It is the goal of good businesses to "Look like their customers"... like International Business Machine... I.B.M. ...for example. Seeing as statistics show half or more of Americans approve of gay marriage, such statements by an American company, or its agents, is "bad business"...and pretty inconsiderate, unprofessional and just dumb. I understand IN-n-Out burgers to be another private fast food chain that is religious based (Mormon?) but I haven't heard them publically offend anyone yet.

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

    "You are born white, black or whatever. You make a choice to be gay."

    If you believe being gay is a choice, prove it to us by choosing to become gay. Otherwise, you have no proof.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Walker

    Done. I love my lesbian sister in law more than your chicken sandwiches. Bye bye chick fil a, pushing your personal religious beliefs (not truths) with company money just put you on my list of places to ban for life (and we ate here often).

    July 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • james davids

      The only hate I hear is from the LGBT community and those that support it. Personally I don't care if people are allowed to marry animals or objects. Everyone knew Chic-fil-A was a christian supportive company was not a secret. I don't see them shoving their beliefs down patrons throats. LGBT community on the other hand constantly shoves their views down peoples throats and cry's foul when people don't agree. Grow up people.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SweetTalk

    I'm going to eat more Chick-fil-a. Their nuggets are LOADED with 18g of fat and 1490mg of Sodium. Who cares about a heart attack? As long as I follow my beliefs I am good to go.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. caro kennedy

    I love finally that a business stands up to what they belive in. I always loved the fact that they did close on Sunday and now they are not afraid to stand up to our rights. The bible clearly states marraige is between a man and a woman period the end. You go Chic Fliet I for one will be there support you all the way dont back done !!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. QS

    Why are so many things that are considered "traditional" also so discriminatory?

    July 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. justwonderin

    The only "hate" I see are the posts of those who oppose Chic-fil-a's right to say how they feel. "They" did not state that they hate anyone; they simply stated they are support traditional marriage. Wow–what a bunch of two-faced, immature people. It's okay for some to express their opinions but not others???? People need to respect others regardless of whether or not they choose to believe the same thing. I have many close friends who do not vote the way I vote, do not have the same (or no) religion, like different food, etc. I don't "boycot" them when they say something that contradicts my beliefs or feelings.

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

    Family. Smalily. I am so sick of people hiding behind the protecting the family argument. Where do they think gay people come from? Two straight people or a husband and wife (a family). These precious "families" are the ones bringing the gays into the world so get off of this protecting the family nonsense. So, I take it there are no single parents that work for Chick-Fil-A?

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