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. The PhotoGuy

    I support their stand and believe businesses have the right to take a stand. I will go by a littl emore often to show my support.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Hogarth

      God will love you for it, and grant you an early heart attack.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Aaron

    This wont change my opinion of their food at all. ChikFilA is gross.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nobody

    I have a brother who is gay so I personally can't reconcile spending my money at Chik Fil A when they donate to organizations such as Exodus International which I find reprehensible. I don't presume to tell them what to do with their money, but I don't have to be part of that machine so I don't spend my money there. I take the same approach to other companies who I know of that finance groups that I am not in agreement with. I love their food, but I love my brother more and can't abide anyone who supports the notion that he should just "pray the gay away".

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Bibliovore

      I'm with you - I refuse to give them a penny of my money, just as I refuse to give to any other bigoted or discriminatory organizations.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. downinfront

    Boston Market!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. tolajn

    This argument of Cathy standing up for biblical values is so monstrously narrow minded. The old testament were a collection of stories told for milllenia prior to it being recorded and it is wrong and shameful to place current social situations into one or two sentences pulled from the texts to marginalize whole groups of people. Reading the entire book of the bible to catch the literary tone proves more responsible and intelligent. Think of letters or emails you have sent over the years and then having someone come behind you and cut and paste your message.....it could say most anything the person cutting and pasting would like for it to say, regardless of your original intent! Dangerously small minds take small bites of scripture and run with it. WHAT DID JESUS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE GAY ISSUE.....NOTHING!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. dj-MD

    I am supportive of an expanded definition of marriage. I see no rational reason that gay marriage should not be legalized everywhere. All people should have the right to marry.

    But the flaming rhetoric against Dan Cathy and his company is out of bounds. There is no hate whatever in Cathy's remarks. He does not support gay marriage. And he gives money to groups who support "traditional" values - as Cathy defines them. Isn't this his right? Isn't this still a free country. Can't people still disagree without being disagreeable?

    I'm a yellow-dog Democrat; always will be. But hate is not acceptable on either side. Do I approve of fundamentalist Christian groups (or individuals)? No! Do I support the tea-baggers or their inflammatory, hateful rhetoric? No! But that doesn't mean that I agree with flaming either group.

    If you don't like Cathy's position, fine. If you want to boycott his restaurants because of it, so be it. He has already said that he is willing to accept the consequences of his actions. He believes that he is taking a position of principle. I believe he is wrong. Why can't we just leave it at that? Is there really a need to vilify the man?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Hogarth

      Yes.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark R

      You, sir, are offering a rational viewpoint to a polarizing topic. Clearly, you are new to the internet.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mar

    I love Chick-fil-A

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. HaveSomeTea

    I'm sorry that Chik-fil-a thinks gay marriage causes more harm than the 500 calories and 21g of fat of their chicken sandwich.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • canukeepup

      Love it!!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • canukeepup

      I love you comment HaveSomeTea!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hogarth

    More proof that religion is stupid.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hugh Jass

    Do they spit in your food if they think you "look gay?"

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Prosper

    Gay marriage is foolishness. I dont care how you make it sound, it is foolish and i tell you, GOD will visit america some day. America will fall in this generation, mark my words.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • canukeepup

      My once a week stop just moved to Boston Market!! They don't realize how big the gay community REALLY is!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. kre8tive girl

    For all those who will no longer eat at chick Fil-A, it certainly is your choice to choose where you spend your discrentionary dollars. I wonder, will you too, stop supporting Nabisco, Kraft Foods and other companies where your money gets plowed back into the tobacco industry? Phillip Morris owns the above. Love the sinner, of which I am certainly one, but hate the sin.

    Thank you.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. umbrella

    I suppose men with a second or third wife won't want to eat there anymore either.

    All the upset lgbt should remember that freedom of speech has more than one side.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @umbrella Again, using the government's power to ban rights from a class of citizens is not freedom of speech. It's discrimination. I agree with and would die for your right to say what you want. When you get laws passed based on your religion to the exclusion of other peoples' beliefs you cross a line.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Edward C

    I am curious if multiple divorces and consistent adultry fall into his definition of traditional marriage?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. downinfront

    Church's Chicken

    ...irony

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Leroy Jenkins

      Yeah........All from a guy named Cathy :0

      July 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
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