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. Gale

    Every Company has a right to their opinion whether right or wrong. Everyone has the right to eat where they want. It's that simple. Nothing to fight over or argue about, live and let live. I'd rather see people more upset about the inhumane treatment of animals before slaughter. chickens so cramped in tiny cages unable to spread their wings, never seeing the light of day and traumatically hung upside down before having their necks slit or pigs spending their entire lives in 2 foot stalls, unable to turn around in.

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

    Chick-fil-A needs to learn from In & Out. In & Out is also a private, Christian-based company. They treat all their employees well, including benefits, and are free to practice their own religion as they see fit. They even include bible verses on their materials. Everyone, including liberals, are completely fine with that. (An In & Out in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf has been operating for years without a problem.) The difference is they practice their religion without judgement. That is the difference.

    Let God be the judge. Learn from their experience, and everyone will be happy.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SweetTalk

    My Meal: Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Milkshake: 1050 Calories, 43g of Fat, 140mg Cholesterol, 2030mg Sodium.

    Does it come with a heart bypass?

    July 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    "'They' did not state that they hate anyone; they simply stated they are support traditional marriage."

    What's left out of the article is that they were confirming they -did- give millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, including those that actively seek to destroy people's freedoms. The right to swing their fists ends at my nose.

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

    In my opinion, nothing Mr. Cathy said was hateful, he was just stating his belief in one man/one woman marriage. It seems all the people that are 'hating' are the ones who don't think Mr. Cathy should have his own opinion about his business. I believe right now that Christians are the most hated group around. We are expected to tolerate everyone else but we are the ones that are not to be tolerated. What happened to the Christians having a right to speak? It is time for more Christians to be speaking up before we are made to shut up!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanette

      Exactly he didn't say anything hateful. He's just being honest.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Yeah, Cricket... it's the *Christians* (members of the world’s largest religion) who are the oppressed group on this planet. They are unable to speak their minds due to the persecution of others? Seriously? Wow.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |

      Why not let the "christians" speak up, we have wonderful eras of human history when the "christians" spoke up; let's look at the holy wars, the Inquistion, Salem witch trials, I think the "christians" have had the Talking Stick quite long enough. Christians scare the hell out of me, now God fearing/loving people, those are my kind of people. What did that comedian say, let the gay people get married like the straight people, that way they can be miserable too!

      July 22, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. TrueGrissel

    Nothing wrong with them stating their views and standing behind them, no apologies. I feelings run even deeper than theirs.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lanette

    They have a right to their beliefs just as much as gays and lesbians have a right to theirs. They are not hating on them. If you don't like it eat somewhere else...

    July 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueGrissel

      Thumbs up !!!

      July 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Peggy

    God bless Chick-fil-A for standing up for what they believe. I'm with them.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LoveChicken

    It is amazing that the liberals/progressives that always talk about "tolerance" are the most INTOLERANT people when you disagree with them. They want to destroy You, your family and your business.
    For the record, I am a registered Independant, Atheist, Hispanic who is tired of phony liberals/progressives sticking their nose in my business and their hands in my pocket.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      So you know Riddens is not an actual word right? I'm just saying, if you'd like to prove a point, perhaps you should do so intelligently? Although I am sure you will find me demeaning...I just prefer to have logical disagreements with logical individuals. Wouldn't you agree?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DM

    Dude did not say he wouldn't serve Gay folks....just that he has a different personal view from them. I don't like his view point but it isn't hateful.
    The real question is..how do the chicken feel? They make the supreme sacrifice after all.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |

      KUDOS! let's hear from the chickens!

      July 22, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. DanCathy

    We hate you and we will do everything in our power so you can't get married. But we will happily take your money in exchange for our greasy chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Claire

    The only reason I ever went to chick-fil-a was because of the grandchildren. The food is awful and I wouldn't go again regardless of the owner's views.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The tolerant one

    Yes... The healthier choice for the tolerant people is clearly McDonalds. Haha! I love it!

    July 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DaveYoung

    Dan Cathy:
    You are a hero. I will eat at your joint every day until I am sick of chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fact

    Not one reputable clinical trial has proven that a person is born gay. In fact, quite the opposite. If someone wants to leave that lifestyle they can.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      [Citation needed.] Most of the "clinical trials" (read: cohort studies, since you seem unversed in science literature) show higher concordance in twins than the general population, though it's not 100%. This shows there are least some factors prior to birth that influence orientation.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
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