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. Jeanette

    I am 61 years old and have NEVER eaten at chick-fil-a, but after hearing their response I am most definately going to patronize them. I am tired of conservatives having to be afraid of voicing their opinions. Thanks to this business for standing up for their beliefs. GOD BLESS THEM. I am so tired of the media glamorizing the bad of this world making it sound ok. I hope more people stand up for upright people who wish to stand for what America used to be all about.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DanCathy

    C'mon there's nothing wrong in spending millions of dollars to prevent people from getting married. Sure, this money could be used to feed starving children in this country, but who cares about that??

    July 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NorCalMojo

    Tolerance is a two way street. People need to learn to agree to disagree.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SeilnoigileR

    To all you saying that the "gay lifestyle" is being "pushed down your throat" – it's quite the opposite. YOUR lifestyle has been stuck in everyone's throats for a very, very long time and people are attempting to dislodge it so they can actually breathe freely. Still trying to figure out what the gay 'lifestyle' or 'agenda' is....if growing up, going to school, working and going home each day to a loving partner is a 'lifestyle' there are a lot of you doing the same thing. You demean your own relationship by defining all relationships by simply what is done in the privacy the bedroom. Your solution is to simply say 'go away or at least act different so we can pretend you don't exist'.....one could say the same to you. At least things would be quieter.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • NorCalMojo

      If hetero's weird you out, you should avoid them. No harm done. No one is going to publish your name on the internet if you do.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • NorCalMojo

      The sisters of perpetual pleasure have been known to gatecrash Catholic church services. The aggression of the more militant gay activists is starting to hurt your cause. It's ugly.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      NorCalMojo: Bzzt, try again.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NorCalMojo

    Don't mess with a geek's food.

    20 minutes after posting the pic he was busted.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Airboss

    Yea! Chic Fil A... Stand up for what is right!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. noillusion

    yall is not a word, and beliefs have no validity, they're just beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Henry H

    This is why I support the Westboro baptist church, because there sticking to what they believe!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gin

    hoorah for chick fil et

    July 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tom

    Chik-fil-a has a right to say what they want. Leave it to CNN to make a big deal out of it. You can tell CNN's stance on this as they reported the gay response first. This is not news. Who gives a crap. People need to grow up. God will have the final word.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Devin

    HAHA this whole issue is so dumb. Traditional families are what makes us GLTB in the first place. I say thumbs up to the breeders of the world, keep churning out hot gay men and women everyday. And we'll eat your crappy chicken. There, happy now? LMAO

    July 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. betty peskey

    What is wrong with you people, God loved everyone you should not judge for fear your the one that's going to be the one he takes first for judging others.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ohio guy

    I go there to eat and not interested in who people sleep with.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Principled

    See, I'm gay, so I won't go to support a business that doesn't like me all that much.
    But I absolutely respect the owner for having a stance and making it clear. Too many people will waffle about, or just lie because they think that profit is greater than principle.

    So sir, while I may not agree with you, I respect you for having convictions and standing by them instead of being Janus-faced for the sake of taking the easy road.

    And what has the world come to when we have to immediately hate on anyone who doesn't agree with us?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeDee

      Well said Principled! Much respect!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Y'know, if they merely didn't like me, I would be fine with them. I'd patronise them if I was big into fast food, at any rate.

      But they do not merely not like me. They have donated their own funds to deny marriage equality. As such, I have absolutely no respect for his "convictions", just as I would have no respect for an anti-miscegenist, no matter how straight-faced and honest they were about it.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shawn

    Just because an individual group or organization does not believe in your believes or cause why do we think they are haters ...we allow gays to promote their beliefs and they should I am fine with that ....but for that same group and their supporters to act like everyone hates then for being the way they choose to be because
    Someone does not agree with the lifestyle choice does it really matter... I have friends and family that choose to be bi gay what ever you want to call it I still love them as much as my straight friends and family ...I believe in God and the his word being gay in my beliefs is wrong .... just like it says I should do a lot of other things..to get to the point we should allow individuals to feel like they have a choice to believe What they believe and not be threatened or harmed for it or feel that they shouldn't voice. Their opinions with out abacklash. Of more ignorent retards ..I could say more but I wont live ur life and stop worring about what everyone thinks.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |

      This is how you spell IGNORANT, and I'm sure some of your best friends are black.

      July 22, 2012 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
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