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. KG

    Cathy didn't say anything about hating anyone. Sounds like a lot of these gay and lesbian supporters have some hate issues. Cathy just said "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family"

    Go Chick-Fil-A. Thank you for taking a stand!!!!! Wish there were a lot more company's like you out there.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • MackD33

      KG baby.. Longmont.. Holla Holla!!!
      Yes the hater are the people attacking this man for stating his opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Bow-wow! Bow-wow! Didn't know supporting legislating banning the legal recognition of families is "pro-family". Must be some new definitions going about. Bow-wow!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DeeDee

    For a minute I thought I was the only sane one on the planet. A statement of 'I disagree' is not a statement of hate or discrimination.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rene' A. Lujan Sr.

    ***********************************
    It was all about 'beliefs'...Christian 'values'...a way of 'life'....in no instance did it implied any hatred toward outers'

    July 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Let it B

    What created U.S.A.,B.S.A.,& Chick-Fil-A ???? Anyone ??? Christian Morals If you don,t like them "cool" , create your own , but let the christian people be...

    July 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rheakesha Vaughn

    I'm reading the same statement made by Chik-Fila president as everyone else did..........I still have not found where he says 'we hate gays and lesbians'. I'm puzzled??????? When a Christian based organization says their not in support of gay marriage, that's their beliefs.......do Christians not have a right to stand on our beliefs? Gays and Lesbians speak out on their beliefs constantly! Christian based organizations should not be bashed for what they believe in! It goes both ways people........if gays and lesbians can throw their beliefs in the face of Christians, why is it Christians can't stand on our beliefs??¿??

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CornDawg

    This article is blatantly dishonest.

    Cathy's "Guilty as charged" quote was in response to the original Baptist Press author who observed that Chick-Fil-A is known for "support of the traditional family" ...

    The author of the CNN article above, which apparently is just a rehash/rewrite of the Baptist Press article, took that quote out of context writing ""Guilty as charged," Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage."

    The real hater here, folks, is the CNN author, who has nothing better to do than push his agenda through dishonest hack-job reporting.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Al

    He never said he hated them he said it is wrong and he is right! May God continue to bless that company!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jesse

    To counter the boycott by the leftists liberals, I will eat at Chic-fil-a every chance I get!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jessy The Gnostic

    1. The company (a family-own, privately-owned company) has every right to say what it believes in.
    2. Why is anyone surprised that a Christian-run company is against gay marriage? It's like being surprised that Jews don't eat pork.
    3. What do I care about their views? I love their chicken. And I'm Gnostic and I don't care if they are for or against gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bg1789

    Thanks! Just read this article and went to Chic-fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. marineace

    This is ridiculous. If you don't like Chick-Fil-a for their opinion, then don't patronize their business. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Chick-Fil-a in suburban Philly is busy all the time.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ouida Perkins

    God will bless Chick-Fil-A for their stand. I, for one of millions, will make it a point to patronize this Co.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ida Kern

    Who cares what his personal beliefs are as long as he does not discirminate against gay employees or customers.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    The line at the hot dog stand just tripled. What did I miss?

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

    It's pretty obvious whom the hate mongers are and it's not Chick-
    Fil-A.

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