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. Julio AA

    Gay marriages! It's too much!
    I will support this decision as a customer. No surrender!!! Never get back!!!

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

    JUST SHUT UP!!! no one cares about your stance on marriage.. or if you support the gay and lesbian community. Just make your freaking food and do business. Get out of the media on your views, and make food. Its ridiculous. There are more important things going on than having to pull up CNN and see that Chick-Fil-A doesn't support gays. Ok, who cares. I have never walked into a franchise and not seen a gay at the register. Open your eyes. You may want to think you are better than everyone else because you are closed on Sunday, but you are not God and you are not to judge anyone. That is the job of God. So keep your beliefs to yourself or become a minister, not a franchise owner.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Why, when a celebrity spouts off his anti-Christian views, like BradPitt, is it okay, but when a Christian shares his principles, the militant LGBT crowd comes screaming out? "Just sell your bleeping chicken" they rage. Turn about is fair play. We are all sinners, there's only degrees of how it affects others. Mr. Cathy wasn't saying gays aren't allowed in his restaurant. He was expressing his Christian morals to a Christian magazine.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • God's main man

      Sometimes, I eat a #1 while my boyfriend slams my #2 during my abortion as I blaspheme at this fine chicken Christian torturing facility as Benny Hinn, Matt Chandler and Ed Young observe with their wives passionately. I do this in the Chic-fi-la parking lot for money and nobody seems to care. Except for Sundays.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ed

    It's a free country and people have a right to their opinions. It's not against the law to be a bigot. They have a right to hate people they don't even know, just as I have a right to take my business elsewhere and never spend another cent at Chick-Fil-A, which is what I intend to do.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    I love Chick Fil a, but not enough to give them more money to spew their hate. I am a three to four time a week Chick Fil A customer,,,breakfast, lunch, dinner,,,,a milkshake on the way home from work...its all over..there are other less discriminating places to eat.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • UDawg

      @michael...yeah you eat 3 times a day 4-5 days a week there... lol... and you are gay and way 400 lbs. lol
      You think anyone believes you or you will influence 1 billion $ in sales by lying? Chik Fil A is awesome, keep up the great food and great principles.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Helen

    Am I missing something here? Mr. Cathy was answering a question being asked by the Baptist Press. In no place did he state they would refuse to serve someone who was gay, or whatever orientation at a Chick-Fil-La. He has a perfect rright to state his beliefs and if it does not jibe with others, it seems to me they can quiet their hate , those who have an opposite view. They can choose to eat there or not and leave it at that.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roknlive

    Gays are ruining our country! Their unwanted pregnancies ending in abortions or children in foster homes. Having kids just to get food stamps and other social support, divorces left and right! I bet half of them don't even know who the "baby daddy"is. I am tired of supporting these people! Enough is enough!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |

      Of the hundreds of posts I've read this has to be the most ignorant I've read thus far.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. samantha

    darn, wish we had a chik-fil-a around here, Id go get some dinner. Good for them. i boycott oreo because they openly support the gay movement, therefore i support chik fil a because they openly support what they believe in. works both ways...you don't like chik fil a's stance? get over it, better yet, go eat an oreo

    July 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • RayC

      To Samantha... Wait a second you support Chick-Fil-A and you boycotted Oreos? That not working both ways. Both of your actions support anti- equal rights. That my dear, is working one way, Think before you express yourself the next time and you won't come off sounding stupid.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. D. Smith

    Where is the tolerance for differences in opinion and freedom of conscience? How is supporting marriage as it has been defined for thousands of years being hateful?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve mcnally

    Im going to eat there more often now.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fredrique Bastian

    II fully support chick-filet and will continue to buy their food. I am totally against the shoving of gay people down my throat and trying to make me accept them as normal; they are not normal; they are abnormal. Good for Mr. Cathy.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CSX

    Who would think an upstanding God fearing comapny would be under attack in America? Yet it is normal and ok to support a wicked perverse dirty abominable sin.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Don't remember anywhere in the Bible where marriage was a sin.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      Just more signs of the times. Bible says Christians will be hated and persecuted. Thankful Mr. Cathy is standing up for his rights. We need to be more like him!

      July 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Missy

    WAY TO GO CHICK- FIL- A!, we need more Christian companies like you to stand up and grab a set, If pizza restaurants can cater to Mexicans and force Americans to order pizza in Spanish to get free pizza, then why cant a chicken restaurant stand up for thier principles?, thier not being any more predjudice than pizza patron, Chick-fil-A is excersizing their freedom of speech. Our Country was founded on Christian principles, and the English language. If it makes gays mad, then they dont have to eat there, isnt that what was said to english speaking Americans about Pizza Patron? if you dont like it, dont eat there.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Winnie

    This stance has nothing to do with hate; it is just the truth. People do not want to hear the truth because to deny it, one can live any lifesatyle they choose. It will all be settled by Jesus in the end when He returns.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tom

    Way to go Chick Fil-A , I will be eating alot more meals with you guys now. I agree with you 100%. About time we take a stand against these gays and there sick life style. Marriage is for man and woman,lets keep it that way.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    You see kids, some "children of Christ" are so wrapped up in their pastor's interpretation of the Bible that they can't stand anyone who strays from the "flock." You see, independent thought is the first casualty in organized religion. I'm a Christian. That means I hate no one. I've attended a southern baptist church. I can tell you, it's not hate, it's brainwashing. Point is. Feel sorry for them. Their closed minds come from conditioning and a need to be the best "Christian" in their congregation. And I'm through.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
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