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. Johnway

    This is not a question of whether or not they have the right to believe what they want. What is not mentioned in the article is that they spend millions of dollars to support anti equality measures. By purchasing thier wares, you are supporting that activity. So if you believe in equality for all, you should be boycotting them. if you do not believe in equality for all, then feel free to continue to be their benefactor. Just hope that one day that hate does not focus on you.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucky

    The Bible says marriage is between one man and one woman! What is it you people don't get? The Bible is not written like a Burger King menu to have it your way.This is Gods word not mans and God will tolerate your sickness for so long.As for Chic-Fil-A's stance, it is their right to worship God just as it is for you to choose a path to hell.No one is imposing their will on you and just as society is teaching to tolerate views like yours we as christians expect your tolerance on our views given to us by God himself!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      What we don't get is how you seem to forget that only Christians think the Bible is actually true. I couldn't care less what the Bible says! Why can't you understand that!

      July 20, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Chik fil a will do fine without gay people. Their business model is next to perfect and the product sells itself. Hmmm wonder why god bless this business with so much?? LOL

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. UDawg

    Dear Gay Community, please stop being heterophobic and don't worry about your boycott's, Chik Fil A will be fine. They have great food, great service, contribute to awesome charities and close on Sunday's so their employees can take a day off and be with their families.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Yes, Equality Matters, HRC and the like are trying to prevent straight couples from marrying and are donating their funds to spread falsehoods bout straight couples.

      The deceit is thick with this one.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Al

    Why is it hate when you speake the truth in love. I agree with Chick-fil-A

    July 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • fisherjason

      Because working to prevent people from marrying each other for no reason other than your own selfish beliefs isn't love.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jose Villanueva

    Plain and simple, Cathy was ASKED a question. Why are people so upset with his response? Be very careful America! When we start to live in a society that condems freedom of speech and thought, we start to embrace a dictatorship. Ever read George Orwell's 1984? I never read anything to suggest that Cathy condemns or hates the gay community (and neither does the bible btw). God does not HATE gays or even straight adulterous sinners. He does stand with open arms for all sinners to repentance. Please leave Cathy and even JC Penney (who support gay marriage) alone. If you choose to or don't choose to support these businesses, then so be it. Just stop with the condemnation and disrespect of these business owners just trying to make a living. If you know the answer you wanna hear and you know you're not gonna get that answer, then DON'T ASK IT!!! Otherwise, don't get upset with the person who thinks differently than you.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • An American

      Thank you for bringing knowledge and wisdom into a world full of ignorance.I thought that intelligible people were a dying breed but you have renewed my hope my new found ally. May your works proper and multiply.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Abigail

    I'm not gay, not anti-Christian, but pro-humanity and I will choose to eat at other establishments that truly honor all of their customers!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeremy

    It's entirely possible, and even likely, that the CEO was told what to do here. This is propaganda, probably.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    different opinion = bigot?
    What a world we live in. Should majority opinion ultimately decide what we should think? Whose the bigot now.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Numyorangay

    Chick-Fil-lation. This is not Christian. It's bestiality. . .a fillating chick

    July 20, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. kelley

    Thank you Chick-fil-a!! I worry about this world and what kind of society I am raising my son in. Thank you for standing up for the laws of the Lord! Man, individuals like this who stand up for God no matter what are very rare. Accepting gay marriage is only inviting the wrath of God into America. How can people say "God Bless America" and then embrace practices like this? This inclusion-gospel is not what Jesus taught, and there are many who will take the wide path to hell and few who will choose the narrow path to heaven. And guess what? Jesus said His true followers would be persecuted for their beliefs, just like the president of this chain. This is not coincidence, people!

    July 20, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      I'm sorry, I didn't know we were operating under storm god Yaweh's laws in this country. Wonder where that pesky First Amendment went to.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Only God has the authority to sit in judgement of humans. Other humans have not that right. Mr Cathy will have some explaining to do upon arrival. God frowns upon humans usurping HIS power.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Reality99

    Why should Chik-Fil-A care what the 3% of the population that are butt sniffers think anyway. They're irrelevant, which is proven by Chik-Fil-A overwhelming success. Grow Chik-Fil-A grow!! You don't need the 3% that are genetic defects anyway!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. An American

    Now if your straight and oppose gay marriage please stop discriminating, as you made the choice to express your opinion over the topic they have also made theirs, you may not like it but respect it and they in turn will do the same. As for the gays who are so hell bent on thinking that the world is against you please stop thinking that everyone who expresses their opinion on an issue of gay rights hates you just as you have expressed you opinion let them express theirs. Now for both of you, gay or straight, just have decency and respect for your fellow man and he will do the same for you. For those who quoted the Bible it advocates love of your fellow man and peace, correct? So please practice what you preach and those who still wanna fight just remember that in the end you may need the guy you just discriminated against for being gay or the person who you just stereotyped as a hatemonger for sharing their thoughts. May God (or lack thereof for those who don't believe) bless the United States of America.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Reality99

    Chik- Fil – A has to love the free advertising. Sure the 3% won't go there for a few days, but the 97% of Americans that are normal are being reminded by this story about how great Chik-Fil-A is and will be more likely to go there to eat in the future!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
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