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. ce

    I am pretty confident when you hear about companies that come out in support of YOUR side, you will support them. When a CEO of a corporation decides to put his/her faith out there for the public to scrutinize, then we will – for them or against them. I personally don't think a rainbow inside of 2 cookies means I am going to hell. I choose to support that company based on what their CEOs believe and base their business on. I never heard Chik-Fil-A hated one side just because they don't agree with that lifestyle. Do you hate everyone else that doesn't believe the way YOU do? I hope not. It will be interesting to see how Chik-Fil-A's profits will be folllowing this little blurb. My guess is they will be higher.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hopeful

    Malachi 2:13-16; Matt 5:11-12,17-20, Matt 7:17-23, Matt 19-12, Mark 7:17-23, Mark 9:42-50, Gen 5:5-34, Jude 1:8, 1 Cor 7, 1 Cor 6:9-20, Rom 1:26-27, Dt 22:5, Dt 27:16, Gen 5:5-34...Our life is to glorify Him, not ourselves.....We all make choices, but do we choose to humble ourselves and say we're sorry for not doing what He's asked of us? He doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He will continue to grow us into His perfection. Why settle for less?

    July 20, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • EndTheHate

      Hopeful

      Romans 2:1
      1)You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. P

    So, if someone holds a different view or belief other than that of the LGBT, they are hate mongers. But the LGBT ARE NOT hate mongers when they don't agree with those who hold a different view or belief? Double standard.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Name*muma

      Exactly

      July 20, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Selfish IsADisease

      Very well said. I'm getting tired of being bullied by this monority group.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rana

    I love chick fil a, and I will support it even more now. Sometimes the truth hurts... Its to correct us.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip Moore

    God bless this company to say the truth. There are corporate companies in america that hire only gay or lesbian people or let others run for life as part of their secret agenda. Some of the friends who are writing hate email do not know about this kind of discrimination. Hence I would say the courage of the chickfillae owners is appreciable to open their mind on the true christian faith that do not discriminate anybody but to see everthing in Jesus love . It is time christian families to raise their voice on the principle this country is formed that in "God we trust".

    July 20, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. JennyH

    I am so very proud of Chick fil A for taking a stand on this. If more companies woukd it woukd make a huge difference in this country that was founded in Christuan beliefs by Christians. Thank you!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. DaMan

    Going on vacation this weekend. Never really gave much thought to Chick-fil-a . Gonna eat there every chance I can now.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. just chicken

    Here is my little two cents: I do not think that Cathy or chick-fil-a should be judged. Just because you are a vegetarian and support vegetarianism, do you HATE meat eaters? Just because you own a Mac, do you HATE pc users? Just because you are republican do you HATE democrats? No. It's simply a choice of pride in their OWN beliefs and values. I am not a Christian. I do respect their decision. I support gay marriage. Does this give me a right to HATE those who do not. No, not at all. And I do not. I do admire their commitment to their VALUES, which are actually respectable values. Am I going to stop eating Chick-fil-a food. Of course not. That is absurd. Especially, if I am just really hungry or want a diabetes causing freshly squeezed lemonade. lol This whole situation has just been blown out of proportion. It's just chicken!

    July 20, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. RunTellThat

    Just because you disagree doesn't mean its hate. That's why it's called a disagreement. People are to quick to let their emotions come out when discussing such sensitive topics. But, if you ask someone their position, and their position is the opposite of yours, don't get upset and start calling people names just because they disagree with you. People need to grow up and learn how to use logic and not emotions. Mr. Cathy has his beliefs and he is sticking to those beliefs. There is nothing wrong with that and there is absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. He has his beliefs, you have yours. If they are different, so be it.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Miss dawn

    While I completely disagree the their stand on gay marriage, I do appreciated their willingness to stand up for what they believe in. So few companies are willing to do this. Most of them will do anything to get your money. This company is able to run a healthy food business on their terms and be successful. Beating all the business norms. I just love it.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Phillip Gross

    I too agree with the president of the company having the right to a Biblical based stance on this issue (sin). What good is it to say you have religious views and keep them quiet? Kinda like saying you are Christian but not really living like one! I dare say if this was a Muslim based business and women working there......oh, that won't work will it? Maybe if it was gay business that was blatantly openly gay, would they say anything about Christian views? If so would anyone have a backlash in the media for that or would the story be buried under other more"prominent" stories that sell better? I agree with those who own a business having the right to voice their beliefs. I personally will eat more Chik-fil-a because of the stance of a God fearing owner of the business not afraid of the public. I personally would be more afraid of what God has to say on this subject which is written in the Bible. All he did was call a sin a sin. Nothing more, nothing less.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Johnny

    It's called "hate" when comments don't support a liberal ideology, and "compassion" when the they do. I have news for you LGBT folks, America is still a center-right country. No one cares about gay marriage or not, your're free to express Yourself as You wish, and so is Chick-fil-a. It's just that the liberal minority and media whine&cry louder than the majority, everyday Americans.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. billieC

    He didn't speak directly against it here but as a manager for him there are many memos that say only treat openly gay at the bare minimum not to give our famous second mile service. We don't support them but we still take their money. I am straight and Christian but the whole 'dignity, honor, respect' thing is a front. If we really did that out would fall under God's best commandment to love thy neighbor

    July 20, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. Adam

    Im not sure what his beliefs have to do with selling his product or operating his business. All he has said to me is that he is ignorant.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Trice

    I believe in equality! Do they not hire gay people? Do they not serve gay people? Do they advertise that they believe and try to influence their customers? I don't think so. They simply have taken a stand (publicly) on an issue, that for one is quite heated right now, and two is ALWAYS going to bring controversy (because you can not satisfy 100% of the people all the time) I think everyone already knew this company was founded by people who were "Bible thumpers" i.e. they are closed on Sundays....so therefore by processes of elimination they are "pro family,as God intended"

    July 20, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
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