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. misty

    I'm gay and I eat CFA bc they have good food and because I'm not going to run away from someone just because they don't like my lifestyle. If the time comes I will be the one to answer for my sins as will the ones that are judging my life. A sin is a sin is a sin...period. Being a gay person I wouldn't stop going to a friends house just because they didn't approve straight marriage that would be stupid much like choosing to not eat somewhere just because that place doesn't like me. And I shop at Hobby Lobby! My wife and our daughter will be living our lives our way and everyone else should be doing the same. If we minded our own business and people just live we wouldn't even be having this issue.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    "Now fair-minded consumers can make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company or take their business elsewhere...."

    I don't eat out much, but when I do I will make a point to eat at Chick-fil-A as often as is convenient and reasonable. I'm glad some people in the business world are not afraid to speak honestly about their views despite all the whiners out there.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Che

      I respect your right to make that decision, Greg. I, for one, however, will be doing just the opposite. Not one penny of my hard-earned money will ever go into the pockets of bigots. I wonder about the people on the Chick-fil-A board: Do they ever eat shrimp, lobster, clams, or fish from the sea that swim without scale?. Those are far more clear Biblical transgressions than gay, bi, lesbian, transgender, or open lifestyles. WWJD? My guess is that he would not condemn the Chick-fil-A people, but would instead pray for the saving of their souls from their own sins.. But he probably wouldn't give them his money to eat there, either.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    Every time i hear of a company supporting sin. I no longer do busniess with them. The resources GOD has provided me will not be used to work against him. Is this hate also? I read many hateful comment saying the same on the wrong side of this discussion.

    July 20, 2012 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. tokencode

    Gay marriage supporters are taking the entirely wrong stance.... don't boycott Chick-fil-A, apply for jobs and go there with your partner, make it the new married gay couples hang-out. Kiss your boyfriend in line, hold hands. Let the bigots feel uncomfortable and legally there isn't a darn thing they can do about it.

    "Heyyyyyyy Welcome to Chick-Fil-AAAaaaaa!"

    July 20, 2012 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bubba Rydel

    Thank God for such a brave brave Christian individual. I never eat at Wendy's but I will begin buying a meal a week and giving it away to a local homeless veteran. God Bless you Cathy.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
    • talk2molly

      As long as you don't buy the meal at Chick-fil-A, where Cathy resides as President, you'll be doing a great service to Wendy's and to our veterans.

      July 20, 2012 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sharon

    Didn't patronize, now won't.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
    • treehugger

      screw u

      July 20, 2012 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. tokencode

    Gay marriage supporters are taking the entirely wrong stance.... don't boycott Chick-fil-A, apply for jobs and go there with your partner, make it the new married gay couples hang-out. Kiss your boyfriend in line, hold hands. Let the bigots feel uncomfortable and legally there isn't a darn thing they can do about it.

    "Heyyyyyyy Welcome to Chick-Fil-AAAaaaaa!"

    July 20, 2012 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Luke C

    So... I don't understand. Are their hiring policies discriminatory? Is is somehow hateful chicken? I don't think the cook or cashier at my local Chik-fil-A out here in California pay much mind to the CEO honestly answering a question he was asked back at headquarters in Atlanta. Sounds like much ado about nothing to me.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike P

    I don't actually like their food much, but I've eaten there twice now as part of the "buycott" response to calls for boycotting. Looks like I'll have to make another trip.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I hope you come to the one I just got a job at;)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. talk2molly

    Gay people are not a fad. We have always been here, in the midst of straight people and everything in between, and we are not going anywhere. Some gay people are truly good people, and some are not. We have this in common with straight people. We run the gamut like everyone else. Right now, our country is leaning toward a progressive movement of gay acceptance, and Mr. Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, is not keeping up with the times, and not accepting the world for what it truly is; both straight and gay and everything in between. As for me, I'm not going to hold the private owners of Chick-fil-A franchises responsible for the comments of one narrow-minded man. If I want a chicken sandwich, I'll get one. That is one choice that I do get to make.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Lomack

      sweet reason.

      July 20, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Why bother making up one

    I still want a Chick-fil-a sandwhich, no pickles and a medium sized lemonade with a side of waffle fries a Chick-fil-a sauce

    July 20, 2012 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    Their food sucks anyway. I seldom ever go and I definitely won't now.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Pam

    Don't be mad at Chick-fil-a, God made the rules. I am proud of the fact that are christians and aren't afraid to make a stand in thier beliefs.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kish

    Mr.Cathy clearly states he does not support, he didn't say HE HATED. You love the person but you hate the sin. I thank God that Mr.Cathy honors God's word and not the opinion of man. If Mr.Cathy hated the gays then he would have posted a sign saying NO GAYS ALLOWED or what have made that statement.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. carlo rivera

    Dan is supporting a biblical point of view. If people are going to question that, it's like they're questioning the author of the bible Himself.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
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