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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Jaime

    I go to check-fil-a like 3-4 times a week.
    Now, I have to find a new place for breakfast.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. operajoy

    This aricle is wrong.. he didnt say "guilty as charged" in response to their stand on gay marraige, he said it in response to a question about upholding Christian values. While these may indeed be one in the same, I sincerely doubt Cathy would be tactless enough to respond to a quetion directly relating to gay marriage that same way. Did you even listen to the interview before you wrote this article? Of course you didn't.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ron N

    Hate the sin not the sinner.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. JustSayin

    What an IDIOT! Stand by your beliefs fine (I personally think how/who someone loves is none of your godddam concern) From a business standpoint this was a foolish move. Any person who is does not identify as straight who was not hired or was fired from this organization just got a public statement that would be of great use in a law suit. Why draw attention to this?

    July 20, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Name*Thor

    Everybody has there beliefs and will fight for it til the end....but people choose the truth they like and obey in there own way...so all of this truth fighting could be stopped....if u just dont start with the arguments and hate that u think is appaling!..and live life to the fullest in every good way possible so gays and straights...Everyones different....and ya'll are just going to have to move on and accept your belief differensess...

    July 20, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. cooldaddysquid23

    Why is it that Christians cherry-pick the Bible to hate gay people? Well, scientific studies show that adherence to fundamentalist principles, bigotry, and socially conservatism all trend toward lower intelligence. Compassion is the only cure for this kind of ignorance, but most people with lower intelligence will listen to their own internal absolutes and call it, "God's Word," rather than discover the reality of the situation by asking questions and making up their minds based on fact or actually challenging their own beliefs. Less intelligent people are inclined to take comfort in their own prejudice. And it's too bad because there really isn't much anyone can do about a person's intelligence level. Personally, I struggle between feeling bad for them and cursing media outlets like Fox News that have encouraged people like this to spew forth their childish ignorance with such pride and conviction.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "Why is it that Christians cherry-pick the Bible to hate gay people?" Gaybashers are generally in the closet themselves. Psychology 101 is one of the reasons they hate college.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • CP Fan

      Why do Christian cherry pick the parts of the Bible to adhere to? Well, people who say this, are doing the same thing. Most of them claim to be Christians, too. People who say "God is all about love" have never read the Bible. They pick one verse "Love you neighbor" and run with it, ignoring the rest of Scripture.

      For anyone who actually wants to stop being ignorant, read the Bible cover to cover for yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you what to believe. Don't believe the pastor, your neighbor, what tradition you grew up with. Don't balk at all religion. Decide for yourself. Pray for clarity and wisdom. You may be surprised with what you read.....

      July 20, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • hernan

      you say we should base our live in fact and science.
      Can you tell me how many kilos of love does your mom have for you?
      or can you measure the length of hope people have for a good marriages.
      What about respect, do you have 1000 sq miles of respect for family?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      Hate? Where exactly do you see the hate? Because he expressed his believes? Did he say murder all gays? Did he ban them from the restaurant? NO! All he said he is not for gay marriage! We (Those who do not agree with the gay lifestyle are not for any type of harm or evil against gays – we just don't agree with the lifestyle!) What is wrong with that??What gets me is that the gays can shove their "lifestyle" in our face in the movies on the streets on the radio...but those of us who do not agree with that have to put up with it and now we can't even say no we don't agree...why? I say if they gays don't want to buy from chick-fil-a better then good for you but all this fuss over someone's opinion is stupid.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Winston5

    boycott, boycott. (Jerks)

    July 20, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. jazger

    mmmm.. chick-fil-a good.... i think i'll buy extra just to make up for all the lame gay folks who don't want "nuggets of hate"

    July 20, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • The Truth Hurts

      Good luck with that Chick-fil-A won't take your food stamps or your welfare check.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      I'm not lame or gay, and I don't want the hate nuggets either. Enjoy them if you can.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. jazger

    think the best bit is all the gay folks saying "boycott!!!!!" yea.. hmm, dout they really care..i mean chick-fil-a is always freaking packed.. might be nice, to have a few less mor0ns tanding in line hen i get my nuggets and waffle fries..


    July 20, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      You know they are all going to get jobs there and spit in the food, don't you? I wouldn't go near the place. A Batman movie would be safer.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Justin

    I support gay rights. However, I have to commend Chick-Fil-A for taking shots at divorced people as well as gay marriage. They weren't hypocrites. No one noticed that, eh?

    July 20, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Right on.

      Chick-Fil-A is maybe the best company to work for in the fast food industry. Employees are treated with respect and dignity. I have met a lot of people who work for the company and the things that the company and local management do for the employees and the local neighborhoods are great.

      Chick-Fil-A the company does not discriminate against gay individuals. Read their values statement. The stores do not engage in hate filled behavior towards the gay community. The employees are some of the nicest around.

      What is true is that the owner has personal beliefs against gay marriage. The two, business and owners personal belief are not the same.

      I personally support gay marriage. That is what is great about this country. It is sad that this country is become so intolerant on both the liberal and conservative fronts.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "he stores do not engage in hate filled behavior towards the gay community. " It's true; the home office takes care of that by donating money to those who DO engage in hate-filled behavior. Pretty neat, eh?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Paul Marcel-Rene

    God did say that there would be those that call good evil and evil good. Marriage IS only between a man and a woman. Supporting this truth is correct and proper. Anyone opposing this is opposing God. If only all companies would "choose the right"

    July 20, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "Anyone opposing this is opposing God. " Wow, it's God's Chosen Spokesman. Who anointed you to speak for Jehovah?

      July 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Melanie

    Nobody said that they hate gays, will not serve gays or that they will not employ gays. They are a privately owned business and the president of that company has a right to speak his mind. You don't have to eat there. Come on people, this is America!

    July 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "You don't have to eat there." Doggone right, and I won't.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rob

    I bet they also secretly provide free food to the Westboro Baptist Church.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Hate nuggets? I heard they supply Mitt with his 'waffle fries,' too.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. sammy

    I dont understand why it was wrong for them to stand up for what they believe is right. Had they taken the other stance and said they where for gay marraiges then they would be hated by another group. What ever happened to having the right to believe what you want to? We do live in a free country right?!?!?!?!?!?

    July 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "What ever happened to having the right to believe what you want to? We do live in a free country right?!?!?!?!?!?"

      Yep, we do, and we are free to go eat across the street from Chick-Fil-A. Checkers has their burgers two for three dollars, and they don't donate money to hate groups and brag about it.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kris B

    Well, I don't agree with their stance but last time I checked it was a free country. I will voice my protest by never, ever eating at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172