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. nancy

    Chick-fil-A don't care about the customers that are gay nor do they care about gay employees. And you know what is so sad people supported Chick-fil-A and yet they didn't respect the gay community enough to say we are all the same. I am not gay however I know a lot of gay people and they are just trying to live just like the rest of us we are all the same whome you choose to marrie, date, live with or what ever is your business not that of a president of a company or any one else right to judge. I will never step foot in anoter chick-fil-a in my life. .,they suck their values suck as well. God didn't give you the right to judge anyone. because I am sure if we look in your life we will found many wrong doing.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "I will never step foot in anoter chick-fil-a in my life. .,they suck their values suck as well. God didn't give you the right to judge anyone. "
      In fact, He said 'judge not, lest ye be judged in turn' or something along those lines. Then He went on hanging around with the boys and Mary Magdalene.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. The Bill

    Sorry, I can’t accept their position as a faith based argument. Leviticus & Exodus also forbid the cutting of hair, wearing mixed fabrics, non-virgin wives, sporting activities on Sundays, and a wide range of other things these people discount. It seems to me, these people are picking & choosing which parts of the bible are relevant and true simply because they match their own social prejudice. They seem to use the New Testament for themselves, and the Old Testament against everybody else.

    I see no difference between these people and the Taliban; shame of these Faux Christians.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Caiha

    I had no idea this restaurant was a religious organization. Never going there again, never know when a religious person is going to decide God wants you dead, and poison your chicken.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "poison your chicken" Right, they take one look at your shaved head or your Lady Gaga shirt, and the next thing you know, your kids are puking blood. No thanks, I'm avoiding them from now on.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Slayer

    So all of us non-beleivers are going to start supporting anti-religious companies that will prevent you from expressing your beleifs. Oh thats not fair you say? But it isn't hating, I'm expressing my beliefs. I bet my 401K that you knuckle-dragging bible thumpers that you'd be up in arms.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. roberterson jones

    it's him standing against sin not the person. that's the problem, people don't like to reminded that what they are doing is a sin.
    if i was committing adultery i wouldn't like to be reminded of it either.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. roberterson jones


    July 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    As a Christian, Chick-Fil-A shames me a great deal. So do other Christians who believe that they have the right to impose their religious beliefs or any sort of morality derived from those beliefs on other people. It's a good thing I don't like Chick-Fil-A anyway... the breading on their chicken has the consistency of lint.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Steve, so how did they impose their beliefs on others? They made a statement of their belief. They didn't even "witness" as you Christians quite often do. For me to say I believe in Obama would be a statement. Now for me to hand you an ad and telling you why he is so great would be me imposing my belief on you...wait people are already doing that. Just sayin'.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Barrett, Athens, GA

      Steve...you are a jerk. Nobody is imposing their beliefs on you. They are just practicing theirs like they are legally able to. I stand with Chick-fil-A. It's about time for those that believe in Christian values to stand up to you haters.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jerrell schultz

    great news from chic fila owner its about time someone stood up for his beliefs

    July 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Yeah, he's really 'brave' to bash gays in the South. Courageous of him to say what a lot of his bigoted customers are also saying. He's a regular Atticus Finch.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Manuel

    I don't understand why it is that if a person/company/church does not believe or agree with the gay stance then they are automatically labeled as a "hate" group. Hate is kind of harsh, wouldn't you say? Hate groups are typically those who wish to cause violence over their beliefs. Chic-Fil-A is not doing anything violet and not refusing gay patrons or employees. So how are they hating?

    July 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. DaniSteph

    This really frustrates me. While I believe that people have the right to contribute their money to what they believe in, I have a hard time supporting a company that is so exclusive in their use of funds. So you support a "traditional family" based off biblical principles? Okay... But if you're a Christian company, why aren't you using your money to help people in a more tangible, non-divisive way? There are plenty of thing you could contribute to that would help families that wouldn't border on the lines of "getting political." You could help families in need who are struggling or homeless or something. No one would have a problem with that. I personally don't believe that one person's personal beliefs should be forced on or speak for an entire company.
    Oh, and hey Cynic... I'm a Christian who supports gay marriage. I'm not perfect, but I believe in loving everyone. There are plenty of Christians like me. Unfortunately, the ones who are full of hate somehow get noticed more... But don't judge us all based on those jerks.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. John


    July 20, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. labo

    Tolerance and acceptance are two different things....really! They are.
    Acceptance is when you require that everyone adopt your way of thinking. WIth this idea of acceptance everyone would have to believe exactly the same things. A radical thought–Someone could disagree with your way of thinking and yet tolerate your beliefs. If someone disagrees with you, you call it "hate". This country has been founded giving freedom of religion.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "This country has been founded giving freedom of religion." Chick-Fil-A is not a church. They depend on public acceptance for their paychecks.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hugh Jass

    Are they gone yet?

    July 20, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. JWaters

    Kudos to Chick fil A! I agree with Pres Cathey 100%.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Barrett, Athens, GA


      July 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    Chick-Fil-A, as a company, can support whatever political views they choose. The chain was founded on religious principles, which is why they are never open on Sundays.

    If you want to protest their stance, then don't eat there...

    But they DO make amazing chicken sandwiches. Much better than you'll find at McDonald's, Wendy's, etc.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
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