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. Gary

    I respect Chik-Fil-A and Mr. Cathy for standing up for their beliefs. But, I have to vote with my wallet. The Methodist church that I was brought up and all of the other religions have strongly said that God or some other "Supreme Being" loves everyone and everything. Just as men and women have evolved over time, society must evolve. I believe that folks are getting wrapped up in the word "marriage". Call the relationship what you want, but 2 loving people should be able to express publicly that love, and have all the rights and privileges that are currently granted only to a man and woman. Time and time again studies of all types have shown that as long as children are raised in a nurturing and caring environment, they will thrive and flourish.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Robin

    Keith, I don't see him actively pursuing preventing gays from marrying. He just stated what he believes in, and is labeled a 'bigot and hater'. Everyone is allowed to believe what they want. I didn't see anywhere in the article that they refuse to hire or serve gay people. Why can't he have his beliefs like everyone else without being labeled something for it?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      They spend the company's money lobbying for anti-gay laws. If it was just about his ignorant beliefs, it wouldn't be an issue.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      Because he's spending millions funding hate groups. It's fine to express your opinion. It's totally different to use profits from a business to fund hate. I will not visit this business agian.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    I think all the gays should boycott Chick-Fil-A on Sundays.....that will show them!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. LAC

    I truly don't see the problem. Though I am vehemently apposed to and type of discrimination whatsoever, as always there are consequences when you take a stand on a position. We are an econmic society that support businesses for any number of reasons. I will choose not to support Chickfila in the future. It;s thayt simple.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Your choice. right. My choice not to like your choice. That's what it means to be free.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. heidi

    Sorry, sports fans. This Christian born and raised, now entering the ministry, cannot condone the random targeting of any group being singled out for defamation and mistreatment. And while I commend Mr. Cathy et al for being married to their first wives, if they are to match the biblical model of Solomon, that wise, wise king, they will need to accrue a few (hundred) more, as well as a few hundred concubines. Can we not all just get along? Love one another– just because? Please?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. deal2u

    just remember the sign "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"
    Everyone has a right to their own beliefs!There will always be disagreement about those beliefs.Move on
    This person is stating how he and I guess others in the company feel. and yes you have the right to choose to buy from them or not..
    I have not heard of Chic-fil-a being a big player in anything anti-gay so again it is a persons choice to patronize them

    July 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    Last time I checked we live in a supposedly free country. We should be free to like or not like what we want. I hate this new trend that we MUST like and embrace everything or be branded a hater. I don't like being told who and what I have to like. I can make up my own mind. I don't want society doing it for me.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Resting on the fence

      Well said.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. HaveSomeTea

    I'm sorry that Chik-fil-a thinks gay marriage causes more harm than the 830 calories and 36g of fat of their classic #1 meal

    July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. David Legg

    Only fringe activists would react to Dan Cathy's comments by claiming that he hates gays, that the company hates gays or that their nuggets are filled with hate. It's ridiculous that we now live in a society where the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech are construed as hate. Dan Cathy made no statement about anything other than the lifestyle he and his family have held to all of their lives. If sincerly held Christian beliefs that are practiced faithfully and expressed honestly without any animosity toward anyone receive this kind of reaction from some people, one can clearly see where the hatred really thrives.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Leroy Jenkins

      David I respect your view and I too am glad that Mr. Cathy has let his views out of the bag, however it's not very good businesses sense to dive head first into a boiling cauldron. To myself it isn't any different than if he had said he didn't think blacks should marry whites, well, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see that he might be just a little bit prejudice. He will never get my support.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Edward C

    Glad to see you go is the thought I would be thinking if I were fortunate enough to come across your obituary.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • NP

      Wow! So, saying "if I were fortunate enough to come across your obituary" isn't hate-filled! Come on, talk about a hate-monger!

      July 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. It's a two-way street

    Yeah, right Cynic. Don'cha just hate it? Bigot.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Douglas

      See, he is right! LOL

      July 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      @ It's a two-way street
      Afraid not.

      I complete agree with Cynic and I’m engaged to a Christian….who (SHOCK) also agrees with Cynic.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Actually, hate is the stock-in-trade of many religions. More people have been killed in the name of various gods than through all the major plagues of history.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeb

    ""Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown."

    A cleaver plan - label the following of the teachings and word of God as 'hate'. Many will probably buckle to this sort of pressure rather than endure the persecution for their faith. We love all people and all people are sinners, but don't ask us to defy God and bow before man's definition of what sin is. Those that endure to the end will be saved.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Jeb I'm not asking you to defy God. I'm asking you to give other people, who many not agree with your beliefs, the freedom to do things that defy your God.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Resting on the fence

    With two topics as taboo as gay marriage and religion, nothing good will come of this. I feel a Westboro Baptist protest on the horizon.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. Brian

    Does this really surprise anyone? Take every right-wing socially backward stance and I assure you that Chick-Fil-A endorses it.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tom-n-Va

    Oh well... no more chik-fil-bigot for me or my family!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
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