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. marina roberson

    gay people want too much- love each other go thru a marriage if you want but stop ramming this gay rights down everybodies face we have a lot more important things to worry about–education for american students–people who do not even know english are out performing us students on most test==gay people who are book smart do some tutoring stop worrying so much about being gay we know you are gay now do some positive gay rights stuff for someone else like our kids

    July 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bethany Stump

    I am so proud of him. There is nothing hateful, prideful or erroneous about what he said. Just Biblical truth. That is admirable coming from a successful business man risking his family business for the sake of speaking out what he believes in a world that scrutinizes every Christian statement. God bless you!

    July 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Magic Jew

    LOL "Christian beliefs."

    More like a bunch of bi9ots selectively interpreting ancient mythology to coincide with their preexisting hatred.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    It's too bad – I like the food – but I know I'll never eat there again.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Yes, I agree Cynic. Christians, especially those from the American south, have made hate an art. They're no better than the Talabin.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    He is free to espouse his "Christian" values. He is free to teach intolerance, separation, exclusivity – all good solid "Christian" values.

    I am free to no longer eat there and make my friends very aware of where they are putting their money if they eat there.

    It's a free country.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. StirThePot

    CNN - you are stirrin' the pot; creatin' the controversy; - you are bringing politics into every corner of our lives. I'm sick of it. Btw, this comment doesnt mean I agree or disagree with the fast food place.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • opetrenko

      I appreciate the sentiments but this article is reactions to many reactions that have already taken place.

      Additionally I will say poitely and respectfully that if someone is not gay they certainly have no business butting into the affairs of people who do identify themselves as gay.

      Marriage may have both secular and religious ties but religion has no business dictating the secular civil aspects of how marriage works. A church does not have to perform a ceremony for a gay couple. By the same token, our legal system is under no obligation to honor one particular religion's definition ignoring all the others. Plenty of churches support gay marriage as well as oppose it. The whole point of religious freedom is that the government is not supposed to take sides based on a "majority religion".

      Bottom line to all of you "family values" people. Tolerance is above and beyond a very important value especially with extended family when it comes to getting along. Live your life how you choose and stop telling other people how to live theirs. Gay people are not demanding marriage be defined ONLY as a gay couple, but you are so convinced you are right that you are demanding the equivalent definition.

      You do not HAVE to be gay and they do not HAVE to be straight. Mind you own business.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NP

    All Chick-fil-A said was they believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and they support traditional definitions of family. How does having a different belief equal "hate"? These days it seems the only people who are supposed to have the right to say what they believe are those who are against that. And, by far the hate-filled comments seem to be coming from those in the gay community. What ever happened to freedom of belief? Is there only freedom for the gays, but not for others?

    July 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      So do you thing that it was still just expressing one's belief in the 50's when blacks were segregated just because of their skin color? If a company didn't support interracial marriage were they just expressing their beliefs? It's been known that Chick-fil-a has given money to anti-gay marriage rallies before. It's fine for people to have their beliefs, but I personally think its wrong to discriminate. I can't understand having a belief that hurts others. I think 50 years from now people will look at this as another black spot on the history of the U.S. People will wonder, "How could we have been so stupid?".

      July 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kip

    The company, by donating millions to anti-gay groups/legislators, is asking for a specific group of people to be discriminated against based on their orientation. Mr. Cathy's comments about "family" almost make me laugh. Where does he think a gay person comes from?????

    July 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Betty

    Mr. Cathy was just sharing his view on marriage. He believes in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. He didn't say he hated anyone, he was just stating that one belief. Everyone jumps into this statement with hate and saying he hates people just because they are gay. He didn't say that.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobbi

    now the lines won't be as long since the gays and people who support gay marriage won't be in them

    July 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aesculapius

      i doubt the health conscious lgbt community was eating that crap anyway. whole foods salad bars are where you can find them

      July 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Problem is the double-standard out there. My company asked it's employees to march and support the Gay Pride parade. Okay, fine. However, they rejected helping a homeless shelter that directly houses and feed people because it is run by a church. Ridiculous. Christians ought to just take a week off from volunteering and when we experience the pain in this country, maybe people would smarten up.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thanks, bible belt

    This goes to you, American south:

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    "If it weren't for Christians, I'd be a Christian."

    July 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • me777

      No one invited you to the American South. We like it this way. So if you don't like Christians and family values – stay away.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve1

    "'We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit...' Cathy is quoted as saying."

    "Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives." (Judges 8:30)

    "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands." (Ephesians 5:22-24)

    Personally, I think that definitions need to be updated on occasion.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. N&W 1000

    I will be buying lots and lots and lots and lots of Chick Fil A.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      When the Bible refers to the body as the temple of the Lord, I don't think it had in mind loading it with fried food.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm | 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