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. maxsideburn

    Here's a crazy idea Chick-fil-A, keep your mouth shut and just sell $&*%in chicken!

    JUDGING PEOPLE IS NOT CHRISTIAN!! How do you people not understand that?

    July 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aesculapius

      journalists create the news by asking these questions of a fast food joint. what the hell does food and gender preference have to do with one another???

      July 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Actually it says Judge with a right standard, and don't judge without expective to be judged...I'm ready for judgement..are you?

      July 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Did he throw out that answer unsolicited?? No. He answered the question that was asked of him. He answered honestly and stated his convictions and beliefs. You not liking them means nothing in the end. You don't want to eat chicken from one place because of what they believe? I doubt that every single place you eat has management that believes exactly as you do – they probably just don't have the guts to actually voice how they feel (in fear of losing your money!)...

      July 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • little pister©

      I'm a gay chicken. Does that mean Chick Fil A won't kill me and bread me?

      July 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Grace

    Dan Cathy and his family did not say they hate gays. They said they are pro-marriage and believe marriage is intended to be between a man and a woman . The bible in Genesis teaches this in Genesis 1. In the New Testament, it is clear through Romans, that God doesn't approve of the lifestyle. However, that doesn't mean Christians hate gays; they just don't believe it is the lifestyle God ordained. Common sense tells us this lifestyle isn't the norm because two men or two women cannot create another human being. I know people who are gay and love them just the same. However, I believe marriage is for a man and a woman. What I find disturbing is the hatred and intolerance that is poured out on Christians by the gay community. We are accused of hate and intolerance and yet because we stand for our beliefs, we are hated and not tolerated.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    It's amazing to me that "hate" is the word used to describe this mans personal conviction. From reading the article, all the guy said was that he is for traditional marriage. The only people talking about "policies" are fanatics making up hate stories. And the intense vehemence that others here show towards the store based on the owners personal conviction is itself an indication of hate. What's sad is that so many people foment but forget to look at themselves in the mirror. I don't think some of them can even say Christian without screwing up their faces.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Diana

    Judge not least yea be judged..... just saying.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pedro

      "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

      Scripture assumes that Christians will make judgments.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Really

    For Pete's sake, does EVERYONE have to agree on everything? I am a Christian who believes in the business model this company has and support it 100%. They didn't say they supported killing people, they said they believe in what the BIBLE says. I have a gay daughter...she is getting married. I support her too. I WILL continue to eat at Chik fil A, they only voiced their opinion, EVERYONE has the right to do so and for idiot who didn't know their background, shame on you for not knowing "until now" what the Bible states the family unit should look like. If this is news to you that they are a solidly Christian company and believe in what the bible states to start with, your head is deeply in the sand. I support you, Chik fil A. Think I'll go through the drive thru now!

    July 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph D Sanderson

      In this sorry humanistic doctor ruth (if it fells good its ok world) chick fil a wil be blessed for the bosses correct stand .
      Tell the LGBT to preach the bull of civil rights and descrimination to the MUSLUMS, HINDOS, BUDDIST.
      Right on Mr Cathy the honest man.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mom of Three

      We'll get along just fine so long as you understand that those who disagree can take their money elsewhere. There's a boycott Chick-fil-a page on FB already, so this movement has only begun.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matthew Bradby

    Hey lets grow up and understand! CHICK FIL A NEVER SAID THEY HATED GAY PEOPLE...THEY JUST SAID THEY OPPOSED GAY MARRIAGE! Just because someone is against something you believe in doesnt mean they hate you or other supporters of what you believe...they are just making a mature stance that they are no pro-whatever! GOD GAVE US ALL THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT WE WANT TO...WE CAL IT FREE-WILL! EXCEPT IT, RESPECT THEIR CHOICE & MOVE ON! Hey I don't like mayo on hotdogs...doesn't mean I hate those that do it!

    July 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      I agree with Chick-fil-A for standing by their values. This is America we have the freedom to express our opinions. By the way, they never said I hate gays and by boycotting Chick-fil-A what point are you proving? Plus, Chick-fil-a will have to layoff employees due to a boycott. Think about it!!

      July 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • stacy

      so very well put

      July 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mom of Three

      Fine. I am hoping those who oppose Chick-fil-a will take their dollars elsewhere.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LMills259

    There was also a time when blacks were denied service and discriminated against in employment. They didn't choose their skin color; gays do not choose their orientation. In the case of race, business owners sincerely thought mixing races was morally wrong, and some quoted the Bible.
    Someday not too long from now we'll look at the gay issue the way we now clearly see the race issue.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMills259

      ...now having said that, this article does NOT say there was employment discrimination, only a statement of belief on the part of the owners. I'd really like more facts.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernie

      Why are evil gays so demented...you idiots were not born that way....you are gay by CHOICE! When a baby is born, you instantly can tell if it is white, black, asian, hispanic, a MR. or a Miss...its not a mistake which is what all gays are. The disgracefully disgusting wicked and horrific gay movement is such nonsense.....the gays are the hateful and the intolerant as they oppose anyone or anything that disagrees with their sinful CHOICE! I am now taking my family to Chick-Fil-A for a wonderful meal!

      July 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidT

      Gays certainly do choose their orientation. A person who cannot control their behaviors needs to be watched, studied and possibly secured in a facility to keep citizen's as safe as possible.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agree

      You said it best LMills259!

      July 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jessica M.

    Hey Carrie Underwood! Take notes! THis is how TRUE Christians stand up for God and the Bible!

    July 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. coolhead

    My question is if, being a Christian company, they will disallow someone from buying and eating too much of their food. The sin of gluttony is also a sin, right? Hey, if you are going to take the moral high road then you can't be selective with the "sins".

    July 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Chick-fil-A is within their rights to communicate their religious views, just as to our people within their rights to boycott this chicken joint because of their stance. Personally, this won't change my decision to buy a chicken sandwhich from this place. I certainly disagree with their decision to publically comment on this, given that it could impact franchisees bottom lines. It's simply irresponsible by their President, but I cannot discriminate against all franchise locations because of what one company Exec said.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pokadot

    Would someone please give me a definition of "HATE"? Is it someone who has a differing viewpoint of my beliefs? If so, we all hate and are hatemongers. Please let's get real, just because someone has a different viewpoint of marriage than you do, doesn't equate them as being a hatemonger. Gays have a different viewpoint of marriage than people who believe it is between one man one woman, does that mean we should say they are full of hate? Please let's all accept the fact that we have different viewpoints and calling each other names isn't going to make the situation any better.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tams

    I prefer my chicken without a side of intolerance. I think I'll eat elsewhere.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Way to go Chick-fil-a. I appreciate your willingness to stand up for Biblical morality. Despite all the negative, hateful remarks that will come your way, please continue to support christian values, it is refreshing!!! Kudo's as well for the way that your business is operated. Everyone that I have ever been in is clean and the staff friendly and helpful. I even see managers regularly cleaning tables! What a great ethic. We wish you well and will support your organization for both your business model and virtues. Sincerely

    July 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TiminATL

    As Mr. Cathy said, it's a family-owned business. There are no franchisees. So, you won't affect the local owner-operators that much with a boycott. But, just as the Baptists boycott of Disney didn't accomplish much, nor will this boycott. BTW, there are hundreds of gay CFA employees and tens of thousands of gay CFA customers. I know the manager of perhaps their most important restautant whose son is gay. It is well-known and he is well-loved by CFA people. CFA also opposes divorce and infidelity. They actually live out their religion in a loving, peaceful, way yet hold counter-cultural values that cost them money. If they opened on Sunday, the would make 100 times more money than any boycott will accomplish. But they turn down the almighty dollar because of their beliefs. How refreshing!

    July 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glad

    Props to this CEO for being real. Its going to affect his company though cause these days the media is pushing for butt takers and its the cool thing now. Butt Takers do your thing but just keep it away from me thats nasty.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
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