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. Mimi

    Again, they have a right to their beliefs. Every company has their set of values or beliefs. Now if I don't agree with them then I have a choice to shop there or not. For me, I will choose to support them in whatever way I can based on the fact that people are protesting against them for THEIR beliefs.

    July 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. veronica

    I am not sure hoe expressing your views in supposedly a free country spews hate. I will eat at Chick-fil-a not only becuase the food is good, but because they do not give into political correctness.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hez316

    The best way to voice your feelings against their position is not to purchase food there. My guess is sales will go up

    July 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CBear

    The interesting thing is how a firestorm gets started about this statement. The company has not implied refusal of service to anyone or any group of people. Has not stated or implied bias to adverse to any people group. That support of traditional(Biblical, I would add) marriage does not equate to hatred. Further, like it or not, marriage is God's idea. Beyond me why people who oppose God want in on it. Yes , I am a believer . I do not have hatred (for people)and believe that all posting have a right to express opinions. Civility should be the watchword.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hez316

    To voice your displeasure with their stance, don't give them business. If you concur with their position, give them your business. Pretty simple

    July 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CASD

    While I 100% disagree with Mr. Cathy's beliefs, as well as find his outward articulation of his beliefs a bad business move, I'm not not sure what the hub-bub is. I won't be giving him any of my business nor will I bring my familiy there. With that said, as a private company he really is free to state/do what he pleases on this issue–he just needs to deal with the results of such business decisions via school/mall contracts, etc. Why all the hub-bub? Lots of people are bigots, don't entertain their place of business–you're not changing this man's views.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • LastDinosaur

      The "hub-bub" is not just over Cathy's personal views. The restaurant's profits have been used to support anti-gay marriage groups. I am not immediately aware of any companies as large as Chik-fil-a that openly finance discriminatory lobbying.

      Without the hub-bub, people who would not knowingly support anti-gay rights groups might do so inadvertently by continuing to buy food from Chik-fil-a. Or Chik-fil-a might not get the message that customers are aware of the restaurant's political activities, and that such activities will drive away business. The hub-bub helps insure that the relevant facts about this company are on the table and can be responded to as consumers see fit.

      July 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      So my choice is to either go along with that portion of our population that sees gay marriage as perfectly acceptable, or be branded a hate-mongering bigot who refuses to catch up with the times?
      I respectfull decline those two options.

      Hate the sin, Love the sinner.

      July 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      It seems you are calling God a bigot and that's probably not the smartest thing you've done in your days. The Alpha and Omega is the same now as he was from the beginning. Following God's laws is very good business practice and letting your people off on Sunday isn't a crime!

      July 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. james

    Keep up the good work Dan !

    July 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linder

    I totally support their beliefs and practices and agree with Rob in that I have eaten there one tuesday night of the month for years and have seen plenty of gay people eat there, and none of us were treated any differently from the other. I will continue to eat at Chik-fil-a, and even may more so now that I know we share same beliefs. That's all it is people: a difference of opinion/belief system. Go find something else to feel sorry for yourself about....

    July 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. comcast fresno

    Somebody necessarily lend a hand to make seriously posts I'd state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this particular put up incredible. Excellent process!

    July 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Angie Brown

    BRAVO...Do not back down- God is in the midst and He will continue to bless you and your business Sin is sin and we MUST NOT buck under the talks of sinners.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. vics

    This guy has a right to run his business any way he wants, we all have a right to patranize it or not. Simple. But I do think he wants it both ways, he'll take anyones business and take their money all the while talking about his religious virtues because he closes on Sundays etc. But the question is, if gays are bad is their money bad as well? I assume that their are other groups that he is against as well, or at least his bible is. So why doesnt he just say, I dont want business from these kinds of people, what they are doing is wrong and their money is evil, or whatever. Why doesnt he post it in his shop windows, these kinds of people are discouraged from patranizing our establishments. Because that would be bad business and he would lose money right, no matter how principled he is that would be bad for the business. So I challenge the so called principled religious man and say, put your money where your mouth is, just list all the kinds of people that your think are bad, and tell them publicly, in your Bibal laced fast food places, I would rather not take your money. I think he is what he serves, chicken. I guess what Im saying is, just dont say were kind of Christian in our stores, that's just being weak, go all the way bud, put a cross up or something and say that you are a christian establishment. He would be well within his rights to do so, and then we would all have knowlege. Knowlege enough to make a decision based on our own beliefs. But this mand doesnt have the courage of his own convictions to do that, he will bask in the sunlight of his own self ritousnesshe, wait for the public to forget and then plan his resteraunt in P-town and not miss a beat. Because his real God is money, and if Im wrong, then man up buddy and get your chicken shacks out of the Christian closet.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willie Hou

      No where in the statement did he say Gays were bad people he said he did not agree with Gay marriage. Where is hate in that statement? It is time to launch a campaign to resist this perversion. Just because we disagree it does not equate to hate. The problem is Gay's are so messed up in the mind they need everyone to support this immoral lifestyle .. It won't happen. I am not sick Gay people are

      July 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. soozq

    So the complaint is that the company provided food for a seminar. I suppose customers know every donation that every retailer has made.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GradyPhilpott

    I've never eaten a Chick-fil-A sandwich and I never will, but I applaud the company's sticking to their principles. Christians are always attacked for being haters, but if you go through this and other threads like it, it's easy to see where the venom comes from.

    I would just invite people to vote with their pocketbooks. No one holds a gun to anyone's head and makes anyone eat anywhere.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Maria

    We don't have a Chick-fil-A around us, so when we got to eat at one, it was a treat. I stopped eating there over a year ago because I found out about the donations back then. Now that it has gone so public, I wondered how it would affect business. Just yesterday, we were at a mall with a large food court AND a Chick-fil-A. Normally the Chick-fil-A is backed up beyond belief with people waiting to order. Not yesterday! Very short lines and this was at lunch time, too. My friend and I ate elsewhere and I presume a lot of other people will be doing the same from now on.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Wow is all I can say. With everything that is going wrong with our society, this is the topic that has generated so much talk. Really people, look around, our country has fallen apart. No I'm not gay, and no I don't patronize any Chik-fil-a stores, but I think we need to start worrying a little more about our governments crooked ways to begin with.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
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