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. mikeithomas

    I guess I will need to eat here twice a day. Its great that Chic-fil-a has beliefs and stands behind them. Its not hate; its a choice. Just think what this world would be like if everyone thought like the Chic-fil-a organization; it would be heaven on earth. Keep up the faith.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. johnb

    half right half wrong. GODS laws are very clear on this. christians dont hate we pray. they cannot see because there blinded by the sin all around us .there minds are closed off because of there none belive in GOD period. open your heart repent before its too late for you to realizethese are the end times .everything around you is telling us to prepare for something we might have thought a long time off .its here pray ask GOD TO FORGIVE YOU TODAY and save your soul...................................

    July 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Todd

    I think the biggest point is missed in this whole article. The fact that Chic-Fil-A believes in a traditional family structure vs Gay Marriage doesn't make them discrimatory. All this does is state the integrity and morals of the upper echelon of leadership for the restaurant and that is there position that doesnt mean they would treat the individuals that they serve food to any differntly. I mean look at Spike Lee and his affiliation with the Black Panthers but does that stop people from watching his movies?

    July 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. squirk

    So Chick Fill It as a company supports only 'straight' marriage,,,look above them, below them, through them and around them to see life goes on as you take your restaurant dollars else where!! Would it be legal to not hire someone if they worked at a Chick Fill It?

    July 21, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ted

    They're not feeding Jesus to people, this is their personal belief and they have a right to it. The Gay community has a right to life the way that they want but can't expect the entire planet to jump on board with their personal choice to live a gay lifestyle. Saying you don't believe in the Gay lifestyle is not hate it's a moral belief and stance. The Gay Community needs to be content to live the way they want and not expect everyone else in society to agree with whatever they want. That's plain ridiculous and childish.

    July 21, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bo Allen

    Regardless of what people say about the "your stuck in the past mentality", God is and was the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God did not make another man to be a partner/companion for Adam now did he. The teachings of Christ did not say that you have to change with the times. I say, good for you Mr. Cathy, you may not have won a lot of votes, but that is not what Christianity is about, now is it?

    July 21, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      How can you make such a statement when "god" changes his opinion throughout the bible you revere?

      There is no God, no heaven. This life is all we've got.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I think both sides should avoid hate in discussing the issue, but the supporters of gay marriage also have plenty of hate of their own. As for me and my house, we're driving 30 miles today to eat lunch at our nearest Chick-Fil-A.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. reason

    The issue is not what they support or don't. It's the fact that they spent company money on a campaign for that purpose, dollars that were once in the pockets of people who don't support said campaign. I think it is a very good thing that they are at least open about it so that we are all that much wiser in choosing our dinners. I do have to say, I would be outraged to find out that the money I spent on food was being used for a political campaign, rather that spending it on higher quality food. Luckily for me, I don't eat fried chicken!

    July 21, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosco

      You said it: "spend THEIR money". SO what's the issue. Do they tell YOU how to spend YOUR money?

      July 21, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      I don't support abortion but yet I will have to pay for that via taxes thanks to the president.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • debr

      Really, you would be outraged to know that money you spent on food is used for a political campaign? Do you think that none of the businesses you patronize ever make a political contribution? Would you stop buying music CDs if you found out the artist was using "your" money to buy drugs, or imported cars, or supporting 5 ex-wives? Should the people who purchase your employer's products stop buying them because they find out that you use your paycheck to gamble and drink? The owner of a business is free to spend HIS/HER money any way they want. Once you spend your money on food, rent, cars, etc., it is no longer yours! Furthermore, Chick-fil-A sells more than fried chicken.

      July 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rosco

    Don't like it ? Don't eat there. The left rails against "corporations as greedy". But this company does it how they see fit and that's the American way. Not greedy but principled.

    July 21, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • behere

      The issue is the word "hate" bringing that word into the conversation helps bring Chick closer to being a labeled a hate group....HOWever they didn't use the word hate, they didn't like gay marriage so what I don't either, that doesn't make me hate people. I hope people see that politics is played here....

      July 21, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. George c

    Yea for them,If you don't like it don't eat there.That means a nice enjoyable meal for my family without having to explain to my kids why two guys or gals are in the corner making out.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Hurray, so you can continue your poor parenting in ignorance. Have fun raising your little insignificant drones.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Pittsburgh

      Who in the world makes out at Chick-fil-A? Have you ever seen two men, two women, or one of each making out there? I really doubt it.

      July 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jennifer

    While I don't personally agree with Chick-fil-A's stance, I give kudos to the company for not avoiding the question when asked. We need more companies who are honest about their fundamental beliefs. Yes, some will boycott; but that's their right.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. waves2622

    There is a difference between your religion not allowing gay marriage, and the political battle for gay marriage. If Dan Cathy just said Chick-Fil-A was against gays because they are Christian, then it would be okay, because that goes along with their image. Donating 4 million dollars to anti-gay organizations, however, is a political move. This is political religious discrimination, and is wrong.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Cynicsareneverhappy

      So what you just basically wrote was that YOU believe it is Religious Discrimination to be a Christian and Own a business, and Be Honest about your beliefs, and Give a portion of your profit to Charity. Wow, you completely scare me.

      It is a Free Country and last time I checked, that means Freedom of Worship and Beliefs, the pursuit of happiness, and Freedom to support a charitable organization that you believe is doing good in the world. If that is deemed wrong, then my friend, you should move to another Country. Maybe the Soviet Union would suit you more preferably.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      So what you are saying is that they are allowed to have an opinion, but they are not allowed to donate money to organizations who share their opinion.

      July 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sean jones

    This whole thing is ridiculous. Being against gay marriage doesn't make you bigoted.Just as being anti-war does not make u anti American. Look at the amount of causes Ben & Jerrys donates to. No one is blocking them from Boston. They are not saying gays can't visit their establishment. They support so called traditional marriage. as does over half the voting population last time I checked. The Boston mayor is out of his mind.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Matty

    I completely support Chick-fil-A.. My Lord has brought me and my fomer partner of eleven years out of this dark lifestyle which satan had lied to us about. It has been four years and Gods word is so true "Nothing is impossible for God" just allow the holy spirit to lead you and be prepared to follow Him no matter the cost. We can never ever go back!! Praise God I support Chick-fi-A ALL THE WAY!!!!

    July 21, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    As a Christian I continue to be amazed at how many people get so upset when we simply stand up for what we believe in. Many times I have seen other religions make statements that go against what a true Christian should stand up for, and the rest of the world see,s to be fine with that. However, when a Christian does so everyone has to talk about hate. It is not about hate it is about teaching about what the Bible teaches in regards to what the Bible teaches about behavior that goes against its teachings. In Romans 1:24-27 clearly teaches that this behavior goes against nature. However, we are still to treat them as human beings, and encourage them to seek out the truth. This is not a popular stance, but it is still the one that I must take, and appreciate Chic-fil-a for standing up for what they believe in.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Skipper

      It's because you act hatefully while claiming to follow the teachings of someone who espoused universal unconditional love and understanding. Organized hypocrisy.

      July 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gloria

    I am so proud that this company has taken a firm stance in this matter. It is not about hate; it is a fact about God's plan and purpose in the marriage of a man and a woman.
    God Bless

    July 21, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
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