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. Cricket

    @Indorri – marriage was created by God between a man and a woman. I don't see anywhere in the Bible that a man married a man or a woman married a woman, because it was an abomination to God. It is unnatural. God blesses the union of man and woman.

    July 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipper

      Bible: Rough, but usable, single ply toilet paper.

      July 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    BRAVO! Charlie, Yet those who willfully sin, knowingly with malice and or disobedience to Gods laws, go forth, anyway to basically thumb their noses at what Jesus did for us, so that we might have everlasting life. Ya know? C'mon, most of us would be all over a person that saved our child from death... right?

    July 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bottylicious

    Regardless of your beliefs, its fricken chicken people. Get over it or don't eat it. I will still eat there and so will my trans sister and gay brother. I find it interesting that the two best fast food chains in the US are Christian owned. Chick-Fil-A and In-n-Out. Best quality food, highest pay and great benefits to all their employees, AND they treat every customer exceptionally well regardless of their beliefs (I don't remember them asking me mine when I bought chicken nuggets with my gay and trans friends), friendly service, and always consistent in high-quality. I commend the Owner for standing true to his personal beliefs and not backing down in a society where media likes to bully everyone into the most popular stance of the moment. The fact remains the chicken we eat there just tastes better than any other, and we are still going to eat there. You people who are getting so bent out of shape about this can go eat at Burger King – I hear they support Gay Marriage... I just hope none of their employees steps on your lettuce or spits in your food I(see latest news re: burger king lettuce).

    July 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ChickenLover

    Get over it, It is chicken people! If someone is going to boycott a business because the owner's beliefs – I challenge them to tell me the beliefs of the Owners of all the places they buy from. Don't know? ...yeah, that's what I thought.

    July 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • xfiler93


      July 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. xfiler93

    I plan to eat there more often now.

    July 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Reina

    The fact that people find Mr. Cathy's statements shocking is a joke. I'm not saying I agree with him but who honestly thought a Christian based companies president was going to feel any other way? That's like being shocked when a republican says they think Obama is failing America! You certainly don't have to agree with them and you can argue against it but don't act like you had no idea that was their view. Their are many other establishments to frequent so please feel free but I have a feeling for most people this guys views isn't some new revaluation. A few people all of a sudden "seeing this guy in a new light"...which again I have to say "REALLY...you didn't see this coming?!?"...anyway, them boycotting won't change his views or their food sales.

    July 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    They stay closed on Sundays because the Bible says to honor the Sabbath. The owners are "by-the-book" Christian. They are citing the Bible as their reasoning, we knew they were by-the-book, so their views are pretty predictable. I'm not agreeing with them or not, I'm just saying, this is not a suprise.

    July 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. koal'smom

    I for one don't understand why ppl think that if you disagree with them that means you hate them. I just don't get that. What is so hard about agreeing to disagree without becoming disrespectful and hateful about it? I am glad CFA is not afraid nor intimidated to stand up for what they believe in. I hold to the same beliefs, and I don't disrespect those who do not. If I have a place of business I frequent whose owner or workers are gay, I won't stop going there, or encouraging others to. Why all the hostility?

    July 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruffslitch

      Whoa, a comment full of common sense? Thank you for a breath of fresh air! "Agreeing to disagree." What a concept! Just because I don't want my son trained to grow up as a gay person does not mean I hate gay people. It means I don't like your behavior but whom you sleep with is your business. If you don't like Chic-fil-A's stance , don't spend your money there. Mr. Cathy is cool with that.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      My English professor in college said, "Intelligent people of goodwill will disagree with you." Too bad, as you point out, so many feel that to disagree with them is to hate or fear them.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. broker rebate

    I just like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and check again right here regularly. I am fairly sure I'll be informed plenty of new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

    July 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bray68

    I for one, am in COMPLETE concurrence with Chik-Fil-a's stance!

    July 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom Dowdell

    A persons thoughts regarding their faith are not considered discrimination in this country, other than by those who are out of touch with reality, like" Human Rights Campaign" and their ilk. However the bible does speak very clearly about the subject.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • FlyontheWall

      Its freedom of religion AND freedom from religion......religion for you is fine, but bible thumpers should have NO say in our society. I understand they have a right to be a bigot, but keep it to yourself, and stop meddling in our politics.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. rodroughshod

    I wonder if instead of opposing gay marriage, this company opposed interracial marriage. Wouldn't they be declared bigots filled with hate?

    "No, no. We don't hate them. We don't mind serving interracial couples, we just don't think they should be allowed to marry."

    I don't see how it's any different. Don't give me any bible garbage. This country was not founded on the bible.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • history lover

      Please take a moment to study some basic history. This country was absolutely founded on Christian principles! It was people who were fleeing from religious persecution that helped establish the colonies. The main founding reason our country came to be….so everyone could have the opportunity to worship God on Protestant beliefs. Maybe you should read a history book that hasn’t been replaced with the “politically correct history book for a separation of church and state public school”

      July 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ajay Patel

    Using religion as an excuse to be bigots. Typical behavior from so called "Christians" or should we call them..."Those people who are terrified that the World may progress towards becoming non-hating, tolerant, color-blind, race-less, philanthropic, and peaceful."

    July 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • history lover

      So as a Christian, if I oppose gay marriage I'm a bigot...are you for real? I am in no way discriminating against someone because I disagree with their lifestyle. Have I in any way trampled your rights? No, but you will say I am a hater because I disagree with it. That's crap and a coward's perspective. Don't you dare trash Christianity. No Christian based country is denying Gay men and Lesbians from openly practicing their lifestyle or writing laws that forbid it. However other countries with a strong Islamic and Hindu presence do. How interesting you would automatically point fingers to one religion and not another. Shame on you for YOUR bigoted mindset.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ajay Patel

    Being Gay in America can get you killed here too!

    July 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lucky

    God knows if you are a born again christian and God knows your thoughts,evil or good even if you hide in the closets. But he says once you have heard his word proclaimed you will know sin from good! You must then decide before it is too late to submit to Gods will, repent, be born again in baptism and go and sin no more.Failure to do this is sure to send you to hell!

    July 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
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