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. sickofitall

    I have been eating Mr. Cathy's food since he had the Dwarf House in Southeast Atlanta back in the mid fifties and will continue to do so when I want chicken. there is none better and the service is unsurpassed. The restaurants are the cleanest and best maintained in the industry and how he chooses to run his business and who he caters to is his business. His religion is not the issue, it is his feelings about the sacred bonds of matrimony which I share.

    July 22, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Donell Wilson

    Wheres CFA stance on these Priests who molest children? Haven't seen their comments on that. How about these God-fearing christians who quote, "Love thy neighbor", but hate everyone who doesn't look like them. Stick to chicken and shut the hell up!!

    July 22, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    I think its sad that stating and standing up for your beliefs makes you a bigot or hatemonger these days. Just because a CEO decides to live a christian lifestyle and admits it, all of a sudden he and his company become evil? Whatever happened to what makes this country great in the first place, which is everyone is open to think, believe and say what they want? Such diversity in thoughts, beliefs and Ideals brings a strength of growth not possible in other nations, yet we are still to busy trying to fight each other into being the same as everyone else.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Darlene

    Thank God for morals. We as a nation hate morals and call people with biblcals morals bigots. Take your views to God and see if He cares or will ever change for you. Hooray to chick-for la. We will eat there and my pray is for God to bless those who will continue to eat there with so much money that the haters will not be missed. Amen.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Glenn Stokes

    I thought the purpose of a business was to sell product and / or services, and make a profit. It seems stupid for any company to mix apples and olives. Religion, politics and chicken nuggets don't mix. If you want to preach religion, start a church. Otherwise shut up ya mouth and run da business as a business, not as a faux church.

    American Values are sometimes not parallel to religious values. American Values are that all 'men' are created equal, and although not stated by the country's founders it was to be inferred that everyone is also to be treated equally. It's OK to say male female marriage is your preference. And so live your life that way. Cast no stone onto how someone else wishes to live their life, especially when this has no relevance to your life.

    Everyone, live your own life, stop spending time thinking about how other people are living their lives. Life is short. All time spent thinking how other people should be living, or not living their lives is TIME WASTED.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darlene

    just mad they are married to the same wives. God is the Judge not you lol

    July 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Darlene

    America is a 3 star nation now because as a nation we are told to mind our own business. No we should not mind our own business. What and continue to sit by and watch our nation go down the drain. I dont think so. By the way he was interviewed and pursued about his views, and he spoke on them. Praise God for him not being a coward.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. hypatia

    Can't wait to see them join the graveyard of fast food failed.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      You may have to wait a while. Their growth has been quite impressive, and they're expanding both their number of stores and their geographic presence.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • PeterC

      Why is it that everytime someone openly supports traditional values e.g. marriage, the gay rights lobbygroups call it "hate". Do we not have the right to disagree anymore? There are no more hateful groups than those of the pro-gay lobby. Most of us live our lives based on biblical teachings and to openly express our support for those teachings we are labled as esposuing hate. These pro-gay lobby groups are getting really ridiculous.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      PeterD, I TOTALLY agree! Disagreeing is not hating, and it is an understatement to say how tired I am of hearing this rediculous, depserate accusation. THen do THEY hate US?, seeing as THEY also dare to disagree with US? I'm pretty sure most of us are past the 2nd grade here and ought to know how to agree AND disagree without hating. THanks for the remark!!

      July 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Em

    When Chik-fil-A's says it supports the "biblical definition of the family unit" does this mean it also includes slaves and concubines in that grouping?

    July 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Troll

    What really amuses me is that if you dare to not agree with the gay marriage advocates, suddenly you are a hater and a bigot. That is pure bull. This bloody country is built on disagreement. I personally think there are too many people having multiple children but that doesn't stop them from breeding. I personally think it is a crock of poo that my property tax bill shows 45% of my property taxes going to the local school district since I have no children. However I believe that if I don't pay it, there will be a lot of ignorant children growing up that think you are a hater just because you have a different opinion than they do.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      Very well said, Troll. You must be a good troll 😉

      July 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConjureChaos

      Unfortunately as a long as schools teach only to pass the SOL, we are still going to get ignorant child, thus ignorant adults; it is a vicious circle; Thankfully I went to school in the 60/70's when they still taught a student how to actually think and use one's brain instead of teaching how to be a parrot....but that's a whole other issue then agreeing to disagree about CFA....don't agree with Cathy and I really didn't eat there very often anyway: really good ice tea, though.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kev from the ATL

    F this company. I expect them to fire all the breeders living with their partners and not being married and the managers banging their employees behind their married partners backs. Gobble Gobble, or is it Cluck Cluck.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HappyForyYou

    hey, at least the man makes a stand for the Bible. Most people/pastors will dance around but not this man. the fact that he is a business owner! People who cant' stand up for the bible should not called themselves believers. Should not even be teaching the bible. Stand up for Christ!

    July 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUrEyes

      The evil ones at Chick-fil-A have spoken, let intolerance, bigotry, and hate fill their hearts, and while they claim to be true Christian's, they're really not and should join the bulk of the Southern Evangelists to spread their evil ways amongst their sheep.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nick

    Good for them. It's nice to hear of people who have their heads on right, and hold to what a real marriage is between, one man and woman.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. msm123

    Serioulsy? Full of hate? I heard no hatred in expressing their "belief". We are such a judgemental society; always ready to point the finger to someone! They expressed their "opinion"...Oh my! How dare they? I'll still be coming for my chicken biscuit. Oh, and I am an advocate for gay-marriage.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • noooseriously

      I appreciate your very rational comment. This entire situation has been blown completely out of proportion, and the representation of it by CNN doesn't seem reflective of the company's actual statement.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    I'm surprised cnn supports anti traditional family people. J/K. They spent lots of money pumping up rump romper AC. I for one will now eat more chik fil a.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:34 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