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. pjoe

    I will definitely be enjoying more of Chick-fli-a's fine food. Tired of getting bullied by the gay agenda at CNN.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tdfish

    I much prefer to do business with companies like Chick-fil-a that try to live up to Christian values. Sometimes I have little choice and I end up stuck with what is available, but I support companies like that when I can.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. marion barnes

    Sorry, but two men such not be allowed to marry...Having said that, it is not my place to judge them in any way just because I disagree with gay marriage. The law should allow a "Civil Union" between the two so that they might have the same secural prividges as a married couple, but it is NOT marriage...it is a legal union. Everyone has an opinion. Just don't force upon someone else. They have a right to their opinion too, and you're both probably wrong.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hear Ye

    It will be a refreshing change to sit down to a tasty meal of fried chicken at a restuarant and NOT have to overhear some defective rainbow glitterboy tell his silly 'coming out' story. We just don't care. You are Mother Nature's Little Mistake, now get over it and leave the rest of us alone.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hear Ye

    It will be a refreshing change to sit down to a tasty meal of fried chicken at a restuarant and NOT have to overhear some defective rainbow glitterboy flamboyantly tell his silly 'coming out' story. We just don't care. You are Mother Nature's Little Mistake, now get over it and leave the rest of us alone.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    As a gay man I for one do not take offense to what Mr. Cathy said. He has every right to belive in what he wants. I for one do not believe in God or religious organizations. My belief is that the church is just another form of organized crime, they scare people into giving them money to protect them from something nody has ever seen and they do not pay taxes on all their stolen money. So let all the bible thumpers say what they want, it is a free country, especially for organized crime. aka the church.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Meat is Murder

    The bigger issue is that much of what Chick-fil-A serves, six days a week, is not worth eating. Does anyone know where these chickens come from, what they were fed, how they were raised, or how they were turned into sandwiches?

    Just try to find something healthy and plant-based at Chick-fil-A–carrot-raisin salad? Fruit cup? Whatever your opinions on the whole gay marriage thing–don't eat at Chick-fil-A if you value your health!

    July 23, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. Phil

    I love the statement about "anti-LGBT policies." Michael Cole-Schwartz is a moron. Dan Cathy was asked about a facet of his Christian beliefs. He was not making a statement about corporate hiring or HR policies at Chic-fil-a. The facist, politically motivated, propagandist spin machine that is the gay rights community needs to get a grip and stop telling people what they should think...or eat.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jam

      Thank you! He actually never said ANYTHING anti-LGBT. All he said is that he supports the traditional family. I'm going to purposefully eat at Chik-fil-a more because of a man standing up for his beliefs WITHOUT attacking others in the process. Rare and exemplary.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles in Des Moines

      Same goes for the Christo-taliban that wants to impose their dogma on us all. I will gladly continue to leave you to your mythology, once you and yours stops trying to impose it on me. I love my partner of 14 years, and we are very happy to be married now thanks to Iowa for three years.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. justplaindumb

    What does this have to do with chicken?

    July 23, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jordan

    If I had 1 Million dollars to donate it would go to Chick-Fil-A just for this reason! I do NOT support gay marriage!

    July 23, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      jordan: well, work to get a million dollars and then get back to us on that

      July 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wcatesjr

    Tolerance is not Acceptance. Tolerance is “I put up with...” Acceptance is “I approve of...” There are things that I tolerate that I will never approve of. I often have a problem with some who promote tolerance whose true motivation is only to seek approval and then in turn calls it an issue of hate ! ! The only hate, rage , and furry gonig on here are going on in the hearts of those who can't get everyone's stamp of approval.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • MM

      Why would you tolerate what you don't accept?

      July 23, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • wcatesjr

      It's an issue of definition. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Many Americans believe that is a contridicting statement. Some conservative Christians would frown on me saying "tolerant".

      July 23, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. noman1234

    chic-fil-a or no chick-fil-a that is the question

    July 23, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. milkandnico

    Dan Cathy can feel any way he wants. This is a free country. I have nothing against gays and I don't care if they get married. Again, it's a free country. I like or dislike whatever I want. That is my right as a free citizen. As long as Chick Fil-A's hiring practices comply with the law then it's owners and employees can feel however they want to about whatever they want. I hate small minded prejudice but I hate groupthink even more. Don't tell me what I need to think or feel. It's none of your effin business.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • kayrozmahm

      Finally a voice of reason!

      July 23, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    I liked Chick-Fil-A before, I really do now!

    July 23, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mork

    This is exactly why companies should not espouse politics. Nor should actors.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
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