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. Minge

    And who is standing up for all those dead chickens?! Genocide!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DPDinDC

    Glad to see the crappy chain can be kicked out of Boston due to thier hate.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tox

    rare biblical courage in today's world for a business. those opposed – i certainly respect your right to express your own opinions. freedom of speech is a wonderful thing!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Heather Everett

    @Aimee – how exactly do you reason that someone (like myself) that chooses to no longer patronize Chick-Fil-A because of recent revelations is doing so "out of hate?" I don't hate the company for their beliefs, I do not believe as they do and I do not agree with how they have chosen to use their profits which my purchases would help support. How exactly is this hate? Would you continue to support a business that you discovered was actively promoting a belief that you did not hold and furthermore was providing financial support for organizations that promoted those beliefs?

    Sure, there are people out there who will stop going to Chick-Fil-A simply because they hate Christians...but let's be honest here, there will be folks who start going simply because they hate gays. BUT, I don't believe that the majority of people who make decisions to eat or not eat Chick-Fil-A after this will be doing so because of hate of one group or another.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cudo-to-Chik-fil-A

    Cudos to Chik-fil-A for standing firm on their values. Not supporting or endorsing the gay lifestyle IS NOT bigotry nor is it being hate mongers. If we are a "Christian" nation then we should not condone or accept those things which God calls sin. We can and must do this without being hateful, but be earnest and committed in our effort to keep sin out of our culture! Our country would be much better if we would simply adhere to the biblical principles upon which it was founded!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayNYC

      If we are a "Christian Nation" then where does that leave us Jews? Oh right, as a MINORITY. And damn to he11 the rights of the minorities!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pastormason

    In his first year, Obama offered the gay community "civil unions" which would have given them the same exact rights as married couples. They rejected it because of the wording and the press buried the story. Many Christians, like myself, are in favor of civil unions. Who is holding back the rights at this point of the dialogue?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      pastor: because separate-but-equal is NOT equal. offer marriage licenses to straights, you have to offer them to gays. why is that so hard to understand?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave Huntley

    "Wesley Vinson
    @TheEvilWesley It's Chick-Fil-A not Adam-Fil-Steve. #rejectedchikfilAsloagans

    CNN – was that appropriate to post on a national website?? Does Vinson-fil-his wife? I mean this is just purtrid commentary from a moron.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MikeUSMC99

    Ok, because they don't think gay is ok they are "filled with/spreading hate?" Get over yourselves.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      sort of implies that gay is a choice, doesn't it, sparky?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PittUSMC

    I will definitely eat at Chick-Fil-A more. We need more likeminded people to fight the oppression from our biased propaganda government and media. God Bless Chick-Fil-A. Revelations says in the end, people will serve either Jesus' Army or Satan's Army. Satan the great deceiver has all these gays and their supporters fooled that just because it feel good it is not a sin. Adultery and incest may feel good to some people too. They are all still sins.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • justharried

      "We need more likeminded people to fight the oppression..." What oppression – the oppression of Christians? 1) Most Christians choose to focus on NOT JUDGING OTHERS, not singling out a group of people and support the denial of their civil rights, and 2) last time I checked, Christmas was a national holiday. Oppression – please! The comment was clearly made by someone who has never been oppressed in their life, AKA a straight white male.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      If the churches want to discriminate in a (legal) manner they feel is pleasing to their god, have at it. Government cannot do that, due to the 14th amendment. Without a government license, church weddings hold no legal standing.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ED

    Chick-fil-A. They do have good chicken for sure! But I have to say that I've never seen so many obese people than at those restaurants. Sure I love deep-fried chicken too. But sitting in the dining room and watching fat folks waddle to their tables with 2-3 chicken sandwiches, a large order of waffle fries and a giant diet Coke to wash it all down was disgusting. My wife and I keep fit and exercise regularly, so we can afford to eat junk once in a while. But we counted that at least 75% of the patrons in the Chick-fil-A we visited were at least 20 pounds overweight. It was really sad. I don't think that Chick-fil-A's typical customer is all that smart anyway, seeing how they just keep shoveling fried chicken down their throats without any thought to their health. I kept on thinking about how much of my health care premiums will go to treating these fat folks for their own, self-inflicted health problems. I felt dumb just being in the restaurant, and now the bull about "family values". I won't go there again.
    Chick-fil-A customers could use a few less visits to the restaurant and a few more to the gym!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • InDisbelief

      @ED: You can find that in almost ANY restaurant. Your point?

      July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dale

    My family and I will continue to support Chik Fil-A. They have done nothing wrong in expressing their beliefs and they continue to serve whoever walks through their door. Stop making this a big deal,shut your pie-hole and just eat the damn chicken or dont eat it.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jumping Jack Flash

    We if all the people that are mad about this don't go back to Chick-fil-A, then there will be one more seat for somone else to sit down. Funny how gay's can stress what they believe but are not open to others. And the media blowed this out on purpose. They probed him for the reaction becasuse it makes news. If you don't like don't go! simple as that. If you like to food then go. stop dwelling on stupid stuff people. Chic-fil-a rocks and it is hands down the best fast food anywhere.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      You must have been in a fried fast food induced coma when you posted this. Grammar check, party of one??? You BLOWED this one. hahahahahahahaha!

      July 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck Nasty

      I love to foods all time.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chuck Nasty

    Completely unrelated to gay marriage, I think Chik-Fil-A's chicken sandwiches are totally crappy.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rebba Goehrig

    Thank you! Thank you for you supporting the belief that a marriage is between a woman and a man. I cannot believe that Obama endorsed gay marriages. It is scary that our world has come to this. I admire and thank your company for being closed on Sunday to let the Christians attend their respective churches. I will always support your company.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      rebba: how would chick-fil-a's opening on sundays prevent people from worshipping at their chosen church?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. G.Jones

    Disagreement with conservatives = open-mindedness; Disagreement with liberals = hate mongering.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      G. Jones: In only one of those instances are people being denied equal rights under the law.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
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