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. Corn hole

    But what is their stance against the diarrhea caused by waffle fries?

    July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CP109362

    Predicted outcome of the gay lifestyle from a Darwinist perspective: EXTINCTION

    Obviously, Mother Nature is a HateMonger..

    Boycott all natural products.
    Boycott our National Parks.
    Don't breathe.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Is bigotry more palatable if you call it a lifestyle?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mr. Lowe

    I think people are going WAY too far here. I bet there are many LGBT folks who could care less about what Chick-Fil A thinks and are still going to buy those chicken tenders and a strawberry malt shakes.
    As a Christian, I'm going to keep buying them too...and if a homeless guy who happens to be gay walks up in need of a little change for food...I'm buying him some chicken tenders too.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David B

    But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord WellDone Chick-fil-A

    July 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cricket

    As the parent of a gay child I am very disturbed by some of the comments.
    I am a person of the Christian Faith and I have always supported Chick-Fil-A.
    Scary thing for me is I recognize some of my own 'ramblings' and 'christian love' in some of the comments here. One of my personal favorites is 'we love gay people we just do not condone their lifestyle or gay marriage".
    So what we are saying is I 'do not hate' you ...however you are less than I and you do not deserve the same rights that I deserve....Also,we can pick and choose certain scripture to say that GOD does not approve of..... all the while living in our own less than perfect life and overlooking the things GOD speaks against that you are involved in....haughtiness (thinking you are better that others) gluttony, hatred, liars, adulterers...well as you can read...I am now an angry mom and that puts me a little on edge. Sorry. I pray to never become what I am so opposed to. People please pray about your way of thinking. We can CHANGE thank God I know I have. Just remember the soap box you are on today because you have fear...might just be the one you fall off when someone you love tells you they are gay. From a mom who has exhausted the ideas and now is all in for my child!! Peace and Love.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      @chicken: Thanks, wonderful post!

      July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      Oops! @cricket, not @chicken LOL

      July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill Myron

    The only way for sin and cultural perversion to spread is for good men to be silent. Do not fear the perversion purveyors Chick-Fil-A, but fear him to whom you must give an account for your life. Lord bless

    July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Apparently, some people just want to be subservient to a supposed judge.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill M

    The only way for sin and cultural perversion to spread is for good men to be silent. Do not fear the perversion purveyors Chick-Fil-A, but fear him to whom you must give an account for your life. Lord bless

    July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. marcus

    While I agree that this is america and the chik fil a folks have a right to believe what they want, I will exercise my american rights and no long support a company that vocalizes their bigotry. Its their right and its my right. Chicken is nasty anyway.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who cares?

      We get it CNN. You are OBSESSED with gays but the rest of us ARE NOT. A private business has the RIGHT to conduct business how THEY choose. If they stand for certain values, it should not YIELD to fit the world's declining morality, otherwise it is NO LONGER A VALUE SYSTEM! GET IT?

      July 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Freedom

    we live in a free country and have the right to express our opinions. to be opposed to gay marriage DOES NOT mean you are full of hate and are a gay basher. for those who stand up for the beliefs and are courageous enough to voice their opinions, ROCK ON! i couldn't care less about gay marriage. THERE ARE SO MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY. gay marriage is not on my list of issues. i respect people and try not to judge anyone. I admire Chick fil A for having the balls to voice their opinion. i mean we did go to another county and bomb them to spread freedom, right? FREEDOM OF SPEECH LIVES ON!

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

    The only thing worse than plain old hate, is hate couched in religous doctrine. If you're going to be a bigot, then own it!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakhill

      Just curious – but exactly why is it that if one does not believe in gay marriage, it automatically means they are hate-mongers, filled with hate, spewing hate, filled to the brim with hate, hate-filled bigots, etc etc etc. Exactly when, in this country, did having a differing opinion suddenly mean that by having that opinion you are consumed with hate? I found reading the comments here quite the illustration of something that has gone very wrong in this country. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a differing world view – but there is something VERY wrong with any one group claiming that any other group that does not agree with them must be filled with hate simply because they have completely differing view/opinions.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      I think abject stupidity is worse than bigotry. Apparently, freedom of expression is permissible one way, but not the other. And how does Sundays off, and opposing an alternative lifestyle translate into "hate?" Get off your computer and read a book.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. InDisbelief

    Looks like one of my posts didn't make it or was deleted.

    Our Soldier's have put their lives on the line so we can keep our FREEDOMS. If they don't dictate how we need to live that life or use those freedoms, what gives anyone else the right to do that?

    GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    Chick-Fil-A has as much right to spend their money or say what they want as anyone else.

    It seems to me gays want the right to live as they want. You have for a long time. You are nothing more than BULLIES.

    If someone doesn't agree with your lifestyle or believe what you believe then you protest and cause them problems and try to shove your beliefs down our throats. We are just as free to live as WE choose as you are to live as YOU choose.

    Don't like what Chick-Fil-A believes in, simply DO NOT EAT THERE! Easy enough right? Why make such a production out of it?

    Chick-Fil-A can spend and donate their money wherever they want to just as you do.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SS

      Because corporations are people too

      July 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mjack2

      one thing I notice is that Liberals tend to ask what is best for me. conservative ask what is best for society.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • geeky

      I think smart business owners realize that alienating entire segments of their customer base is bad for business. Chick Fil A is successful because they do one thing, and they do it better than anyone. They should stick to that, and not start wading into political issues.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Open Minded

    I go to Chic-fil-A for chicken–not marriage. I have many gay friends who also enjoy chicken there without persecution. We are served and work daily with people who have beliefs that may be different from our own. I recall this diversity as something that makes the world go round.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CSC

    Frequently when a public figure takes an extremely righteous stand on a moral issue, s/he ends up being exposed for the hypocrite that s/he is. Let's wait a few years and see if Chik-Fil-A 's management follows suit.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gotta love it

    You've gotta love it.. if you don't believe that gays are better than everybody else and deserve extra rights and special treatment.. you're viewed as evil.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • better?

      Nobody is saying Chick-Fil-A should believe gays are "better" than everyone else. Gays are DENIED the rights that non-gays are given. Wanting EQUAL treatment under the law from one's government is not asking for SPECIAL treatment, it's asking for the SAME treatment!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. arguenot

    So, Chik Filet is in support of a traditional family, and immediately the Liberal Left declares this is hatred? Really? So freedom of opinion is ok, as long as it goes the way you want, if not, you must be a bigot.
    Well guess what, there are plenty of us who do not agree with gay marriage, but that doesn't mean we are hate mongers.
    Civil ceremonies and legal procedures can confer all the rights of a married couple, so why this need to demean and abuse a religion in attempt to forcibly obtain what is against the very belief system you claim to despise?
    And amazing how the Christian bashing is seemingly ok with those who call others bigoted and hateful.
    Thank you for standing up for what you believe in Mr. Cathy.
    My family loves this restaurant, and will continue to happily spend our money here.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      arguenot, you said "Civil ceremonies and legal procedures can confer all the rights of a married couple". You're saying a gay couple in North Carolina can have all the benefits that a hetero married couple has? What evidence do you have to back that statement up?

      July 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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