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. Adam and Eve

    Thank God someone in cooperate America finally stood up for their good moral beliefs! I proudly share the same beliefs and those beliefs will not waiver. I refuse to turn my back on God's word just to be politically correct! Hell no! Marriage is between man and woman and no amount of name calling or social peer pressure will ever force me to think other wise. Chik-Fil-A you have a loyal customer in me! God Bless you!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. johnnysalami

    I'm not eating a Chick-Fil-Gay sandwich until I find out what's in the secret sauce.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. barbara porter

    Hats off to Dan Cathy, I will buy a meal from Chick Fil a every day!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    It's hilarious to me that if you don't agree with the GLBT stance you're a bigot. Why can't it just be that we agree to disagree. They never said they weren't welcome in their restaurants, they simply said they believe marriage is between a man and a woman. How is this bigotry? Because they don't believe what you believe?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      Agreed. No matter how hard they try to force it, (the media) the MAJORITY of people the world over are disgusted by gay marriage and the unnatural gay lifestyle CHOICE. Sorry folks, its pure fact.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SS

    Funny how Christians think they have sole ownership over morality and ethics

    July 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jan Griff

    I'm happy to know that those beliefs are part of their corporate culture. Because now I can truly make a choice. As much as I like Chik-fil-A, I will never purchase another product. I vote with my dollars and any company that espouses a belief that I don't agree with, I no longer patronize their establishment. I don't think there is anything wrong with people expressing their beliefs, I just think it's foolish to not expect there to be consequences. I've always admired their belief that their stores should be closed on Sundays, it never occurred to me that it would also mean that they believe that everyone shouldn't have equal rights. Too Bad.... Lots of other places to choose from though.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. geeky

    What the President of the company believes personally is his own business, but if his beliefs on gay marriage or gays in general shape his business practice in ways that are discriminatory toward gay employees or customers, those of us who speak with our wallets should think twice before patronizing Chick Fil A.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joanie

    I have started going to Chick Fil A but no longer patronize Target and JC Penney as they cater to gays.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Haha Cater to gays! How do you cater to gays? Like we are less of a human than you? If you are going to insert a comment atleast have a real thought. Go to your book and scroll through till it tells you how to reply to this comment. I'll wait. Its funny how supporters of this company are hiding behind a book. The very book that discriminates against those that don't follow the book until there is a large enough group of people that will stand against it. Do you need examples? I mean I'm guessing your a female. Shall we regress our society and go back to when you didn't have rights? When females weren't equals? As a gay male I would have more rights than you. That is what your supporting. But I'm only asking for equal right to legally marry the one I love. There was a time when you didn't even have the right to vote and now you use your vote to limit another persons rights? And you don't call that hate? Wow. You should be really proud of yourself!

      July 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ninjaguy

    I am suddenly hungry for chik-fil-a

    July 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BobZemko

    I really wish that bigoted people would keep their opinions to themselves. I couldn't care less what this guy thinks.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Guest

    The Gay and Lesbian Lobby are the ones in power of this country now. Unless you abide by their "ethics" you might as well move out of the US. Nice knowing you Chick-Fillet-A

    July 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Christie

    I eat at Chick Filla because I like their food. I shoppe at home depot because I want things for my home. One supports traditional marriage, one doesn't. If you ban or boycott every single business based upon what they support, you will have to leave the world. I know people who won't buy Levi's, shoppe at Home Depot or other places. But they will sure eat a great meal or buy a cookbook from somebody that does not agree with their view or lifestyle. It is insanity really.
    I agree with Chick Filla about Traditional marriage but frankly, I don't know what that has to do with chicken. 🙂

    July 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • PETER

      People that talk about "hate speech" are trying to take away other people's first amendment rights. Up your nose with a rubber hose!

      July 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    You keep on going Chic-Fil-A!! I'm glad your not backing down. I feel the same way and try to avoid businesses such as Home Depot, Coca Cola, etc. that support the gay agenda.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Maria

    I support Chik-fil-a about their christian values. I'm going to eat there more now. Chik-fil-a you have won a new customer.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Get that greesy fast food girl friend! Support that bible and treat your body like a temple! Shoot. Go on with your bad self and pick and choose what part of the bible you wish to follow. What ever helps you sleep at night!

      July 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barrence

    I have never really been a customer of Chick-Fil-a, but I am now. I believe we need to take a stand against the new "thought control Nazis."

    July 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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