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. Kay

    Here's the thing that my family keeps arguing with me about, but logically you have to admit that it's true. Just because you believe that what someone is doing is wrong, or you disagree with them, doesn't mean that you hate them and are bigoted. My stance is that it's an opinion, everyone has a right to their own. The perception of bigotry and societal appropriateness is determined by history, and it fluctuates on a moment by moment basis. That's the nature of reality. What is accepted today by society may not be accepted tomorrow. Immorality is subjective. Cathy is firm on his belief and has a right to be firm on his belief, whether or not I agree with him. The question to be asked is whether in spite of their beliefs, is the company able to function without being discriminatory?

    July 24, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      Well said...
      It's amazing that in this counrty of "free" speech, the ability to decide your own religious beliefs, and the supposed support for even opposing views is so reduced by one statement. Oh but of course...like so much else in the world we have this hyprocracy; you can have free speech as long as you agree with me. If you don't then naturally you are a bigot or hate monger or worse. Every person (company) has the right to it's own opinion. So you don't agree...it's your right.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. ne

    What am I missing here? Don Cathy did not say that he hates lgbt's. He just said he believes in traditional marriage. He is not condemning gay marriage. There is no meta-message. People are reading something that is not there.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Becca Burton

    I think the issue here is that a lot of the money from the franchises goes to programs that do condemn gay marriage which is the issue not the fact that Cathy believes a certain way.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. a commandment keeper, all10 of them

    How is being closed on Sunday's a testament to being a Christian? According to the bible and Jesus Himself the Sabbath is the seventh day, not Sunday. God never blessed, sanctified or made holy any other day. Genesis 2:3, Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 4:16, Hebrews 4:8-11 and Revelation 22:14

    July 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • l

      Because they go to church on Sunday.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. biloxiboi

    It should all be called "marriage". If you want marriage to be defined in the Biblical sense, then call it Holy Matrimony.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. talbet

    Life ain't easy for a boy named Cathy.

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

    You all are sick. Just because someone has a belief that is different than "main stream" does not make a personal a hater. They have the right to believe what they want as you do.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. OOO

    "Just wanted to say I'm proud that you stand firm in your beliefs."

    Never mind that those beliefs are outdated and wrong, the most important thing is to stand by them and NEVER change your mind, even in the face of mountains of evidence.

    Now that is something to be proud of, right? 🙁

    July 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • hatemonger

      mountain of what evidence? for such a small minority of the public, gays sure do make for a large vocal... if you don't fall in line, you are shouted down as a hateful bigot. oh the irony.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kennith

      And what evidence would that be? Not a single religion has been proven wrong yet.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Injustice

      That's the definition of faith.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • haremettle

      There are no "mountains of evidence." Just because people say that somethings outdated and wrong, doesn't mean it is. Good for Chick-fil-A. It's about time someone had the integrity not to suck up to the politically correct juggernaut that is anything but correct.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • What evidence do you have?

      What evidence, other than your beliefs, do you have that Chik-Fil-A's beliefs are wrong? I'm curious to see what this "mountain of evidence" holds for the unenlightened. Perhaps you refer to the sheer number of people who believe as you do. Is that evidence or just like-mindedness? If numbers equate to evidence, I think the numbers are not on your side.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael

    Obviously Mr. Cathy is an idiot! Plain and simple! How many Gays and Lesbians work at his restaurants around the country do you suppose? Quite a lot I would imagine! Also, the company is based in Atlanta which should tell you a lot about his business and his backwards ass thinking!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • FormerEmployeesMother

      Excuse me??? I was born and raised in Atlanta and I support everyone's right to fair and consistent treatment. People from all over the country and with all beliefs make Atlanta their home. Elton John has a part time home here...perhaps you should visit Atlanta and see for yourself before making such judgemental statement..

      July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • FreeThinker147

      Yeah it probably isn't such a good idea to leave an ignorant response calling someone out for their ignorant thinking. You can't blame the South for this guy, he's a grownup making his own poor decisions based on flawed thinking he has had years to correct as an adult.

      That being said, why does chick-fil-a need to have a stance on gay marriage? They fry chicken. What idiot in the business world would alienate customers for no reason?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lucy Murphy

    Why did God make gay people? Has not everything the Lord created a purpose. Who would defy God by saying that 10% of his output is erroneous? In my book that's blatantly breaking the first commandment.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Kechiro

      You have made an excellent point that's lost on far too many people. God didn't make any junk.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anotherview

    When Christians spread hate its called being brave whether it was the crusades or chicken. When Islamist spread hate we attack...I fail to see the difference??? I know everyone will errupt with stupid one sided comments about people killed in 911, well before you start typing your ignorant words take a minute and calculate how many Christians killed in crusades and witch hunts then type.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    Funny how all those people peddling the bigot label are bigots themselves by definition:a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. I have a belief and I will not hide from "you people". Looks like I will be eating at Chick-fil-A every chance I get, plus they have really good food. I would even eat there on sunday's after church but they are closed, Good christian based business.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • FreeThinker147

      You have the right to think whatever you want but as soon as your beliefs are put into policy that deny other Americans equal rights a line has been crossed. No one is telling you what to believe, if business owners want to oppose gay marriage and expose themselves to possible backlash that's their choice as free Americans.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jessie

    It is almost comical to read the viscous comments saying chic fil a are bigots and Mongrols. They themselves display hate and bigotry by the content of their posts. It is almost enough to make you want to stoop to their level. It's gotten to the point if you speak of truth by what the bible says, you are viscously attacked. As the bible states, we must turn the other cheek.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. edna

    Dear Mr Cathy.
    I just want to thank you for taking a godly stand against sin. This world is upside down and anyone who dosent believe in what the so called status quo they get bashed.
    The bible is what i live by and it states that it is an abomination for a man to lay with another man.
    Thank you so much for sticking to what you believe and not trying to be popular.i will contuinue to be a customer.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Your Bible also:

      1. Approves of slavery, and encourages it (e.g., If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. Exodus 21:20)

      2. Claims that a virgin was magically impregnated, before the invention of in vitro fertilization

      3. Is replete with contradictions

      4. Claims that the Bible is the word of God, yet, for some unknown reason, God make Shakespeare a FAR BETTER writer!

      5. Promises eternal life for all who believe in Jesus

      6. Discusses a place called "heaven," yet there is absolutely no scientific proof that heaven exists

      7. Says if you do not get down on your knees and worship me, and if you do not EAT MY BODY and DRINK MY BLOOD, then I (God) WILL INCINERATE YOU WITH UNIMAGINABLY TORTUOUS PAIN IN THE FIRES OF HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY

      Religious faith: The biggest fraud ever perpetuated on mankind!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Valerie Wapelhorst

    I support Chic-fil-A 100%. Their beliefs come from the Bible which is where truths of right and wrong originate!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
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