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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Injustice

    Christians constantly attack everyone around them with propaganda, lobbying, money stolen from little old ladies, bunker busters, guns, illegal back room dealings.....then when their victims so much as even peep in defense they fall to the floor and start crying like a wounded helpless child. Seriously they could walk into your home, open fire, drown your children and then blame you for existing like your death is not even an after thought. If there actually was a Christ, he would be sick to his stomach over the hypocrites that claim to be his followers.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Injustice

    Christians constantly attack everyone around them with propaganda, lobbying, money stolen from little old ladies, bunker busters, guns, illegal back room dealings.....then when their victims so much as even peep in defense they fall to the floor and start crying like a wounded helpless child. Seriously they could walk into your home, open fire, drown your children and then blame you for existing like your death is not even an after thought. If there actually was a Christ, he would be sick to his stomach over the hypocrites who claim to be his followers.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yayyyyyyyyyyy

    yayyyyy lets boycott chickafila and cause people to get fired and have to depend on uncle sam for hand outs . yeaaaa i am all for stupid protest that hurt franchise owners and don't really affect the one guy who said something stupid.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sunny

    And there are families in Colorado grieving for their lost loved ones in the theater massacre and gays are too selfish and caught up in their own little sinful worlds to care. Gays are the true haters – not Christians – Gays hate God or they wouldn't be doing what they do against Him. Tolerance works both ways and just because I am anti-gay does not mean you can abuse me anymore than I can abuse you. Grow up and think about something more worthwhile – like the families in Colorado and families of military ...

    July 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Terri Frost

    I fully support the stand that's been taken by Mr. Cathey in his upholding the biblical definition of marriage and family unit. They will receive even more of my business. He never stated hatred, discrimination, etc toward anyone, just his and the company's belief. I have family members and friends who have chosen that lifestyle. I love them and pray that they get their hearts right with God. It's not judgement when bible plainly states its wrong. God Bless each and everyone:)

    July 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. arnie

    I never ate at a Chc filet, but I will now, it's all about choice.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. N

    Seriously? People are this upset over someone's opinion because it's different from their own? Those throwing around the word "intolerant" don't seem to know what it means.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Seriously? People are this upset over someone's opinion because it's different from their own? Those throwing around the word "intolerant" don't seem to know what it means."

      So denying someone of their civil rights is what in your book? Duh! Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      he American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      July 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I guess no one is allowed to have an opinion of their own, unless it fits in with everyone else's...who gives a sh%t about what this guy thinks...but they DO make a GREAT chicken sandwich, and I can't wait to go get one right now...this article is the BEST commercial ever...I am salivating at the thought of going to Chik-Fil-A right NOW!!! :D))))

      July 25, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John P

      Chick-Fil-A is embracing God's principles for US. God has designed a plan to help us live lives free of pain and suffering. In that plan, God has clearly told us that He does not want us living a gay lifestyle just as much as He doesn't want us to commit adultery, steal, or kill. It's God's plan, Chick-Fil-A is only choosing to wisely follow it. I don't understand the debate. Just read His word prayerfully and it will become very clear to you, it's out of love that He asks us to do certain things and to abstain from others. This is not discrimination, not at all.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Chick-Fil-A is embracing God's principles for US. God has designed a plan to help us live lives free of pain and suffering. In that plan, God has clearly told us that He does not want us living a gay lifestyle just as much as He doesn't want us to commit adultery, steal, or kill. It's God's plan, Chick-Fil-A is only choosing to wisely follow it. "

      Nowhere in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving long term relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. Part of reading comprehension 101 is putting the scriptures into historical context. What your bible does condemn is worshiping a pagan god using sex, male prostitution, idolatry and rape. The word homosexual was written into the bible later by a bias and prejudice scribe.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. marvs2

    These people condemn Chik-fil-A's management for their opinion on gay marriage, calling them bigoted and hate mongers, and many other unspeakable names, and threatening to boycott their business. Yet they ignore the fact that they are the bigoted and hate-mongers, outright attacking those who support traditional marriage. What gives the supporters of gay marriage the right to believe that only their opinion is valid and that every other opinion is criminal? Chik-fil-a is not attacking gays – merely stating its own beliefs, to which it has every right.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "What gives the supporters of gay marriage the right to believe that only their opinion is valid and that every other opinion is criminal? Chik-fil-a is not attacking gays – merely stating its own beliefs, to which it has every right."

      It's an uneducated prejudice opinion which is fueling hatred and bigotry in this country against the gay community. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      July 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trichome

      Actually, to date, Chick-Fil-A has given over $3 million to anti-gay causes, so they are doing much more than stating their beliefs. They are directly supporting organizations who are against equal rights for gays.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      I support marriage equality for all. If you want to discriminate against gays, it's not traditional, it's plain old bias. That's bad. Ok? Get it? Im not jamming my views down anybody's throat. It seems clear that's what Chik Fil A is doing with millions in funding hateful groups, and I have a right to boycott them. And any city in America has the right to say, "Your business is not welcome in our city/state because we believe in equality."

      July 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    July 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. YeahRight

    "I just don't see the discrimination, so maybe you can tell us. Something other than his opinion does not match yours."

    The discrimination is coming in denying gays the right to marry. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

    The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

    July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I applaud Chick-Fil-A for standing by their Christian values. It's about time someone takes a stand and stops caving into pressure. Our Country by the way was founded by Christians with Christian values and I resent the fact that this government continues to cave into masses and keeps passing new laws to basically say anything goes and to appeal to masses. This Government should standby those Original laws instead of retracting them. Our founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves and you wonder why our country is in the state it is now. These Christians beliefs come from the bible which by the way is the most widely published book EVER!
      This is what this country was founded on and if you don't agree with it, then feel free to find somewhere else to promote this garbage.
      They're not "Gay Haters" and I just love how people are twisting this to say they are. Last time I checked they weren't checking at the door at a Chick-fil-A to see if you were gay before serving you.

      July 25, 2012 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Macmaven

    Very surprising that a company will take a particular stand that alienates a portion of its customers. Gays regularly get bashed and stereotyped for brandishing their particular lifestyle. This is no different. Chik-Fila certainly has the right to say whatever they want, just like I have the right to drive right on by. I travel quite a bit, and will be leaving them off of the menu.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robin

    EDITOR! Please change the opening sentence. You say "Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values" when in fact, those values do not at all resemble most of the Christians I know. It's a matter of option if hating gays is a Christian value. Perhaps you can write it to say, "...is a company that espouses anti-gay values" or "...is a company that uses its interpretation of Christian values to rule out equality for gays". Those are far more accurate. Mainstream Christians do not hate gays and do not want to discriminate, so your editorializing here is biased.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • TDKR

      Robin,

      What is the problem if a person is not for gay marriage? I dont see the company stating that they hate gay people. They dont want to rid the world of gay people. I'm a Christian and I dont support gay marriage. I believe in the Bible and that God created marriage to be between a man and woman. Does that make me hate gay people? i dont think so. I love and respect everyone and their opinions. Sometimes our opinions differ. Its unfortunate that people are condemn for standing up for what they believe in because it clashes with other view points. I am no bigot. I'm not a hater of gay people. Christianity shows that God wants us to love everyone.The company has the right to express its view and support of their beliefs just as everyone else.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      "I believe in the Bible and that God created marriage to be between a man and woman."

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex

      July 25, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. k.p.

    Go through the drive through and order. Then pull up to the window and tell them you've changed your mind. let them feel the impact on a daily basis. Surely the person behind you won't eat the meal being redistributed. Just like we won't digest the injustice...

    July 25, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Elizabeth

    " and we are married to our first wives. " Does this mean he and his company are not only against gay marriage but also divorce and a second marriage (even if between a man and a woman) is not "the biblical definition of the family unit"?

    July 25, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. SHEILA HOWARD

    For it is written:
    2 Timothy 3-9

    New International Version (NIV)

    3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

    6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
    It is also written:

    July 25, 2012 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
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