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. hhutch777

    They have the right to do what they wish as a firm. I have the right to spend my money on those I wish as well. And Chic-fil-hate will no longer share in my wallet. Chicken was great, hate is not.

    July 25, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jo Ann

    I don't think Mr. Cathy's personal views are an issue. However, when he is speaking for the company and says they espouse "traditional marriage" and being "married to our first wives", what does that mean as far as their willingness to hire people who are gay or divorced? For that matter, while there are certainly women working in the restaurants, would they hire a woman for an executive position?
    I'm also troubled about where their charitable donations are going. If they are going to causes which may be conservative, but do not actively discriminate or advocate discrimination, then that would be OK with me. However, if the donations are really going to anti-gay groups, then I don't want to enable that by providing them with my business dollars.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Randy Hamrick

    I firmly believe that the people that are getting so upset over ANY IDEA that someone else has: gay marriage, alternative life style,....needs to look at themselves.
    Just because everyone doesn't agree with you, doesn't give you the right to impose your beliefs or ideas on them.
    It is a proven fact that I can't change your mind, or beliefs, even if I wanted to ........so suck it up cupcake!
    If you don't agree with Chick Fil A and their beliefs.........go some place else and eat! Stop trying to get the government in on soome thing that you think is wrong!
    NO body is holding a gun to your head and making you or anyone else work or eat there!
    So get a life and move on!

    July 25, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. AD

    I don't see any "hate" being expressed in the statement Mr. Cathy gave. There's not a hateful word in there. He doesn't denounce, slam, name call, etc. gays in any way in his statement. So why are people hating them?

    July 25, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      "I admire this company and Mr. Cathy for their strong stance on their Christian beliefs."

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Maxie

    I admire this company and Mr. Cathy for their strong stance on their Christian beliefs. Thank you for the fine employee's that serve their customers with appreciation and respect.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Melvin

      "I admire this company and Mr. Cathy for their strong stance on their Christian beliefs. Thank you for the fine employee's that serve their customers with appreciation and respect."

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. JG

    The story i just posted says that CNN made the whole thing up. So, who do you believe?

    July 25, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andrea

    Just because someone doesn't believe in gay marriage means that they hate gays. People are allowed to have an opinion on this issue. Why should you be forced to accept something that you don't believe in?

    July 25, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Garry

      If we all beleived that Andrea the Confederate States of America would still exist...

      July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    People of the the United States of America,
    It appears no one can have an opinion in this country that is not Politicaly Correct!

    July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Loyal Northern Democrat

    If they change their policy will they have to serve stuffed chicken and fudge for desert as well as a tuna sandwich?

    July 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sharon

    Dan Cathy is making a profit off Gays too ,do you really think he won't serve them? He'll serve anyone you buys his nasty food.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Slayer

    Oh you believers make my head hurt. The issue is not his stance, the issue is HE DONATES MILLIONS TO GROUPS THAT FIGHT GAY MARRIAGE!!!! Can't you beleivers read????

    July 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMB

      Is it not his money?

      July 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SirQL8

    They don't believe in the gay lifestyle. How does that threaten gays or espouse 'hate'...The GLBT community should listen to themselves talk, they sometimes sound crazier than their 'bible thumper' adversaries.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. prestonsc

    I'm on my way with the kids to Chick-Fil-A. I'm having a combo sandwich, waffle fries and sweet tea.

    July 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert

    actually NOTHING at all was said about gays, gay marriage, or "as opposed to gay marriage. Nada. Zilch. Go back to the original.

    CNN, et al got it all out of context. Deliberately, or just deliberate to continue to blog flog about it??

    July 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. prestonsc

    Got a friend who owns the Chick-Fil-A in Northlakes above Charlotte, NC...says his sales have doubled because of this..lol. He wants to thank the so called Human Rights group for the media attention. Better than any commercial could have done. Keep up the good work.

    July 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172