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. timothy canezaro

    So when does your religion and convictions related preclude you from opening a business in chicago or any city in this country? Is it not okay to be different from one another? I've noticed an exorbitant amount of disrespect and ridicule being dished out at christians everywherethat affirm the role of family in our lives. Such a shame. No wonder divorce, abortion, and single mothers are so prevalent in our society. Well. We just keep praying and praying. Godbless mr mccarthy! Don't know you but I respect your right to your right to live out your life based on all you hold dear. Godbless

    July 27, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • AmyinCambridge

      That's like saying 'I'm not anti-black, I'm pro-white".

      July 27, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. smg3306

    I agree with Dan Cathy in that he should always stand for what he believes to be true. And if he holds to a belief in the traditional family, not only should he hold to it, he must. Walking in obedience to God is not always a popular decision.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Starbucksjunkie

    For those of you who don't know, Chick-Fil-A tore down a church in Midtwon Memphis to put up a Chick-Fil-A. How Christian is that?

    July 27, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Walter Williams

      A church isn't a building. Its a group of people.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    Never eating there again. To think that I was supporting discrimination in my community is sad.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Walter Williams

    Everybody wants to quit eating at Chick Fil A because they dont support gay marriage? When are they going to quit using gasoline because OPEC straight up executes gays? Didn't think so. Hypocrites...

    July 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. New Gawker

    What's their stance on interracial marriage?

    July 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anonymous

    Since when did someone go to a fast food chain because of its political beliefs or not?? I like to think I go somewhere because they have good tasting food or not. You do not see the conservatives banning starbucks and other places for support of gay marriage so why ban chick fila just because they don't support gay marriage? No one is throwing stones at gays or attacking them physically? But if the choice is to vote and it requires voters to decide whether or not to enact gay marriage then who are we to tell a person how to vote or not? They stated their beliefs. at least they were honest about it. In our politically correct society people have long forgotten the freedom of speech.

    July 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Arthur Brislingham

    The gay lifestyle is a perversion of human nature.

    July 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ruby

    the gay people need to give this a rest all ready.. the guy was just making a statement, he was stating his standards,he was not directing this towards any group nor sect of people..

    July 28, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. seansmith76

    -"Thank you for standing up for what you believe. The truth is not hate. It's just the truth," wrote Sharon R Boyd-

    Ms. Boyd, the truth you are referring to is over 2000 yrs old. Another truth from that era was that the Sun revolved around the Earth but as we all now that is no longer the truth. You along with Chick-Fil-A need to catch up with the times and stop living in a past based on a story. Do humanity a favor and read something other than the Bible.

    July 28, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. ChildofGod

    How is Mr. Cathy hating? he is standing firm in his belief...keep standing Brother, God is with you!!!

    July 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Coughlin

    I am in complete agreement with the statements of the Chick-fil-A president and as Americans we must respect his right to state those beliefs.  For those railing against the supposed 'imposition of Christian values', I pose this question to you.  Can you share a holistic set of beliefs articulated and set forth for society's sound functioning that is not based on these morals truth's?

    July 29, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. ann

    wow a reverse boycott. my family did not eat at chik-fil-a but we will now ! we will take all our friends too. not anti -gay at all, in fact i think marriage is a crock and should be abolished. not christian,we ard agnostic.
    this owner has a right to his beliefs without a radical minority trying to ruin his business.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kathy

    Most people who confess to be "christian" are not. Jesus forgives everyone and everything. He loves all people regardless of their sins or faults. Maybe it is time we all tried to live a little more like Jesus did or have so-called "Christians" forgotten about Jesus in order to spread their own selfish agendas. I never likied Chick-fil-let sandwiches anyway/ They are a dry piece of chicken on a dry bun wih a pickle, ugh. God will not be pleased with chick-fil-let for letting their hate be known. We may not approve of gay and lesbian lifestyles but they are human beings and they are not going away so we might as well get over it.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. johnpassalacqua

    I have NEVER eaten at a Chi-Fil-A before! Thanks too CNN giving them FREE advertising, I am now aware of new great fast food place to feed my hungry stomach. I see this whole debate as nothing more than ignorant rants about a company that has NEVER DISCRIMINATED against any hungry customer wanting a chicken sandwich, and as far as I can tell they DON"T discriminant in their hiring practices either. Don't you have to be just a little "GAY" to want to work a place called Chic-Fil-A????

    July 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
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