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. agape_

    LGBT, abortion, bestiality when man messed up against God's original set up, we will have population shrinkage of good people. Bring in radical people thru immigration who encourage many wives and dozens of children per family. Within few years America will surrender to the radicals without a fight. Don't you realize they systematically doing that ?

    July 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joy

    I shake my head at the news article, the reaction to this man's statement, and the foolish action of a boycott. Whether he is a "Christian" or not is not the real issue, in my opinion.....the true issue is that he has the right to conduct his business to the best of his ability, beliefs and standards. Whether he is closed on Sunday or on Thursday for whatever the reason....that is his business and his right. Special interest groups do not have any reason, but most especially the right to declare this man wrong or anti anything....he is acting on his decisions and that is his right...just as you have your rights...don't try to take away from someone else who does not act, react or operate as you might operate your business or personal life.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeanne Carr

    Is this not free country? Are we not free to express our religious beliefs? Christians are being attacked for free expression of biblical
    Principles. Are Muslims Attacked for what they believe about teachings in the Koran? I think not! Chick Fil serves all people, they do no discriminate. Mr Cathy as an American is gaurentted his right to freedom of expression of Faith. What next in our country now that there are such vicious attacks attacks against that right? " Chrystal "Nacht"? . If you don't know what that means check out the history of Nazi Germany. Let us not fall into that condition!

    July 30, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Concerned

    I am a Christian & see nothing offensive with this private business owner's statement. I believe EVERYONE from ALL beliefs & lifestyles should share the same rights in a free country. My parents are both very "old school" Christian & I've heard them make numerous intolerant statements regarding those living a gay lifestyle. Anyone who has read the bible knows Christ chose to hang out with those who lived incredibly different lifestyles from himself & he was the most tolerant christian of all in regards to those he believed "sinners". We are ALL sinners. Whether we gossip, tell white lie, etc... No sin is greater than the other so I have to wonder why we as Christians only pick the sins which don't apply to our own personal life to speak out against. Not everyone believes in the bible & that living a gay lifestyle is a sin. In a free country, we have to respect & allow for those beliefs just as we wish our lifestyles & beliefs to be respected. For me, I will l

    July 30, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. TtotheRizoy

    Have to get me some Chick-fil-A for breakfast and lunch and why not even dinner! Love how all these groups claim someone is a hate monger if they don't agree with their ideas and beliefs. These same idiots say that I'm a racist because I can't stand Obama but yet my girlfriend and my stepdad are black......hmmmm.

    July 30, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. c.

    I dont care for the food that much but will be eating lunch there today

    July 30, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. GoodiePop

    I've read all about how Dan Cathy has stated that, as the company president, that HE is anti-gay and how the shops are closed on Sunday's, but I haven't yet read one thing stating a particular incident that was discriminatory against a single person. No one has said they were discriminated against in being hired, nor served at any location.

    Are the gays saying that just because Dan Cathy is the president of a large fast-food chain and has strong Christian values, that his organization should be boycotted because they like to be deviant and Dan Cathy does not?

    There's something wrong with this picture. I personally have to think that the gays haven't been in the news too much lately so they've found another FREE AVENUE to spread their own form of hate and get their crap back in the news.

    July 30, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fiona

    Believing that marriage is between a man and a woman is a bible based view for a christian. It doesn't mean that you hate people who happen to be gay or lesbian. By saying that a person is not allowed to express their own religious views, isn't that discriminatory???? It is only okay for gay people lash out against people's religious beliefs? Why does one side get to express their views with freedom of speech and not the other?

    July 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • KHall

      Amen to that! Love the sinner hate the sin. Chick-Fil-A never said one hateful word about gay's, just that they, as a company, did not support it, as it went against their beliefs. People are so one sided now adays, and need to apply their "everyone has rights" approach to EVERYONE

      August 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joanne O

      Because that's the way they are: it's their way or no way.

      August 5, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Burke

      The true haters are on the Gay side of the fence. First to denegrate and belittle your adversaries, you have to demonize them. So the haters on the gay/lesbian side have to automatically accuse their adversaries as haters. Political Correctness would have worked great for Hitler and the Brown Shirts. Free speech and better yet free thought and opinion are in great danger. The gay/lesbian movement is not content with their rights but must force their beliefs
      on us and trample on ours. I will support Chick Filet and other companies like them just to put it in the face of these liberal hate mongers.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. gthsmh

    Thank-you Chic-filet. I will commit to at least doubling my visits and spending at your wonderful chain. Keep the faith!

    July 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. str8whtguy

    My daughter loves playing with her friends there, but I don't know if I can ever feel comfortable taking her there again. The owner of the local franchise is a friend; we'll be having some words...

    July 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Name*Sammy

    I am driving 70 miles one way today and Chick-fil-A is a primary stop. If taking a stand based on family values is offensive to some, then I am ready to offend too. It's time to support this business even more!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    Great ....a restaurant all the bigots can eat at in harmony together...hopefully freeing up all the other options for decent folks. Perhaps I could open a restaurant and use it as a platform for my personal beliefs too! What a concept! Would you like some 'Jesus Sauce' on your 'holy crap'?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Rizzo75

      Chick-fil-A was once my favorite fast food restaurant. I have been a loyal customer for a long time. They may indeed be excersizing their first amendment rights, but here they have lost a good customer forever. I hope many many many more people will follow me. Wake up and join the year 2012 Chick-fil-A !!!

      August 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Coming from an agnostic who works at Chick fil a... I have to say that you are stereotyping a whole restaurant chain. I am actually for gay marriage and just happen to work at the establishment to pay for college. Sure, there were some coworkers who believed in Cathy's stance...but then there are some who did not. Really, the employees there and the people who eat the chicken are just normal people who vary in their opinions. We all have different beliefs and political views. It is ignorant to say that an entire restaurant chain is blinded by close minded beliefs based off of the views of the man who created the restaurant.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • chicoman227

      Why do those who support the lesbian/gay community have such a diificult time understanding that no one at this company is being discriminatory or offensive/hateful to anyone.You can live your life as you wish,but it doesn't mean we should have to support your choices.Are non supporters of your lifestyle not allowed to have their own opinions??Has anyone been treated differently at Chik-Fil-A because of their lifestyle choices???Come on people,stop looking for an issue...there is none!!!

      August 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joanne O

      What an idiot.

      August 5, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. chrisinpa

    It was the First Amendment for a very important reason, people. So people,all people could speak their mind. Don't like it, don't go there. However, if a survey was taken, very likely most business owners (who I'm thinking would lean right rather than left since the government is always dictating what business can and cannot do) would have opinions some don't agree. Remember you can't please all the people all the time.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jo

    Well I'm bi and I don't think that Chick-fil-A is trampling on my rights to choose what I want. They are not able to force me to do anything and they aren't kicking me out of their establishment. I can also not choose to eat there but I really don't care what they say I'm just getting a darn sandwich! So I give them the right to think and support what they want and I they will allow me the same. I don't think they are saying you can't be bi or gay I think they are saying you can't be bi or gay and Christian. You must choose one or the other. That is my take on it. Now shut up and eat...

    August 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hana

      Thanks for putting this out there; it's a very even tempered look at the issue. Sarah also mentioned that we are oversimplifying the issue as well and you're both right.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      I am bi and I dont think they are robbing me of rights or anything by taking their stance, but i do however find it insulting that they dont believe I can be Christian and Bi at the same time. I am a faithful Christian and i Dont think Chick fil a has a right to tell me that the way i am is morrally wrong. It's not a choice its just the way i am.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. auxarccodger1

    I support the Management at Chic-Fil-A. If there are so many supporters of Gay Marriage then why are so many states voting in laws banning gay marriage? I think in the following days we will see how the country as a whole feels about this.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      I support that he can say what he believes. But I do not eat there, I never have had a chick fil a. The reason for voting against gays is simple, your religion does not allow you to be accepting to gays, you have a gay phobia, you just do not like to see someone in love that is of the same se–x, or you think your right is worth more than others.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
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