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. Tim

    Excellent table fare and just a great company! I will make it a point to select Chik-Fil-A whenever possible.
    Most other companies are cowards. Say what you believe. That's it. And if there's a restaurant that wants to condone faqqotry then by all means the faqs can patronize that establishment.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      Care to upsize your Haterade, sir?

      Oh wait, I see you have already been served. Enjoy your Baptized Chicken

      July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. NIN

    This is just the first step... In a few years you will be a biggot and hate monger for not accepting "child molestors" because they are born that way.

    Don't believe me? It's already started, CNN just had a story about a month ago, how they are "born that way" You have been warned!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. But...

    It's a RESTAURANT. Why don't they just shut the hell up and serve chicken? Does McDonald's get into social issues? No, they're a restaurant. It's totally absurd. If the employees want to be ignorant bigots on their own time, why not...

    July 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      But...being Christian and rich makes them very special snowflakes in gods eye!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes they did

      Actually, McDonalds has been very open about their stance on the gay marriage issue as well..........

      July 19, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chris T.

    It is funny how many people say they will not use their money for this establishment anymore simply because the owner stated his moral values. How many places do you frequent that you have no idea the values of the owners. I am quite sure this owner is not the only one that believes in biblical family values. It's not like he said he won't hire or serve gay people. He just stated he supports the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      There is a huge difference between someone who hates you and someone who disagrees with you. Chick-fil-a does not hate GLBT community in no way shape or form. Those who truly believe this are either (1) uninformed about this fact or are (2) being very immature.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      There is a simple line.

      If you publicity use your religion as a connection to your business practices, and anyone who knows your name or brand associate that brand with a particular religion for marketing purposes, then one deserves a ban hammering. Do you think it is OK to openly use religious beliefs as a means to pursue profit. After all these are two distinct worlds can never merge (See camel/eye/needle analogy).

      Based on their particular set of beliefs, the rich can never get into Heaven. If we loved The Cathy's we would make them dirt poor, otherwise they will never achieve all they are dying for, an eternal afterlife at the foot of god.

      See Chris, everyone has their priorities all messed up.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew

    no one really cares that Taco Bell's tomatoes comes from the blood, sweat and tears of immigrant labor

    July 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      Andrew, that issue is so last century.

      What immigrants?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Spwark

    Seriously people... the food sucks.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      Frankly, I found their buns rather dry.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. John

    If people or companies can come out in support of gay marriage, then Chik-fil-A has every right to come out in support of traditional marriage. I applaud their stand and support them. Funny, isn't it, how all of the people who arrogantly and self-righteously preach tolerance are themselves intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their opinions.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jennie

    Oh, give me a cotton-picking break! THEY'RE ALLOWED TO STAND FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE! Taking a stand does not equate with hate!!!!!!!!!

    It's amazing how grown adults will throw fits like a bunch of babies when someone DARES to speak what they believe to be right or wrong.

    Now, if this man was going around, beating people up or egging their houses, I'd call that hate. But I did NOT find his statements hateful!

    Grow up, folks. You wanna pound everyone with your belief that gays should marry. SHould we call YOU haters because you're screaming what you believe?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      Hey do me a favor. Go walk up to the mirror and watch your face while you recite your post. See that angry face? That is the face of a demon.

      It may awaken something in you called humanity. Only once you realize the force of hate behind your love, will you awaken from the spell the Ministers of Magical Gods will be broken.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Wow. So here we go again. Just because someone doesn't support the gay agenda you instantly get labeled as a hater. Based on the article he was asked about his companies stance, he didn't just volunteer it.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick Day

      I'm sorry sir, but you are going to have to cite a credible source of this alleged 'gay agenda' in order to be taken serious.

      Keywords: they betray your level of indoctrination.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    I guess you can't have an opinion an longer and you're not allowed to stand by your morals and values.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      How about something like " I don't like gay marriage, but just becuase I don't agree with it is no reason to pass laws banning it"

      July 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scott Ganser

    We need more like Mr. Cathy. Someone with the courage to stand up for what is right. Of course, the gays are going to try to paint what is moral as immoral. It is what they do, and it is what defines them.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rich

    Isn't being intolerant of those who are intolerant of gay marriage....intolerance?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Rich If they were trying to pass a law that banned your ability to speak about your beliefs, that would be intolerant. That's not happening though.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Robin


      July 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Atlanta Christian

    Those of you stating that Chik Fil is being bashed because they are Christian- are wrong. They are being held responsible for vilifying others- namely gay people and spending millions of dollars to categorize, label and fight to discrimate against gay people and fund groups like Exodus International who try to force psychologoical therapy on them which is pure craziness- NONE of which is christ like. Christians must be held responsible to act Christlike- you cannot intend to hate, discriminate and say "Im in Gods will" Use your brain if you are a Christian- and don't embarass the rest of us with your stupidity to take one part of the bible – not written by god, or Jesus- and espouse illogical hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Oscar Pitchfork

    "While I'm not a Christian I know that hate is not in gods plan nor does ignorantly picking sections of the bible to brandish."
    Man! It amazes me how IGNORANT and LOW-CLASS MOST people can be! If you're NOT a christian and DON"T read the Bible, well, than, maybe you just don't know what the f- you're talking about!! And just WHERE did all this crap come about where if you're not an ardent supporter of the gay life-style, you must be a hater? That's a stupid term, anyway, used by idiots that can't understand such subtlties. I eat there, I like their food, AND their high regard for moral lifestyles.America would be a better place without so many finger pointers (with guilty consciences, I'm betting) and more Christians...

    July 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Matt

    Since when is ignorance considered a point of view? You cannot compare the beliefs of the religious right to the beliefs of the LGBT community. You can't say it's a difference of opinion. The LGBT community isn't out fighting for legislation that will restrict the freedom of the religious right. They're fighting for equality under the law and the religious right is fighting against that. Those are not the same things by any stretch of the imagination. However it is unsurprising, the conservative religious people are always determined to be on the wrong side of history. Progress will happen and LGBT rights will eventually be universal everywhere in the country as they are in others. Doesn't matter how many of you "Christians" there are working against it, you've tried to stop progress since the dawn of Christianity and it hasn't happened yet and it won't. I suggest you ditch your bronze age belief system and get with the program of 2012.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
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