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. sinbad80

    Who said anything about hate? He said they believe in the biblicl one man, one woman concept of marrage. He didn't say "I hate gay people". Stop reading too much into what was said.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nick

    I'd only stop eating there if they were against firearms!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lewis

    Matt 7:2-5 "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you . Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye nd pay no attention to the plank in your own eye ? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye. In other words DONT JUDGE UNLESS YOUR PERFECT ! THATS STRAIGHT FROM THE GOOD BOOK!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • CL

      I didn't notice him judging anyone. He made a statement that he believed in the biblical interpretation of marriage. How do you see that as judging?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tee

    I applaud Mr. Cathy for staying true to his Christian beliefs and not compromising with the trend of the world. God will bless him and his business more abundantly because he glorified God through his profession. I also agree with the truth he spoke in love!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    I feel like having a Chick-fil-A sandwich!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. CL

    Why is it that saying what you believe in a positive way is seen as hate on the other side. He did't say "we hate gays" or "we don't support gays". He said what they DO support. That's not hate. It's their opinion and they have a right to it. I think trains across America should be free, but if you disagree with me I'm not going to call you an idiot or say your hate filled.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. David

    I do not understand the hatered, about the gay/lesiban issue? God said judge not lest yea be judged. Having friends that beleave differently than I, I have no hate for them. In many respects they are better friends than others. In the end God will make the final deision of right or wrong.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ty

    When will people learn that just because someone holds to a strong moral belief that is different from another, does not mean that person is hateful? I'm saddened by the intolerance and constant name-calling from the "gay" community.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. barrclan

    The truth is the truth not hate. Chick-fil-A is just using common sense...the same common sense a five year old sees...Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve...wake up America!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @barrclan you are free to believe what you want. You shouldn't be free to encode your religious beliefs into the law of our land, forcing it by gunpoint on others.

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

      You are lucky that the guy who wrote that part of the bible wasn't gay because then it would have been Adam and Steve not Adam and Eve.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Major

    Gonna treat the office to Chik-fil-A for lunch!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. downinfront

    I think I lost a few IQ points hanging out here...

    July 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. rainyday

    I admire them for standing up for what they belive. It is their company to run how they please. I will continue to patronize them.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Susan

    I will go to Chick fil a whenever I can.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • edwardo69

      I'll tell you where you can go hater!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      I am going to go eat at Chick-Fil-A tonight.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Brown

      How backward and ignorant...how sad. No more chic-fil-A for me. I am not in the stone casting business as a Christian.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ace

      Kudos to you Chick-fil-A for standing your ground. People call it hate because you are not tolerant to what THEY want. God does not say to be tolerant! God is either FOR gay marriage or AGAINST. There is no grey area. Anyone who can read knows that God is against gay marriage. He simply states to leave your parents and marry a woman (or man)..to become one flesh. Quite honestly, who cares if people stop going and spending their money (which God enabled them to earn in the first place) at Chick-Fil-A. God will take care of you and that's what is important.

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

      Will Jesus keep your coronary arteries from clogging up?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. running water

    Haha Mr cathy I'm gay and myself and my wife and kids have been eating at ur store for years. I will not give u my money anymore but I wanted u to knw that a large percent of ur customers are gay men and women. I am a christian a methodest actually who has a wonderful relationship w god and I believe in gay marriage. I'm a nurse my wife an x army vet my family works for the school system and we want to all say shame on u for being ignorant

    July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. rockysfan

    I don't recall anywhere in the bible a definition of marriage. That is man's folly, not God's. Have never liked this place and now have absolutely no need to spend my hard earned dollars there. I don't subsribe to hate like some "christians" profess, amazing.

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