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. Tom

    Did not previoiusly know any of this about Chick-fil-A. It is now my intent to patronize them whenever I have the opportunity. It is refreshing to encounter someone who understands the worth of traditional values as opposed to the transient whims of pop culture.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • edwardo69

      Since when is hate a value?

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

      When or where di he say anything about hate, hating gays, hating gay marriage? If you dont agree with something it doesn't mean you hate anything that has to do with it. Wow people need to grow up. You think its ok, I don't why can't we still get along without you saying I hate you?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. epicureanepitaph

    Once communism fell, American religious fundamentalists needed a new enemy to make their sheep live in fear of. Within a year – they switched the focus of their fear to gay people and it continues to this day. sad.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. SB1790

    You do realize the repercussions if all of the backlash over not supporting gay marriage does not hurt or increases Chik-Fil-A's revenue, right? It will show that there are no real financial repercussions for taking that stance. On the other hand, if their revenue declines and they switch to keeping mute on the topic to lighten the controversy/bad publicity, then we'll see where the dollar trumps the religious beliefs. Interesting to see how this turns out.

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

    So what what he says on his private time. This is America.

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

    I'm gay. I don't care. If I ceased buying products from companies that did things I didn't like, then I'd be Amish. I don't make political choices when I eat out (though, for the record, I actually don't like CFA's food or any fast food for that matter). I go out to eat to fill my belly.

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

    The one thing I can't STAND in this country is when a privately-held company exercises its right to free-speech! What is America coming to? Next thing you know, they'll be demanding freedom of religion and freedom of the press! Where are our founding fathers, like Stalin, when you need them?!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Noah

      @Roy – You are right, Chick-fil-a has every right to voice their opinion. However, when that opinion is bigoted and promotes denying rights to people based on some particular religious belief, then the rest of us who are not bigoted also have the right to voice our disagreement with that particular opinion. Yay first amendment.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      if I choose not to support gay marriage I am wrong because my opinion does absolutely nothing to you. If you choose to support gay marriage, hold it against me for not supporting you, try to force me to agree with you and change my beliefs so that they agree with yours its ok. Do I have this right?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Karen

    Also, as a divorced and remarried individual, should I be upset? Uh....no.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • edwardo69

      Karen .. you an adulterer. You are remarried. In chick fil a's eyes you are as much as a sinner as me sweetie. STart caring!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. downinfront

    God hates Chick-fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. NameLaura*

    I think it it excellent that Chic fil a is standing for Biblical truth! I wish I had a store in my town to support!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    I support them. If you do not the go somewhere else.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. cc

    Thank God! That I can go to a place at least Monday thru Sat., and not have to put up with the Gay's and their hateful comments and demands. I am sick of those RUDE 'Aw-look-at-me-I-need Everyone's-Attention' hypocrites...Their Bigotry towards Christain Values and their hypocrisy. .....LEAVE CHRISTAINS ALONE with your demands!! It's America....We can still practice our religious beliefs......and, go eat SOMEWhere else.....I'll start eating at Chick-fil-A more often....

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • gay dude

      not so fast my boyfriend and I have decided to go to every Chick-Fil-A in town and spend ten minutes making out in the lobby.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. russ

    never should have opened your potty mouth in the first place. Don't mix politics with business if you want the full market to support you. Shame on you. But, oh, your chicken is soooooooo good!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Esteban

    I plan to do my part, I plan to boycott Chick-fil-A for being a bigot company they are!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • vtguy

      Ok, I'll order twice for myself to make up for you not wanting to buy it! God bless CFA!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dee Lacy

    I didn't see a thing in the article that said they hated gays. They merely are standing on their beliefs. They didn't say they wouldn't serve gays, they merely stated that they believed in the Bible and that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ialsoagree

      They believe in restricting the rights of a group of people.

      By definition, that means they're bigots. That's the definition of the word bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Beau

    When I look at the posts against Chick-fil-A I see hate, hate, and more hate. This article was made to breed hate. Let it be known that the people who are for gay marriage are here proven to be disrespectful, foul mouthed, and show they would like to pound whoever disagrees with them to a pulp.

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