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. thatoneguy

    You make chicken, and it's good chicken. But keep your religious and political beliefs to yourself. I would hate to have to boycott a place I like to eat due to BS that should never have even been commented on. Do yourselves a favor and STFU

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

    I concur with the fact that Mr. Cathy has a right to believe what he chooses. For those people who don't want to frequent the establishment because he doesn't embrace your values so be it. There are lots of Christians who don't frequent establishments that sell alcohol because maybe they feel it's a sin to drink. I am sure there are people who won't frequent gay owned businesses because they embrace a lifestyle they don't support. Get over it, that's what makes America beautiful. It's when we start discriminating that becomes the issue.

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

    I wish there was one near me. I would eat there more often.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Shaun Haulk

    I didn't see anywhere in his statement where he said that he hated gays. He simply states his beliefs and everyone assumed that he hates gays because he is a Christian. Everyone is just offended at the name of Jesus and that is what all of this is really about!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Katie

    What the owner said is not hate ..people are seeing what they want in his comment.just because you have a strong belief in something doesn't mean you hate it .you just have your own opinion after all this is a free AMERICA still...I Hope and pray we never lose a right to our own opinions....seems all is hate if we believe strongly about an issue...

    July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. jonline

    As the owner of company, he should have said 'to sell more chicken' is his goal. My goal now is to never eat there. It's sad really. The world is becoming a more accepting place. He will have tarnished what was a realtively good company forever and hurt his 'owner/oerators.'

    July 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. BilllS

    It is truly unfortunate that Mr. Cathy feels the need to openly preach his intolerance toward persons with different lifestyles. You may feel this way as a person, but as a Corporate Leader you opened yourself and your company up to major legal and ethical issues. Does this mean your company "OPENLY" Refuses to Employ persons with these beliefs? If you do employee said individuals, do you discriminate against those employees should they request time off to be married as it is legal in many states. Do you mandate that your managers spout the same to your employee's and they tow the corporate line? Please be watchful!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Donna

    Always giving glory to God! That's the Chick-fil-A way!! Go Dan!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Go Chick-Fila

    This is typical no days anytime someone has a different opinion they hating. I think this whole thing is ridiculous. I am glad that a company stands by what they believe instead of bowing to political or outside pressure. Do to the fact that we live in America we are allowed to have our own opinion and feeling on things as long as we do not push that belief on anyone else. I don’t agree with gay marriage but I don’t hate gay people that is their preference. We just have a difference of opinion. The last time I checked there is nothing wrong with having an opinion. It seems to me that a group of people that want to be accepted so much do everything they can do to isolate themselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      @ christian morals and all the other people supporting chick-fil-a. EXACTLY. He didn't say "I Hate GAY people, yada yada". He just said that they stand behind christian morals. Who knew that standing behind somethings teachings that say "be kind to your fellow man" was such a bad thing... Again, I have Gay friends, atheist friends, friends of all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Doesn't mean I'm not going to hang out with them. Just because I know I have a different view than them doesn't mean I hate them. "I'm not eating Chick-Fil-A because they have don't support gay marriage" good – you show them guys, you show them.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      You don't hate gay people but you feel that they should be deprived of a civil right for no logical reason? In what universe does that make ANY sense. I mean, are you really so self-deluded that you actually believe that or are you being intentionally dense?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Then you are informed. This company has spent millions to keep gay ppl from getting married. That's not just having an opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian


      July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      Apparently you folks are unaware of the millions of corporate dollars they've spent on political advocacy to deny people their rights. Better do some more research.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dspringsteed


      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kutulhu

      The company monetarily supports organizations that only goal to stop gay marriage. How is that NOT pushing your beliefs on someone else?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeb

    Chik-fil-a's food tastes like cardboard anyway.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. KM

    If we boycott every business in America for their beliefs, no one will have any customers.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      I've been boycotting Chik-fil-a for years because their food is disgusting.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    Here is some FOOD for thought. Isn't it interesting how gay couples/individuals are allowed to have a stance or opinion but it's bigotry for Chick-Fil-A to have one? Because of the christian values is one of the main reasons I eat there. And likewise intersting is the fact that people like Chick-Fil-A and I have to defend ourselves for having an opinion. Gay people?- It's unfair or condesending if THEY arn't allowed to be heard. I'm amazed at how much hipocrasy is in this country. Everyone has to be so politically correct. KUDOS Chick-Fil-A. KUDOS. (by the way, yes I have gay friends, no i'm not a hate monger). You know what though, If I find a Gay owned restraunt I'm sure as heck not eating there – do I sound hateful now?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Nobody is saying they do not have a right to their opinion or beliefs. They are saying that if they are going to use their profits from their products to support anit gay marriage groups, then we are not going to support them. Do you really think I will spend one dollar in a restaurant that will in turn take that money to prevent me from marrying the person I love? I don't hate them, in fact I like their food, but I have my principles. Now if a Gay restaurant is doing something that hurts your community, then I would fully expect you to boycott them.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Please go look up the definition of bigotry. If you've learned how to read, that is.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Hutchenson

      Tell your 'gay friends' that. If, in fact, you have any. What if he said 'we support traditional marriage, we believe that interracial marriage is wrong in the eyes of God, but we'll still serve them if they come here. We're just going to use a percentage of our profits to support organizations that work to make sure that interracial couples can't get married'. Sixty years ago, that would have been a pretty common argument, and it would have been just as wrong. Can he have his opinion? Sure. Doesn't mean that having that opinion makes him anything but a bigot. Nor you. You have the right to hold an opinion, but that right does not include suppressing the rights of others, which is what you're doing.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ag

      Matt – yes, in fact, that does sound pretty hateful. I'm sure your (probably made-up) gay friends would think so, too.

      Oh, and please find me a gay organization that is actively promoting legislation to ban everyone except gays from being married. Then we'll be talking about hate on both sides.

      See, I'm straight, but if someone told me I couldn't marry the person I wanted to, I'd get pretty ticked off about that. Wouldn't you?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      When that gay restaurant starts spending boat loads of money advocating to deny you your rights, then you have an adequate analogy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • DallasinHouston

      Imagine that I'm of the opinion that all bald men should be sterilized because baldness is a sign of genetic inferiority. You will grant that I'm just expressing an opinion and that's OK for you. RIGHT? Why should bald men be angry at me at all. No reason. Right? I'm just expressing my opinion according to my made up religion that revolves around worshiping long, luxurious hair.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChelleShock

      I don't care about their opinion or that they are Christian. Yes, it used to bum me out that they were closed on Sundays and I usually got the food to go to not listen to Christian music (one near my college was particularly fond of a gospel station) but I respected them for it. What I don't respect is that they used my money and the money of all their other customers – gay and straight – to fight against civil rights and equality. I haven't given them a cent in well over a year when I first heard they gave millions to anti-gay causes. Opinions and beliefs are one thing, however when you use YOUR beliefs to dictate how OTHERS live, you are in the wrong.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frankin CANADA

    Since when is having an opinion like his hateful? Just because someone doesn't believe in what you do doesn't make that hateful or bigotted. I respect this gentlemans opinion as he has everyright to say it. Aren't you doing the samething by chastising him for his opinion.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      This is what I was thinking. I thought maybe someone got fired for being in a gay marriage.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Definition of "bigot": "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"

      How can you be opposed to gay marriage and NOT fit this definition? If you believe that gay people should be deprived of a civil right and be treated like second-class citizens, you are by definition prejudiced. He is obviously obstinately devoted to his beliefs. So, it sounds like this guy fits the definition of "bigot" perfectly.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      Jeez, do a little reading. It's not the opinion that's the problem, it's the spending of millions of corporate dollars advocating on that opinion that is.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steph Brusig

      Apparently you didn't know that they spend money on anti gay organizations. That IS bigotry at it’s finest.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      How is my opionion different than his? I am not spending millions of dollars to try to force him to live by my ideals. He is spending millions of dollars to try to force gay people to live by his ideals. He is just too smart to actually admit that in public on the record. He got burned by being honest about his policies regarding treatment of minorities in his company, and now he covers up his feelings with careful words.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carmen stewart

    Bravo! Your comments were NOT hateful nor bigotist. You were simply speakiing truth according to God's Holy Bible. Christians are to love the sinner,even while they do not condone the sin. We cannot condone what God does not condone

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

      @carmen stewart You do not have to condone something to give people the freedom to do it. I don't condone watching reality TV, but I would never want to have the government ban it.

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

      sorry sweetheart but god didnt write anything in that book.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alex

    Standing behind who can stand against main stream left wing haters. Will standby chick-fil-a and will talk to others buy from them.

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

      You go ahead and support him. Are you a southern baptist? Do you go to church every sunday? Every single sunday, even if the weather is nice or your kid is sick? Do you avoid doing any work on sunday? No. Maybe you miss a week here or there, maybe you take a report home to finish up over the weekend, maybe you are catholic, maybe even lutheran? Well, Chick-fil-a may not have told you right out, and they may not be spending money to fix your morals, but you should know, you are wrong, you are a sinner, and they are opposed to you too. You can't work in a management role at their restaurant, and you can't buy a franchise. You may feel like they are on your side, hating the gays, but trutj is, as far as they are concerned, you and the gays are pretty much the same.

      That chicken still taste good, catholic satan worshiping sinner?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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