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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. edwardo69

    HI Mike – yep... I'm the filthiest person alive. You are so right! I love filth. I am filth.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      A, if you feel that way about yourself then who am I to argue with you, you know what you are.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Edward 69 sis that in reference to your days with Sandusky?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • blankslate

      I wouldn't eat there because their food isn't good at all, I got sick and tired of the taste of their food. I also find it amusing that people on these comments are calling each other bigots when in fact most of the people in the U.S. are bigots. If the company wants to support anti-gay/anti-lesbian groups then they can do it because nothing can really hold them back aside from people not wanting to eat there.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Deez

    Since when is sectioning off a section of the community and judging them EVER right? Love your fellow human and let God do the judging (if that's what you believe), not you. Base any opinions on the individual. In this case, the individual is Chick Fil A, and I will never support them again.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Just Average

    Last time I looked we still have freedom of speech, a right to one's religious views. Here is someone who closes the stores on Sunday to allow employee's time off to go to church if they like, not grab every dollar, and who stands by their beliefs. It is his right. He stands for his beliefs, and even if you don't agree you have to admire his consistency in those. You have the right to object, but you do not have the right to force your beliefs on him ! Don't like it – don't go there. For the rest of us it's just a chicken place, and if I like the food I will eat there. There are followers and there are leaders, and being a leader doesn't make you popular. Which are you ?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Just Average Funny. No one here is trying to get the government to force anything on the company. The company is the one donating their money to get the government to ban gay peoples' right to marry.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. john

    I don't see a statement of hate or any bigotry in Chick-fil-a statement. It is unfortunate that their belief is being interpreted as hate. How can their belief be considered as hate and the beliefs of the LGBT community when stated publicly not be considered hate?? A funny world indeed!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kori

    While I agree that in this country you have the right to free speech, I also agree that as a consumer I have the right to choose where I spend my money. I will defend your right to say it, and I will exercise my right not to spend money at your establishment.

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

    I'll vote with my wallet and not eat there. what would jesus do? not live a life full of hate according the the book written about him.

    did you know that the chicken sandwich at chick fil a has over 100 ingredients. why would you put that into your body?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Goose66

    Good on Cathy for having values and sticking to them, even though probably a mistake to come out so vocal in terms of the Company's stance (as opposed to his own). But it's fine by me - maybe my local Chic-fil-A will be less crowded, now. Nah..., who am I kidding.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • edwardo69

      Bet if he denied civil rights to any other group, he'd be hunted down and shot. But, it's open season on me and my family. Xtianity is a horrid religion!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. edwardo69

    Are you 10?

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

    If he really supported traditional biblical marriage, wouldn't he be for polygamist marriages that lasted thousands of years?

    And is he trying to bring back traditional biblical labor conditions too? You know, like slavery?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. edwardo69

    Isn't it easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom. Hypocrites!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. downinfront

    Is 36 grams of fat a lot?

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

    Hate and Judgement is never on God's side, let the net sales speak for it self.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. leah

    i am so amazed at people calling what cathy said "hate filled". nothing he said was at all filled with hate. he simply stated his belief that God made marriage for a man and a worman. totally biblical. just because one doesn't belive in the bible and God's word doesn't make the word of God wrong, or hate filled. unfortunately, it means that they are deceived. i commend chick-fil-a for being bold in their witness of the gospel. God will surely bless this company because of it, because when professing Christ, nothing comes back void.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      ". just because one doesn't belive in the bible and God's word doesn't make the word of God wrong, or hate filled."

      Only god never wrote or said anything written in that book....men did.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • wellasworld

      I couldn't agree with you more. People interpret biblical mandates for hate. He's sticking to his Christian principles, good for him!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    Sure they can...

    July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. mercenary76

    amazing how it is that america has lost all morality and it's place in the world at the same time . wonder if there is a connection ? nations that forget the old ways that made them strong are soon forgotten and gone .

    July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172