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. Jon

    Wow. I have never read so much from ignorant people. I am not talking about Chik-Fil-A either. I am talking about these individuals leaving comments. The owner/CEO of the company makes a statement about his beliefs and how he wants the company ran. Great for him. Now all the gay supprters want to attack him and prove a point. There is even the one fool that stated the Bible doesn't say anything about marriage? Really? When was the last time you read the Bible? I mean read it, not just flip through looking for a word or two. It is obvius you haven't. It is simple. Gay lifestyle is accepted in this country. However that does not mean it is right. How thick headed and foolish can someone be? I know the response will be that I am wrong because I don't agree with your views. But, I do believe the Bible states it and that is what the truth is. Go ahead and show me and tell me I am wrong. I ask one thing. Show me where it is written that I am wrong. You can't. Ha! You can say all you wnat. You can call me anything you wnat. But in the end everyone of you will see the truth. Just because you like it doesn't mean it is right. Hey Roy, you got it right. This country is almost to the point where you can't have free speech.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • CandyManHD

      @Jon.....Very well said. I love how people say they don't believe in God, or the Bible, but insist on quoting from it. I will still eat at Chick-fil-a.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Patricksday

      I agree with you, and if people wish not to support a stone age mindset, they can take their business else where, and those who do should go over board supporting his business.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    All this brohuha over a fast food company who's product can best be described as mediocre (maybe slightly above "the Colonel", but no where near the quality of Boston Market). While I support the rights of anyone to marry whomever they chose (provided that person is free to make their own choice), I also support the rights of a business owner to publicly state what he or she believes. If the owners of this company want to publicly state they are against gay marriage, let them. If they get bought out by someone else who has a different belief, let them. The thing is, based on the quality of their food, I am not exactly going out of my way to patronize one of their eateries.
    Frankly, I am more offended by their ham-handed legal actions against a company in Vermont that is making and selling "Eat Mor Kale" t-shirts. Chik-Fil-A is already getting flak for their history of fighting parody, even when covered under the "fair use" exemption. Now they have the "gay marriage" issue to contend with.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chris Van Beek

    This is America! Chick-fil-A has the right to run their business the way they see fit. If you don't like their view on certain issues, go eat elsewhere. Don't try to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Once again Christian values under attack! Those values, when followed, helped America prosper. Look at our economy now, I think we as a country are way off track.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. MiChip

    we are home...we just wish you would get out of it.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    They're fast food chain, why the hell are they saying anything about this subject anyway? The only thing they need to be worried about is if I want fries with that.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. justaminit

    How are they foing to insure that the chickens they are feeding us aren't gay and married? Will there be a chicken "pledge"?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    Why is Christianity even relevant anymore? It's a book of bronze age myths, about as valid as Greek or Pagan gods and goddesses. These people have had their chance to run the world. Now it's time for logic and reason to rule, not ignorance and hatred.

    I also love that Christians are more focused on what's going on in their neighbors' bedrooms than they are on what the rest of the Bible says to do. Like stone adulterers and non-virgins. ETC.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. cmh01

    I wonder how those who think gay marriage is an abomination explain to their gay family members or friends why they should not be able to marry someone they love. If they don't have any gay family members or friends (that they know of) then they are obviously just speaking out of ignorance. If they disown gay family and friends they they are speaking out of hate and that's worse.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      They're just going to say that they "love the sinner but hate the sin" or some attempt to appease their family members. If they can't accept someone as a whole, they can't love that person. If a so-called Christian does not support gay marriage, he or she should not marry a gay person. End of story.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. T

    I'm an openly gay man living in the South. I can surely say that I'm not upset with Mr. Cathy's comments, although I strongly disagree with him. The problem I have, is when $2 million of the company's money is being spent on anti-LGBT campaigns. Like the VP of PR, Mr. Perry, said, let the company stay out of the political arena, and let the government battle this. If Mr. Cathy wants to donate his own money to such campaigns, more power to him, but don't donate the company's money, because not everyone agrees with your principles. But, I respect his willingness to stand up to such a unpopular opinion.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    TO "IALSOAGREE" who said:
    "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"
    Pick up a dictionary, my friend. Webster's says:
    : 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.
    No hatred or intolerance was expressed. Only an expression of his own religious beliefs and saying that he didn't believe men should be able to marry men. Gay marriage is not a right, just like me saying I want to marry a dog is not a right just because I say I love it. Marriage has always been between man and woman, so extending it to being between man and anything other than woman, or woman and anything other than man is not marriage, and thus is not a civil right.
    Go Chick-Fil-A! I'm going there more often now.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Folks dont like to be forced to accept anything they disagree with. You can shout and throw a tantrum over it, But it doesn't seem to change things, The gay lifestyle is non productive and it goes against nature, It doesn't take religion to be repulsed by it, it comes naturally to a large portion of the population. For those of you who are tolerant of this choice I say Bravo. But it makes me ill at ease. and uncomfortable, My right to chose not to have these peoples choiced forced upon me are ignored. There the haters

      July 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lucy

    I applaud Chick-fil-A for standing up for their beliefs, especially closing the store on Sunday. Finally, a business with courage who won't bow to the PC agenda. If you don't like it, don't eat there. Simple as that. Personally, I go out of my way to support them.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      How can you say that hating someone because of their choices is a "value"? I mean, really. If I had a business, and I said I didn't support the right of Christians to worship as they please, would you be standing up for my "beliefs"? If I said blacks should return to the fields, would you stand up for my "beliefs"? If I said women needed to have all of their rights stripped, would you support my "beliefs"?

      I'm pretty sure you wouldn't, and saying that you support them for their willful ignorance makes you just as ignorant and hateful as this company. In fifty years, people are going to look back and wonder why people like you were so determined to deny others their rights. Just like we look back now and wonder why we denied equal rights to black people and women, way back fifty years ago and before.

      So, have fun being bitter and hateful. I know I'll be doing the right thing by supporting equality for all.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    I read the source article. Didn't see anything in there about hating or discriminating against anyone. Any person in this country has a right to support whatever causes they choose to. Nothing wrong with supporting traditional family values.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      True… that also goes for those who support tolerance and equality. Funny how it works both ways huh.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. neil

    this discussion is absurd. the man stated a religious belief and is non violently exorcising his personal rights. those buffoons who respond with vitriol are the ones with hate in their heads and who are so self obsessed as to be blinded to their own infantile shortcomings.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jimi

    A boycott is pointless; they've already written off any funds from those of us with open minds. Personally I am not gay, but one way to address this if you are, is to go with your partner as often as possible. Be sure to take as many of your friends with you as possible. Have a big LGBT-positive party in the restaurant every day; turn it into a local gay hangout. Sure, you're giving Mr. Cathy and company a bit of your money that way; but you're also changing making them see you in the only way they have any legitimate right to see you... as a paying customer. And that is the *only* way you can ever reach them.

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

      makes good sense, but they cant wrap there minds around your concept The gay community see things only one way, Our way or your a Bigot and a hater, To be labled as a bigot and a hater by the gay community means nothing to the rest of us Who realize its not that we hate you , we think you a bit odd but we dont want your life style forced into our Living room. So take it back to your bedroom and do what ever turns you on.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WILL


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

      @WILL The money they donate to political activist groups that try to encode their beliefs into law does affect policy.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Ignorance is bliss eh Will?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • pofo

      Donating money to effect policy is a two way street. The gays do it all the time whats wrong with the rest of us doing it?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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