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. john

    When does stating ones belief become judgement? The problem is not the statement, it is in the interpretation. Just as alll of us have a freedom to believe what we want to, Dan Cathy should also be given that privilege. Mr. Dan Cathy, I admire you for standing firm on your belief. Your belief or public declaration of it will not stop me from patronizing your stores. Otherwise, my conscience tells me that I will then become the hateful bigot. Your have a right to your beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. casey

    Christianty is such a hateful religion and one that deserves to die out.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. bill

    good for them

    July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Shawn

    I support Chick-fil-A's position to express their values. It's seems to me that the gay population are the hate mongers, they are the ones who are hating on the companies right to free speech and expression. Chick-fil-A didn't say they hated gays, they just said that their family values are rooted in traditional biblical terms. There is no greater power than GOD and God has set the bar on values.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You and those making post similar to yours are apparently too stupid to see your own hypocrisy. Of course Chick-Fil-Hate has the right. Just as others have the right to disagree with them.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. alex

    Well done Chick-fil-a! Somebody needs to stand tall and defind what they believe in. It's not hate if it's true and best for society. To Gods glory.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. pattic

    It's not about hate. I choose to spend my money with companies that support my values, and you all are welcome to do the same. Not being a Christian, my values align with equality, justice, fairness and the philosophy of live and let live. I can certainly understand why Christians don't feel this way, having been brought up Catholic and converting to Baptist in my 30s. Christians are taught that there is only one way to be, their way, and to hell with the rest of the world. It's all about judgmentmentalism (if that is a word, if not I get credit for coining it). The one bible quote you will NEVER hear a Christian utter is Matthew 7:1 – "Judge not that ye be not judged." Think I'm wrong, go through the comments on any of these stories and see for yourself. So you spend your dollars where you choose, I'll spend mine where I choose, and the world will keep right on spinning.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Richie

    Hooray for Chick-fil-a . It's about time a company stands up for it's beliefs. Why don't you gays just keep it to yourselves. We don't need to know. Don't flaunt it, it's not cool. Being gay is a sickness that needs to be addressed.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Norm

    This is easy if you do not separate your personal believes from your business I will not separate them from my eating habits. No more Chick fill a for me. I only ate there one a week or so, no biggie.Anyhow good for them for coming clear about their discriminatory policy that makes the decision easy for me

    July 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • pattic

      What he said!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. BobD

    Mr Black: You say, "You really have no moral right to stand in the way of someone else's happiness," Then I assume you support unfettered drug use; the easy access to all types of firearms; school vouchers for all parents; the apprehension of bank robbers, pedophiles, rapists; etc. After all, those folks are just seeking their personal "happiness". If you do, then I guess I must admire your consistency, although I don't believe it for a minute. And as far as the "judge" thing you include in your post; are you in favor of disbanding our legal system too? Careful when you pick and choose your quotes.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • pattic

      What a ridiculous post. Please explain how what an adult does in their own bedroom with another consenting adult is in any way comparable to crimes against society. Of course the pursuit of happiness has limits in that you cannot infringe on the happiness or safey of others, but we are all free to operate within those confines. And as a country we have set up laws and consequences to deal with those who break the laws. That is completely different from damning another person simply because you don't like their (perfectly legal) choices. This is not a comment about ALL Christians, some of my loved ones are, but about the right-wing, hate-filled, judgmental bunch: Sir, you must be a Christian JUDGING from your ignorance and lack of intellectual ability to grasp the nuances in Mr. Black's argument. Again – Matthew 7:1 – "Judge not lest ye be judged."

      July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    If you don't like his beliefs. Don't eat there. Eat more Cow!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. james

    "Traditional Family". It is funny how the Christians have changed the definition of marriage to suit them. Traditional family means that the man is head of the household and the woman is nothing more than property. Polgamy is even accepted in the bible. According to the 10th Commandent, the wife is no better than the mans donkey. Women do not have equal rights according to the bible. Why arent the women throwing fits? In Matthew and Luke, Jesus says we are to hate mother, father and our children if we are to be his disciples. Paul said that it was best to avoid marriage. It is time that Christians stop picking and choosing text of the bible like a smorgasbord to fulfill their hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      You should re-read the 10 commandments.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      It's ironic that you say all this as you do the exact thing you scold the Christians for doing: picking and choosing. Every example you gave was both taken out of context and ignored the rest of the argument for each example.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      The traditinal family is PC code for "Christian family" and making women chattles is not and never has been a part of that. Stop inventing "facts' to support your arguement.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mello

      Women aren't throwing fits because they know the comments of your post is a flat out lie.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • really?

      Wait...picking and choosing from the Bible...isn't that what you just did to try to prove your point?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Imminent

      *sigh* Just another Christian hater who (like 99% of hate mongers) has misquoted a book (Bible) that he doesn't believe in. Why are you even here if you can't objectively express your point of view in such a way it helps people? You do more to hurt yourself than support anyone or anything.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      That is a straw man argument and has no basis in fact.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dyslexic Dog

      amen!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skinsfan66

      Your ignorance is showing. Oviously you are not a Chirstian and know nothing about Christianity. You say our wives are 'Property"? Christians or to love their wives a Jesus loved the Church and gave his life for it. And as for the man being head of the household, that means he's held responsible for providing for and protecting his household. He is to lead by example. You should get your facts straight before you make accusation. Oh sorry, Liberals don't use facts, they get in your way don't they?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      wow you are a great example of someone using the Bible out of context. Perhaps you should remove the plank from your eye, kid.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • trav

      your mind is warped. read what you want

      July 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff J

    It's ironic too me how much 'Hate' people are spewing to prove a point that Chick-Fil-A are hatemongers.

    If you spew a lot of venom towards another person or party, with accusations of their hatred, aren't you putting yourself in the exact same position as them?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Some guy

    You know who also stood by their beliefs? Hitler.
    And secondly, all of this crap about god saying this or that – god has said nothing, all we have is an old book that is compiled from the rantings of opiate-riddled apostles, which has been revised hundreds upon hundreds of times. We probably don't even know who's word it actually is anymore. I find it interesting that there are so many people that simply hate gays and will rally behind whatever swinging dick decides to martyr fellow humans.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Some guy ... Argue with facts not the imaginings of a hate-filled brain.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Felipe in Georgia

      ...and Abraham Lincoln...Martin Luther King, Jr....other horrible examples of people standing by their beliefs. Your argument is lacking. Have you ever studied the history of the bible? Can you provide examples of what has 'changed' from the original text? Does a new translation from another language equal changes? Thanks for posting...now, begin to educate yourself before "spewing hate"!!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Imminent

      If you lack the mental capacity to back of your point of view, you should probably just not say anything. You're doing a 100 times more damage to yourself and the gays by even saying anything. Some supporter you are.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • trav

      You have no sense. Repent

      July 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bryan

    Freedom of speech. Unless you disagree with whatever the "flavor of the month" is. I still don't see why such a small minority gets soooooo much attention. If we all ignore them, they'll go away. Or atleast all their public crying will. They can sleep with whomever they want, I don't care. I'm just sick of listening to it all the time.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      It seems you do care, if you decided to take the time to write your opinion. I find it hilarious when people say they don't care who someone else sleeps with, but they do care who thet marry. Marriage is not going to be tarnished by gays, it was tarnished long ago by "traditional" families.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Imminent

      It seems J is here to hurt any cause more than support one. More and more gays will get married. And, as time goes on and the excitement wears off, they will ultimately "tarnish" marriage as you so intelligently put it. People will be people. Those with a truly positive belief will do better than those without. Thanks for coming here and proving it.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BMW1074

    Used to be a priority for me to eat there when I would visit the south since we don't have them in my area. Now, I will be using my right to choose to spend my dollars elsewhere. I cannot support Chick-fil-A, nor the Boy Scouts for that fact, from this point forward.

    Traditional marriage? Please!! We straight have not proven traditional marriage is threatened by gays any more than the damage that so many straights have caused because of their own actions. Quit hiding behind a collection of imaginary stories you refer to as a religion. Gays are not a threat, they are human beings who want the same things we do. I have some wonderful friends and family members that are gay, one of which has been in a 17 year relationship. Guess what, that 17 years sounds pretty traditional to me! Moreso that these average 2-5 year marriages going on by straights.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • southerner

      Just stay out of the south.

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

      Rhetoric isn't helping. There isn't anything wrong with traditional marriage. If it doesn't work for you, fine. But don't spout fallacies and rhetoric to try and solidify your view point. There is a direct correlation between marriage and religion. Marriage values are slipping because religious people are ridiculed by non-religious for their beliefs. The same thing is happening to gays. It's easier to act like the Romans than stand your ground these days. In other words, morale corruption worsens and general human decency continue to fall.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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