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. BobD

    Mike G: a comment like yours serves no useful purpose. You do prompt a question. If not "them", then who does? Sheesh!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Boomer Sooner

    I do not think Jesus should have ANYTHING to do with chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • pattic

      To the point – best post of all!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      Are you saying that Jesus shouldn't eat chicken?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. luarke

    I can't believe this is blowing up like it is. I have known for decades what Chick-Fil-A's values were. I did some research to see why they weren't open on Sunday. I found exactly what Mr. Cathy said. Another point, I know for a fact they do NOT discriminate in their hiring. I know several gay and lesbian people that work at Chick-Fil-A. Get over it people. There are many other worse issues you can be wasting your time on!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bobington

    I love some of the responses, especially the people saying that Chick-Fil-A are a bunch of hate mongers and how much they hate hate mongers and how much they hate Chick-Fil-A and how much they hate people that don't agree with them. Who is really filled with hate?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      i read all of the comments – no one said they hate anything. they said that not tolerating other people is hateful. get it?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. steve

    really? because you weren't enjoying your food before this article came out? that might be the food not the people.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. ck

    Those of you who are responding with hateful, vengeance-laced, mean-spirited comments are the haters here. Mr. Cathy is just politely stating his religious beliefs. I don't recall him gay-bashing or making ANY hateful remarks. Remember, what is in the heart of a man comes out of his mouth.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Interested48

      Exactly – garbage in – garbage out.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike in SA

    Don't like his stance but here's the deal...this is the US and we have a neat little thing called Freedom of Speech. You don't like his stance, boycott his facilities; you do like his stance, go there twice a week.

    Gays and Lesbians – get over yourselves, it's not all about you. As I said above, you don't like his stance, don't go there, but he is allowed his opinions, as are you.

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

    TY – my guess is that you have never been discrimiated against or you would understand. No one is against anyone having a strong moral belief. What we are against is those people trying to force the rest of us to live by those beliefs. Don't you see the difference?

    How would you react if Islamic Americans ....... who also have strong moral beliefs ....... tried to have laws passed that forced your wife, mother or sister to wear a burqa in public? There is nothing wrong with wearing one if this is your belief, but to force everyone to else to is wrong.

    That is what you "christians" are doing and then calling the rest of us intolerant because we don't want to be forced to live by your beliefs. I think you need to check in the mirror and then define intolerant.

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

      Bill,
      How is Chik Fil A forcing you to do anything? They aren't forcing you to eat their food are they?
      They are doing what is their right as Americans. They are speaking their mind on subject matter that is important to them.
      Would you suggest we restrict the rights of those from speaking their mind if their opinions don't agree with YOURS?
      How are you then any different?
      Again I say, you must be a liberal. Only people I know who think like that are liberals.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      amen!!!

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

      Bill – out of curiosity, what sort of influence or changes in behavior is the restaurant forcing on people? All they said is they do not support gay marriage. That is not an indictment to force anyone to change their personal lifestyle. Honestly, there is more of the "you will change or else" rhetoric being aimed at Christians than there is towards the gay community

      July 19, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Mr. C. is not trying to force you to do anything. He is merely stating his moral standards in public, standards which you refuse to accept. That is not hate. That is not discrimination. That is intolerance, but it's intolerance of evil behaviour, and that's laudable. If you are offended by that then that's your fault. Admit it and stop spewing hate.

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

      @Jon – Intolrance of evil behavior? Exactly what is that evil behavior? I'm a gay Christian. I wasn't aware I was evil.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • hcgwarrior

      Bill.....first of all .... watch the news hun. Christians were stoned here recently at a Muslim 'Pride' parade. Christians have been discriminated against since Jesus roamed the earth. Where have you been?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. steve

    "let the few anti christians hate" really? so because anyone is christian they do not hate? i'd like to see that statement fly. and what defines an "anti christian" anyways?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • LMills259

      Well, I'm anti-Christian toward particular Christians who show extreme intolerance in the name of God. And ya know what? I don't apologize for it. I can't stand those people.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    not all gay people lisp. or wear purple speedos or things of "gay color".

    i have a friend who is gay, wears a suit and tie to work every day working for a major business credit approving company.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. samuraikatana1

    People are surprised by this? Like the article says, Chick-Fil-A was founded by Christians and continues to be run by Christians. What did we think their stance would be on this issue? The difference here is Chick-Fil-A isn't trying to shove their beliefs down anyone's throat, they were asked a question and they gave an answer. An answer I don't agree with personally but I respect their honesty. Do I agree with their beliefs? No. Am I surprised by this? No. Will I continue to buy their delicious chicken? Yes. All you people saying you'll never go to Chick-Fil-A again because of this seriously need to grow up.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I find it interesting that those who oppose Chik Fil A over their stance on gay marriage use words like "hate" when referring to the company but yet they post responses that are themselves hate filled.
    Must be liberals because only liberals think the rules apply to everyone but them.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Christian2

      "Stupid" is probably the better word. Why would a business announce something like this unless they are "proud", any real christian knows that pride is the reason the devil was kicked out of heaven.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Duplicity undermines any position. Like yours.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      BTW, jake. Amen means we are all agreed, which we're not.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blue state patriot

    Jesus would boycott Chick-fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. BJ

    What a shame you can come out and proclaim any other religious belief in this country buddahist, islam, etc, etc but stand up and proclaim to be a christian and proclaim God's Word and you are automatically called a hater. God loves all people as do true chrisitians. But God also hates sin and there is a distinct difference. Everyone also claims that God didn't say anything is His Word but you never hear the same arguement about the Koran etc etc etc HMMMMMM strange isn't it some people need to study history and see what principals this wonderful country we live in the USA was founded on religious freedom. You don't have to agree with my religious beliefs not more than I have to agree with yours and i don't ask for special treatment just fair and equaitable treatment . God Loves All there is no room for hatred regardless or your preferences in life.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    It's kind of ironic really that the biggest outburst of "hate" I ever see about gay marriage is by gay marriage supporters who completely freak out when someone doesn't agree with them. All arguments go like this:

    Anti-Gay Marriage person: I don't think gay marriage is good for society and my religion says it's wrong
    Gay Marriage person: You bigoted, hate filled, ignorant monster!!!! HOW DARE YOU!!! I hope your entire life is consumed in flames and despair!!!!11!!!!1!!

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

      i still have a copy of a PREACHER telling the children in his congregation to beat up gays. wanna see it? it sounds pretty hateful to me......

      July 19, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Reason & Logic

      Are you kidding me? Vehement rejection of prejudice is what ended slavery, ridicule of the disabled, gave women the right to vote, allowed people in this country to worship as they please. When you embrace prejudice you ignore the values this country was founded upon.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Seth

      Since when does not agreeing with a person make that hate? All the people making statements about how Chick-Fil-A are hateful and bigots need to look up the meaning of those words, and check their own posts. Just because some one doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they hate you. Chick-fil-a said they will treat their customers with honor, dignity and respect – some thing the LGBT community / supporters can't seem to do.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
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