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. Tony Heyes

    Which biblical idea of marriage – King Solomon's?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    They are founded by Christains. This is the Christain Stance. So why is anyone suprised by this. No bring on the Yummy chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. USAP

    Good for Dan Cathy. It takes courage to stand by your beliefs in public.
    Shop elsewhere if you choose, that is your right.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sherry

    It amazes me how people say Christians spew hate by saying they don't support gay marriage. I haven't seen any evidence that they have spewed hatred, just by saying they are against gay marriage. The problem is that we live in a society that will twist anything to conform to what they want to do. People are very self centered today, just walk down a street and it is very evident. Saying someone opposes gay marriage is not hatred it is sharing the what God commanded us to do.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • VTRob

      Good point Sherry and I agree with you to a certain degree. I think the idea of "hatred" comes into play because many Christian groups and organizations try to impose restrictions or laws to govern people from getting married. If the Christian stance was "we do not support gay marriage so don't call yourself Christian if you do..." then that would be OK. Its when you take your belief to the next level and deny other people their beliefs that it becomes a conflict.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jennifer

    So Mr. Cathy also opposes you if you have been divorced and remarried. Hmmm...I guess he doesn't mind also offending our Southern Friends, where the divorce rate is the highest in the country. Wait, didn't Chick-Fil-A originate in the South?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. ZombieHunter2012

    Gays are awesome and so is chicken, but this is America and people have the right to their own beliefs and the freedom to stand by them!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • LikeMike

      And people have the right to not buy their products based on the business trying to mix religion with sales. Lots of people I know are boycotting them for this. Probably won't make much difference, but with big corporations, they tend to follow their profit margins ahead of God.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. VTRob

    I think its great that they have stated there beliefs, I wish more companies would come out and say where they stand on issues. I don't agree with them and will not support them but that's ok.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. freebird1776

    I always get a chuckle from the gay community. Everyone HAS TO respect their point of view and their rights, BUT as soon as someone doesn't agree with them they get outraged. If the folks who disagree with them behaved the same way, we'd be arrested. You should try traveling outside of this "minority ruled" country, behave in the same manner, and see if you survive long enough to get back. What hypocrites! So amusing!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Bravo!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      This company donates money for laws to be enacted so gay families and individuals loose their civil rights. That is unamerican and not very christian. One thing is to have an opinion, another is to actively work to limit the rights of others. Read the 10 comandments or at least have the decency to respect the rights of other people. But why I am telling you this? You christians only know how to hate thy neighbors.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • hcdoty

      I have lived outside this alleged "minority ruled" country, where gay people are treated equal to straight people. Unless you're talking about conservative middle east, where anyone, gay or straight, can't even kiss in public without being inprisoned. This arguement is more about how the law of the US doesn't allow gay people to marry, which is supported by some outspoken Christians. Why does the law of the US have to follow Christian ideals? That does not sound democratic to me, that sounds like a monotheistic society, why not just go back to pre-colonial England, where you can follow the rule of the monarchy and their church? Then you don't have to deal with other people's beliefs. Europeans colonized America for freedom from religion, not to be ruled by it in our laws.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • freebird1776

      Eddie – Thanks for helping make the point – HC – Gay isn't a religion, it's a lifestyle. Also the US is a republic not a democracy. Also, thanks for helping make the point. BTW – not a christian comment. Always a good laugh. Thanks!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      Amen!!

      July 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eddie

    Is it not the whole point of being christian to hate others, hate themselves and eat plenty of fried food until they become obese. In the unlikely case that God actually exist, these hatemongers will have to justify why they hated their neighbors instead of loving them as Christ commanded.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. BNS-GA

    Biblical marriage? You mean polygamy??? ok !!!!! and stoning non virgins!!!! I love a good company policy based on the Bible!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jacquie

    Chick-fil-A has a right to believe what they want, but they are hypocrites. They willingly accept gay people's money when gay people buy their food. So maybe they will install a Gay-dar in their drive up so that their Stepford fake polite employees have time to spit in the gay persons food or not serve them. Now that it is confirmed that they hate those who are not like them, or are gay and secretly work for them, and then go off to pray to JAY-sus every Sunday since they aren't open, well...I think I will be spending my money on something else if I need to eat bad food. There is always stay at home and make food that won't kill you.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Go Chick-Fila

      Your comments make no sense either so you are saying just because a person does not agree with your stance and view they are hater. Lets think about that Who is the Real Hater. I applaud Chick-ila or standing on what they believe and not let people or society force them to become mindless drones since you think that we should all think a like and if we don't we must be HATERS. Your comments are ridiculous and offensive.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    They've always been over-priced. Their chicken is just chicken.

    I'm a huge fan of how they seem to be resisting this wicked peer pressure. CNN & the rest of the media machine will continue trying to convince folks to reject God's words. I hope these folks continue to KEEP God's words, unedited.
    But...
    Their chicken is still just overpriced chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      haha Im not a huge fast food fan myself but I may try them out now 😉 I agree abt the pressure, it's discusting how we're practically forced to celebrate a sin that literally makes us ill.

      July 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anniet1111

    When you are in business you can't discriminate against your customers be they gay, straight or whatever. the law is supposed to prevent them from discrimination when it comes to employees. as long as they keep their beliefs out of the business side of their lives...who cares what they believe.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Picabo75

    How is believing that the bible (and God) defines marriage as between a man and a woman equate to hate? Each person has a right to their beliefs, a right to defend their beliefs and a right to vote for laws that uphold their beliefs. How different is it from those that believe marriage should not be restricted by this definition? While I know that hate may be a driving factor for some on both sides, I believe that is the LOUD exception. Not the rule. I believe that God defines marriage as between a man and woman. Not because I hate and want to discriminate against those that are gay but because it is my belief and I defend it. I also believe that God gives each person agency and it is their God-given right to choose how they live their life. I must love others and not judge them. Defending my beliefs is not making a judgment or hating another, it is standing up for what I believe.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Anniet1111

      it isn't what's written in the bible but how some people use it to hate others. i applaud you for your stance.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Read It

      That question is very easy to answer. Have you ever read the Old Testament? It's a story about an insecure god who wanted to be the only god everyone loved so he killed everyone who didn't. Not hard to say the beliefs someone takes from a hate-filled book are, in fact, hate-filled beliefs.

      Good thing the New Testament came around and Jesus preached love. That's not sarcastic either. It's one of the first times in the entire Bible someone preaches tolerance of other belief systems. You must have just not gotten to that part of the Bible yet. I encourage you to finish the book.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • GatoPato

      If God or the bible tells you that gay people are bad or sinners or less deserving of respect or rights, it's still bigotry. I, personally, don't believe that God cares so MY God is not a bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • pete

      dam people are stupid, you can think what ever you want. However, if you think the USA should pass a law that states a man can only marry a woman, then you are hating on gay people.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      completely agreed

      July 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leroy

    God created Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve. We don't have Chick FlL A in our area but will support them when traveling. Leroy

    July 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • justapoint

      God didn't create Steve?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • pete

      Yeah, if god created adam and eve then he also created steve.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
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