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.

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soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Holly

    Whether you agree with their views or not, it's still a free country and we still have freedom of speech. They have the right to whatever views they feel are right, and they are well aware they will lose some customers because of it, just the same as Nabisco did when they posted the rainbow Oreo. If you don't agree with ANY company's views, then don't be their customer, it's that simple.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • VPlachy

      I agree wholeheartedly. In addition, those "Christians" that are judging others for their belliefs are not true "Christians". True Christians leave it up to God to decide who is right or wrong. True "Christians" live their lives following God's laws, not using their own interpretations of God's laws.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • TaseT

      That's right Holly, it is a free country and they can say whatever they want. However, people don't have to buy their product, and they are also free to stand outside of their establishments and say whatever they want.

      This is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest business moves of the year, maybe the decade. Gay marriage, like all civil rights issues, will eventually get ironed out as a right of individuals. Whether you agree with it or not personally is of no consequence, the legal argument that marriage is "between one man and one woman" is flimsy at best.

      How many businesses from the Civil Rights era who spoke out on favor of Jim Crow Laws are still around?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • hisprovoker

      I'm proud to be an American, a country founded on religious freedom, our fore fathers dared not to allow such behavior;s as their wisdom and reliance on what God's word says about all the values that we have including what we try to mess up today. His patience won't last forever, and Sin is Sin and the consequences of Sin is death. America is dying, just because a company stands on principles that it believes are biblical based, I say Thank You, i appreciate your stance.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Elizabeth

    Switch to Zaxby's ... better tasting, best milkshakes and they like everyone!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Since when did the world start revolving around LGBTs? Why do they make everything about them? And why do they complain about CFAs "hating" by responding with so much hate?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • yes...

      Well said Mike.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • William Patterson

      That's what I've been screaming, too. I don't care if gay people get married or not, but why is this the issue that seems to define our time in history and indeed all of us as individuals? I don't think that opposition to gay marriage makes one a bad person, just like support for it doesn't.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • MissJinx

      Its not that the world is revolving around LGBTs, its that everyone should be treated equally and isn't. Its like saying in 1962 that the world was revolving around "coloreds", it wasn't... it is all about equality. This is a hot topic because human rights should be discussed openly, and without hate. God loves everyone, no matter what god you are talking about...

      July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. David B

    Sad company. I am glad I never ate at one of those restaurants and now never will.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. DenFren

    Keep your beliefs out of my meal. Eat more Kale! It is less filling and judgment free.

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

      On that note, I'm going to START eating there, just to irritate any of these no good preachy people who might take notice.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jack

    A few anecdotal comments from morons isn't journalism about a public profession of faith by a corporate leader isn't journalism. Sigh (why is it necessary to school so many journalists these days?)

    July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Who still thinks Jesus is coming back? its only been 2000 + years. The bible is a great book, it lays out a great way to live, it speaks of eternal punnishment for being bad and an eternal reward for being good, its a nieve way of thinking but it gives billions of people hope, so i get the concept. But it is a story book! It is holding the world back from progressing.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • David in FL

      I do, and He will and whenever that day comes I'll be happy, and waiting til He does come. The Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, it is not some anecdotal story. Don't believe me? Read the Book of Mormon which is another testament that backs it up.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Publius

    Under "traditional marriage," a woman is her father's property until she becomes her husband's slave.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • marshakat

      well said. How can they talk about marriage values when they have divorce. I remember my vow very clearly. 'What god has blessed, let no man sunder'

      July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bobington

    Why do gay people say we should keep our belief to ourselves if they don't agree with them, but they are out there just about every day throwing their beliefs in our faces and saying we are full of hate if we dont agree with them?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Bobington Because they aren't trying to get your lifestyle banned. Your side is the one that's trying to use the government to impose their beliefs.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      Because your "belief" is based on a story book, with no empirical facts. You're perfectly happy saying "the world is 4000 years old because that's the timeline defined in our holy book" as opposed to using carbon dating, levels of sediment, fossils, and the physics about how time and space work to form that "opinion" (which isn't "opinion", it's fact). Opinion can be based on wild speculation OR fact – it's subjective. Belief is subjective. Anti-LGBT is "opinion", not based on fact. There is no fact that states discrimination is acceptable, except in your faith and belief.

      All which points to another fact: that you will be able to ignore this post because it conflicts with your belief or opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • WP

      Because that's how they work. You're not supposed to "push" your beliefs on anyone, or even mention them, for that matter. They, however, have the schools, the press and Hollywood to inundate every mind with their positions all hours of the day.

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

      You are absolutely RIGHT! I for one am SICK of it!!!!!. For everyone to you SICK, Demented, sons-of-B-hes that won't eat Chick-fil-A again.... rest assured I can find 10 CHRISTIANS WHO WILL!!!!!!!! So who the HELL cares if you never set foo in a Chick-fil-A ever again!!!!!!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      My side? Im not out there trying to make laws for anything, why does "your side" always point the ifnger like that?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      Beliefs, opinions, facts and theories can be completely different things, Theory – the universe started with the big bang, most likely true, but cant be proven 100% yet. Opinion – Gay marriage should be allowed or banned, not right or wrong, just an opinion (unless you act on it then it can possible to be right or wrong, but just saying it isnt right or wrong). In my opinion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are tasty, but not so to everyone. Fact: real peanut butter contains peanuts, say what you will, but they are in there. Belief: I believe I can fly, doesnt mean I can or that it is true or a fact.

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

      Wher does this whole 400 or 6000 year old wold nonsense come from? I have never met anyone, christian or not, that actually believes that.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. chris

    It seems to be fine when JC Penny and Target come out in support of gays and their lifestyle. Good for Chick-fil-a, will continue to support the business.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. BigotsAreEveryWhere

    I used to eat at Chick-fil-a every morning. I won't be visiting there business anymore. It may not make a difference, but I just don't want to support such a bigoted business anymore. People want to say how great they are supporting their christian beliefs. I laugh because this is just another example of cherry picking from the Great Book of Multiple Choice (bible)

    July 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Chiken Yum

      Boo-hoo. Cry me a river. So someone doesn't agree with you and your agenda. THAT IS LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD! If you expect absolutely everyone to agree with your deviant behavior, maybe Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny can help you be more persuasive. How childish can you be?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chiken Yum

    Boo-hoo. Cry me a river. So someone doesn't agree with you and your agenda. THAT IS LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD! If you expect absolutely everyone to agree with your deviant behavior, maybe Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny can help you be more persuasive.

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

      Choke on your chicken bone.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    Have you seen how chickens are treated before many of them mechanically, and often not completely, have their throats slit, to be boiled alive to remove their feathers? Google video: EARTHLINGS for a real wake-up call. Then go back to enjoying your chicken, cow & fish.

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

      Exactly, Eric. Nobody seems to understand the real issue here, that this is a morally corrupt industry, and no prattering on about "family values" can change that.

      It's one thing to eat meat from animals that you raise yourself and humanely slaughter (I don't support that, but I know some people think they need that protein). It's another thing to confine the animals in the cruelest conditions possible, kicking them and stomping them, etc., and then killing them in the most painful way possible, by assembly line. Then, since WE don't have to watch the cruelty, we chow down on the muscles and organs of the dead animals, smothered in ketchup.

      Who gives a flying flip about LGBT issues or "christianity", when this insanity is going on.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    freedom

    July 19, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Greg

    Thank you, Chick-Fil-A! At least one company stands up for one man/one woman as God meant for it to be. You won't have to worry about the bottom line either as I and many others will now spend more of our money in your restaurants. Keep up the good work and keep your morals and values.

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