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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Dan

    Who really cares what a corporation thinks. Wait, I forgot, Romney said corporations are people.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    I'm going to eat at Chik-Fil-A for lunch today. Your stupid gay loving society cannot bully companies into gayness. GOD BLESS CHIK FIL A!!

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

      It's like any other fast food restaurant dishing out fat and clogging arteries. You're free to eat there or not as is anyone else

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

      Funny...because gays spend $64 billion annual on tourism and travel alone each year. Business need gays. Chick Fil A made a very bad public affairs mistake.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Briscarben

    It'll be funny to see all those people who claim they will never spend a single dime at Chick-fil-A again buying themselves a chicken sandwich in a week or two.

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

      Problem is 1/2 the country doesn't even have a Chik-fil-A in their state.

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

      You underestimate the conviction of gay people.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ragdoll00

    It is not Hate! it is a belief and we all have things we agree with and disagree with. It should be respected. Why is it if someone doesnt think the way another person does or does not go with the "popular" stance then they are HATERS! It is called an opinion and beliefs. I admire this! As a Christian and living in a country that seems to be removing itself from the values it was founded on KUDOS Chick Fil A.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Ragdoll00 It's hate when you pass laws to ban something that does not harm you in any way. Let your God sort it out.

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

      I HATE to tell you, but denying to others the things you hold most important in life is pure HATE!

      July 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    Consumers have the right to decide where they want to spend their money, it's their choice. It's also the choice of Mr. Cathy and Company to express their personal beliefs. The comments shown in this article do not 'bash' gay marriages or lifestyle – if you read the comments again, you will note that he says, "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...."

    I like Chick-fil-a, and whether I agree or disagree with their position on gay marriages, I do respect their opinion and commitment to stand by what they believe even at the risk of losing business. I have also supported the idea that we have the freedom to believe in what we believe – one of the founding principals of this Country. Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Cathy, or want to eat at Chick-fil-a or don't want to eat there – go for it! That's your choice and I personally respect that freedom this Country allows! (side note – if you have NEVER tried Chick-fil-a, you definitely need to at least try it! Good food, friendly service, and it doesn't seem to matter if you are eating in Florida or California, you will get a consistent experience!)

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

      Just remember, if you think boycotting your local Chick-fil-a hurts the company it isn't likely. The person your are hurting is the local store owner. So if you want to hurt the small business person in your community and stop allowing them to support their family, go ahead.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • True Christian

      Gays spend over $64 billion annually on travel and tourism alone in this country. Chick Fil A made a very dumb public affairs mistake that they will regret. It's just not smart business to mix religion unless you are only seeking a certain small christian group of customers and low profits.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • goodasyours

      i totally agree with you - good food and good service no matter where you go - it seems we have lost our ability in this great country to think and talk out our problems and differences - seems al the libs want to do is release so much hate on someone or something they don't agree with - even the libs have a choice - just like you said

      July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Marge

      How much did they pay Tom for that Public Relations bit?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vava Voom

    They didn't even say anything hateful. They're Christians–of course they don't think gay marriage is OK. You have to live in a dark room lit only by a TV that airs your favorite views to think that a Christian company just magically supports all the opinions that you support. So what if they don't support gay marriage! They serve gay people chicken just like they do straight people. Diasagreement does not mean hate. That's the principle that liberals advoate when they are critical of American foreign policy. So why not advocate that principle now?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. lynn

    Marriage is between a man and a woman , I am tired of every time you use your freedom of speech you get blasted . That is why we all have the right to speak out. If you don't believe in gay marraige that is your right. Gay people seem to think we should all agree with them .

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

      @lynn And we're supposed to live in a country that does not pass laws that favor any one religion. Ensuring that the government only allows marriage between a man and women is doing just that.

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

      I feel the same way, but in reverse. I'm tired of the majority saying marriage is between a man and a woman and yet a divorce is more likely than not for their marraige in the US today. If it's so sacrosanct, there should be no divorce allowed. Of course, I don't fee that way because I'm only concerned about secular marriage. Whether religions bless a secular marriage or not is of no concern to me – i.e., reilgious freedom.

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

      I have no problem keeping marriage between a man and a woman. That being said, if you want to do that you just have to remove any legal benefits associated with it: like tax benefits, insurance plans, visitation rights, etc.... Holding legal marriage in the United States to Christian values is a clear violation of church and state. There is no argument there! You can't have it both ways.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @Scott ....... What makes straight or gay marriage any different legally than polygamy. What makes child marriages any different legally than arranged marriage? Societal norms. Not God's approval!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • wimsy

      Sad to report that there are two Chick-fil-A shops in Massachusetts, but happy that neither is anywhere near me.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Drake

    More hate from the "educated" and "tolerant."

    No Chicks where I live. Too bad, because I'd eat there regularly.

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

      i will eat there more - just because mr cathy took the correct biblical stance

      July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Julie

    I can respect them as a Christian establishment ; however, I will not spend my money there anymore because I believe that they are using the same twisted bible teachings as the Christians did many years ago to justify racism so if racism was legal today they would not have a problem with being openly racist.

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

      ok, enjoy McDonalds. LOL!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ragdoll00

    You have the choice of being a chick Fil A customer or not. Do not bash their right to run their business their way!

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

      @Ragdoll00 Their donations to activist groups is not part or running their business.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Ragdoll00 Stop repeating the same thing over and over and engage people.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Right. Blacks should not eat at the "whites only" counter, either.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephan

      What! They get to bash gays, yet we can't bash the business? Really?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbmw

      Sorry but according to Obammamama its not their business its the governments...so we should direct all of the is anger at our current administration.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      I love the double standard. Chic fil a has the right to do whatever they want but somehow we are not allowed to say whatever we want.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • cf

      They have their right to run their business, but we have the right to disagree and the right to voice our opinion! Don't tell us to shut up just because we don't agree with this bigotry!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clara

      And I have the right to spread the news of their intolerance to all. I'm putting a sign on my car back window today. Boycott Chik-Fil_A.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      They sure do have the right to have the right to run their business like they want to for example let a love affair take place between two employees but taking a stance against gay marriage borderlines on discrimination which would not likely be considered allowed.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Portland tony

    Don't care if the devil himself prepares their chicken. If it's good, I'll eat it. I don't plan on renewing my marriage vows in a fast food joint anyway!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I support Chick-fil-a and their decision to make a stand for what is right. Since when did it become so horrible to not agree with someone else's lifestyle. The LBGT group needs to go away and find something else to complain about...get your lunch at McDonalds.

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

      @David It became horrible when they donate to groups that try to motivate the government to ban their right to marry.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. JanetMermaid

    I've spent my last dollar at Chick-fil-A. Not all beliefs are acceptable, and hate definitely falls into that category. They want to claim they are "good Christians" while still judging others. They are figuratively "throwing stones" - which I do believe their own Jesus told them not to do.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. Scott B

    @mike No, our country is supposed to have no laws that favor any one religion.

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

      Laws in almost all countries except Muslim countries are based on Bible. It tell that man is born free.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. After 39 Years

    To all the Chik-fil-A defenders:
    Yes, the company and/or the owner have every right to state their beliefs. There is no attempt to stop that, though one would hope that people become more enlightened as they age and stop using a book of fables as their means of getting through life.
    The real argument against this company is that the owner has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and has odnated to organizations that work to discriminate against the LGBT community. And yes, he has every right to do so... but don't you think that the LGBT community has that same right to be angry with that company and to publicize those lack of moral values so that others can refuse to "donate" to that cause?

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

      So are you saying that they do not have a right to do whatsoever they want with their money? Chik-Fil-a has a right to do whatsoever they want with their money – regardless of whether you approve of its use or not. They are not a public company. They are a private company.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172