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. Alex

    Just like with the Boy Scouts thing, so much energy is wasted on this. He never said they discriminate against anyone eating or working at the restaurant, just that those in the Cathy family support a certain view of marriage and family. The solution is really easy, if you don't like their beliefs, just don't eat there. The beauty of the United States is that we can all freely adopt our own beliefs and openly discuss them when asked.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rob

    Its just sickining that the media is gotten people to believe that if you disagree on anything realated to LBGT, you are bigoted and filled with hate. The government should not even be invovled in marriage. Guess what, the governement wasn't involved unti lthe 1800's when the govermenet tried to stop inter ratial marriage. Then the New Deal allowed the goverement to dictate not only who can marry but who gets what. This was a big mistake to let this happen by the American people. Time to take Goverment out of marriage. If a church will marry LBGT people, then there should be no problem with that. Just as anything we do, it should be untimatly between God and that person, if they believe in God.
    In terms of Chick -fil- a. The idea that you are going to stop buying their food is just as ridiculous. The only person your are hurting is the location owner. To my knowledge, Chick-fil-a has never treated any customer disrepectfully. This is just like people say they are going to boycot the local gas station. Guess what, you are not hurting the oil company. You are only hurting the family that owns that local station. Not allowing them to support their family in your community. Really smart. Keep up the hate I guess it must be what makes people happy these days.

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

    Wow! All this over "...comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press." Baptist Press? Seriously? This hasn't been news for decades. CNN certainly knows how to whip up the sheeple. The only menu item from chik-fil-a worthy to cross these exquisitely descriminating, gay tastebuds is their lemonade. Unfortunately for them, my own is better.

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

    Maybe it's just me but I don't understand how they're being hateful, bigotted, or dicriminatory. I know plenty of people who ar gay and Chick-fil-A has served them chicken sandwhiches the same way the serve straight customers. I've seen gay people work at Chick-fil-A and they get paid the same wage as straight people. I applaud them for sticking to their beliefs the same way someone who is gay does. I'm sorry but I cant get with the notion that gay people feel it's their right to control others beliefs and if people dont agree then their hateful. They spew the same venom they claim they are recieving.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @PlainJane They give money to groups that lobby to ban gay marriage. If they just had their beliefs and left it at that, I wouldn't have a problem.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • gooscientist

      Plainjane i completely agree ridiculous hypocrisy and they can't even see it or can and just don't care.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    Bwaahhhhaaaa!!!! Ummm, what self-respecting gay would ever eat at a place like that? Not because they are anti-gay, who cares. But because it's gross. Let all of the big fat Americans have it.... I am gay and Christian and agree that CFA should be abloe to say and do whatever they want and let them continue to cater to that shrinking minority.

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

    Finally a company that had the stones to tell it like it is. We in the midwest truly believe as the companys does.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Speak for yourself.

      'We' in the Mid-West do NOT believe as you do, Steve. I'll respect that you feel that way, but don't include me or mine in your generalities.

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

      Please do not speak for all of us. Your opinion is most certainly in the fast growing minority.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Observer

    The world-class hypocrite Cathy said "we are married to our first wives" as the Bible says. If he REALLY practiced the Bible, he'd discriminate against anyone divorcing and remarrying like the Bible says.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Cone

      Based on your comment it clear that you have not read the bible. There are biblical grounds for divorce. Go read some.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ragdoll00

    Scott, what law was passed? It is chick Fil-A we are talking about here. No law for or against their decision. So if you dont agree, dont buy their food. I will begin to buy more!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Ragdoll00 Their money helped pass Proposition 8 in California. It's also been behind activities to allow gay marriage in other states.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. pandaone

    Chick-Fil-A has been around a long time and i admire how
    they stay true to their Christian values and beliefs.

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

    It's ironic that Chik-Fil-A is being attacked for it's religious beliefs... I guess America really is dying.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Wait and see

      How come this is going to affect Chik-Fil-a economically? I'll continue enjoying their delicious meals. So, if I'm mad with my mom, wife or partner I'll stop eating their food? People, you gonna starve if you keep getting mad about everything!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      It's called freedom of speech.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cone

    Why people call his comments hateful? He just expressed his believes as any other American should be able to do . There is NOTHING hateful about it. If you don't like it go eat somewhere else, that is your choice. Why do we need to be so politically correct that we can not talk openly about something that is so basic that was a foundation of this country, religion, freedom, free of speech. Gay people have their parades and activities and they don't care if they offend anyone. But don't let them catch anyone saying anything about them and all of the sudden is hateful and provocative. Grow up!! We have bigger problems than this!! I'm a Christian and I believe in what I think is correct, that does not mean you have to believe in the same things. Christian take as much criticism as any other group and we don't get all upset about it. If you want to be gay then be gay is your choice, but be an adult and mature enough to deal with any comment without going bashing the other person. I do not eat at this place often enough but from now on I think I will. Good for you Mr. Cathy!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      But they are hateful beliefs. Yes, he's free to express his beliefs just as the rest of us are free to express our reactions to those beliefs. When someone publicly announces their thoughts or beliefs, the conversation doesn't just end there. Freedom of Speech leads to Freedom of Dialogue. A person expresses a belief that places one group of people above another group of people and guess what? That's going to cause a reaction. One person's expression of free speech leads to others doing the same thing, expressing free speech.

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

      That's exactly what people are doing. There's been a boycott of Chik-fil-@ for some time. The major media outlets are just now catching up and throwing fuel on the fire. So people are going to eat somewhere else. And Dan Cathy can say what he likes and believe what he likes. He shouldn't hide it! The fact is that the more organizations like Chik-fil-@ and the Boy Scouts of America come out about their anti-gay stance and make it public knowledge, the faster positive change will occur in this society.

      It was the same way with the civil rights movement of the 60s. We had the same exact arguments then, and the end result will be the same. The more you fight it, the more people will stand up and fight back. This isn't an anti-Christian campaign. It's a campaign to change the way Christians view gay people. And it's working. People like Dan Cathy are exposing themselves and stirring up far more opposition than could be garnered by his opponents alone!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jay

    So, if I as a corporate officer of a major food service company came out and said I thought black people were inherently inferior, I wouldn't be hater or a bigot? But it's ok for Mr. Cathy to say the same thing about gay people? FYI that is the exact definition of racism, but it's morally acceptable to allow "Christians" to say the same thing about other groups of people who can't change their inherent nature.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • AlBr

      There is no act of discrimination against any person when stating an opinion. The policy of the company is that they will not discriminate in hiring–and have included gays in that non-discriminatory policy. However, they do not support gay marriage. You, on the other hand, obviously do and this is your perogative.
      I applaud Chick-Fil-A for their courage to state their opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • gooscientist

      First of all Jay he didnt say Gays were inferior. All he said is he supports traditional marriage as defined in the bible. He did not say all gays are terrible human beings etc etc. People that are taking his comments way too far just perpetuate racism and bigotry of all kinds. All these hateful comments towards him and his company are 10000 times worse than anything he personally said on the subject. Funny how hate filled people are about supposed "hateful" comments.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. c

    if you want gay chicken, go to koo koo roo in west hollywood....who really give's a care about what the owners think of gay marriage? the truth is, gay marriage is weird and unnatural.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kim

    How does disagreeing with someone's view make you a hate monger? An.d if that's the case gays are just as filled with hate. I swear the gay community acts like a spoiled child.
    I'll take a dozen of chick fil a's please.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jesus is gay

    Only the truly ignorant believe in god. A high ranking priest in the catholic church as well as seveal ministers from other demoninations have come out and admitted that they and the other high ranking priests don't believe in god and only use their positions to maintain power and control over the simpletons of the world. I'm not preaching hate, I'm preaching the truth. My proof... Christians will flat out ingore all evidence that proves there is no god and ignore all discoveries that contradict the bible. And let's not forget, the most horrific and evil acts in history have been committed by Christians in the name of their imaginary god.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ragdoll00

      That is why it is called FAITH. But you will find out about that when you stand before him and are cast into Hell!

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

      Prove to me there is no God. You can't do it. God bless you.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Jesus is gay: please provide ANY actual evidence to support your claims, and not just say a generic statement that is speculation/opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | 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