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. Wait and see

    Hey people. It just matter of time. Very soon we will find out who is right and who is not. Times we are living are not only critical but today, bad is good and good is bad and human races ideas have grown to a point where they only believe in what they think and NOT on how the Supreme Creator things. We should not hate people but we should not condone practices that are totally opposed to our natural design physically and psychologically speaking regardless of what we humans believe. Again, this is a topic that is going to be clarified and corrected for good very soon. Sit down and stay tuned 

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Johnny Ryall

    That's cool, live your life how you choose and run your business that way too. I disagree with that, and think it is very closed minded and will choose not to patronise your place. It easy, vote with your wallet.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmy

    I dont like it but I still am going to have to eat there chicken biscuits, But I think people should be more inraged by the fact there not open on Sundays WTH when is that going to stop.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. MateoinSLC

    add another log to the divisiveness fire going on in this country – the outrage at Rush for his 1st Amendment comments and his sponsors run, people who watch TV to find what they call "inappropriate material" so they can write the advertisers and threaten not to use their products if the continue to advertise on that TV show, websites for liberals and conservatives alike where you can find out who's running what company and what money they give to their prospective parties so that those places can be avoided... and now this idiot spouting off a bigoted message in the media. I'm not a CFA fan already, and no this wont help. BUT the sad thing is that this is where we are at as a country, more sides to be taken, more lines drawn... it's very sad to watch. Remember polite society? Where you kept your religion and your opinions to yourself? Maybe it never truly existed... to bad

    July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. me

    to EndTheHate .. that was beautiful

    July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Early

    Thank God for Mr. Cathy. Press on sir, press on!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Name*Vicki Willis

    The bible as many man having lots of wives. So if they follow the bible, how many wives do they have?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. mom of five

    I am so glad to hear of a company that is not ashamed of Jesus Christ. Who is standing firm in what they believe and not being run by fear. I did not read any hate in your words, just truth. The hate I read is in the comments that the gay rights people have hurled at you. Anderson Cooper has a right to say what he does, but let you say how you believe and the hate runs deep. As it did when Jesus walked the earth. Truth and true love provoke hate. It always has and will until we are home.Being compared to Jesus is the ultimate goal for a Christian. Keep on pressing toward the goal!I also am not about hate towards ANYONE! I am commanded to even love my enemies! How many live by that?Yet I am told all the time I am full of hate? The only thing I hate is the sin. The act, not the person! We are to do good, and go into ALL the world and preach the gospel!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus is gay

      @momoffive
      I feel sorry for your kids because you are no doubt going to teach them to be ignorant just like yourself. According to the bible, a woman's place is to be submissive to her man and have his kids. So by your thinking, all of the working woman in the world are living in sin because they are living their own lives and making something of themselves instead of being a man's slave as your fake god intends.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    I agree with this guy. It's about Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve.

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

    So what am I supposed to do? Wait until somebody comes along with a chicken sandwich better than Chick-Fil-A?

    July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • markefried

      Yes, or get over the fact that the guy making your chicken sandwich has different core beliefs then you. That's life...you have to make decisions about what's important to you.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. markefried

    This is democracy at its finest. They have the freedom to say what they want to say and support the groups they want to support. And we have the freedom to go somewhere else. The reality is the owners and officers of companies like McDonald's and Wendy's have their own political and spiritual leanings too...they just don't make them as public because they know it's bad for business. So while i don't agree with Mr. Cathy on many issues, I respect his convictions. He put his money where his mouth is.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fritz

    Onward, Christian Soldiers! Defend our western Rite of Dispose!

    Next maybe we feed the hungry? Heal the sick?

    Meh, after lunch, going to Chik-a-fil . . . . .

    July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Texas

    A rose by any other name is still a bigot. I will tell all my friends and family, if they are not already aware, that a boycott should be under way. It is not 1950, it is 2012.

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

      I intend to eat at Chick-fil-A more. I anticipate immense improvement in the ambiance with your absence. Please take your friends with you.

      And yes, it is 2012: The "everybody's equal" experiment was a disaster, and that you have failed to observe such an obvious lesson is a poor reflection upon you. Either you have no powers of observation or you have chosen to ignore what is plainly before you. Or maybe you're living in an isolated corner of the great plains where you have limited exposure to real life and are therefore more suseptible to political correctness propagandization.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. AGeek

    "the biblical definition of the family unit" ..ok, so Dan was a rapist and his wife was forced to marry him after he compensated her father? ...it's crap like this, Christians. Don't ever wonder why the rest of us look at you like you're eff'in looney tunes.

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

      Are you aware of the culture at the time and why that law might have been a good thing?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. mac

    for a group of people who demand acceptance they are so intolerant themselves. People can have opinions, he is not a law maker or a public figure that influences people. The cashier at the supermarket could not believe in gay marriage and it's ok because he doesn’t voice his opinion. I support gay marriage but I also support freedom of speech. he didn't say anything derogatory about GLBT people he just stated his beliefs because he was asked a question. If we can't speak our opinions and beliefs we will never advance. GLBT people have only gotten this far by making a voice for themselves. I just believe that people are overly sensitive and instead of just accepting that not everyone agrees with you they are turned into hate mongers. I for one am proud of our forefathers for fighting for the right of free speech. If you have something to say, say it or lose the right forever.

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

      It's not a matter of being intolerant, it's a matter of standing idly by and permitting overt bigotry. If you're silent, you're saying bigotry is ok. Is that what you're saying? Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from repercussions.

      I'm straight. I have a family. I also see all people as equal. Apparently to you, some are more equal than others.

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

      Mac, see if you feel the same way when someone tries to prevent you from legally being able to marry the person you love.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Spot on. If anyone slams a pro-GLBTQ statement of opinion, they are labeled a hate-filled bigot. If someone slams a pro-"traditional marriage" statement of opinion, they're called open-minded. This is hypocritical. Those who demand, and expect, to have people who disagree with them still accept and support their right to speak their mind *must* also accept and support others' right to hold and espouse a differing opinion. Once, the GLBTQ community was often "closeted" beause of potential reaction from those around them. Now, it's ironic, hypocritical, and cruel that they are trying to force others into that closet.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • mac

      he isn't trying to legally keep anyone from doing anything. That's the point, he just stated his opinion as are all of us. I do not think that hate has a place here one way or another. I think that the Christians are wrong but I also think that everyone needs to be a little more accepting of people OPINIONS. however there are repercussions for your ACTIONS if you prevent someone from doing something that is an ACTION. I believe everyone should have the right to do whatever they want with their lives. They aren't hurting married people they certainly are not hurting divorced people. ACTIONS should be the thing under scrutiny not someone’s opinion. You cannot agree with something but you cannot determine how others live their lives when it does not affect the greater good of society.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
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