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

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Horus

    Dominos founder also contributes heavily to conservative activist groups; especially pro-life movements. I refuse to help him support his personal agenda, just as I have long refused to support "christianity" and obesity by avoiding Chick-fil-a.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. lindaluttrell

    This is simply a fast food restaurant. I would think they would want to feed all customers who frequent the places. Why do politics and religion have to permeate every aspect of our society?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Erik

    What's Russia have to do with it, Mike? People can express agreement or not here as that's what America is about.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michael Mellars

    Going to make a point to eat more at Chick-fil-a. It's time for the silent majority to stand up and be counted, I'm tired of being dictated to by the vocal minority. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, end of story.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • police dad

      Haha, so you're resolving to become yet fatter and more ignorant? Typical christian hick.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh Clothier

      Really, the christians are the "silenmt majority"? Either you can count to potato or you're just as much of a bigot as the rest of your intolerant brotherhood.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. downinfront

    Wendy's Chicken Sandwiches are AWESOME!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Texas

    Is it suddenly 1950? I am a little confused as to why an fast food company would "come out" with a comment that has nothing to do with food service. Stay out of politics, as I am sure that your bigotry will cause a loss of business

    July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Steveds

      Someone asked him his opinion. What, is he locked into only chicken related discussion because he runs a chicken place?
      That's upsurd.
      Agree with his opinion or don't, but lets leave the defenseless (and delicious) chicken out of this!
      Will anyone please think of the chicken?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. sharon

    I love Chick Fil A even more now.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pat

    Thanks for standing up to right living. The majority of the media wants everyone to lower their standards of living. God's way is the higher way and definitely the happier way. Men and women were created to fit together like a hand in a glove. We were created to have families ~ it can't be done otherwise. People want an out to make wrong decisions and to do what they deem 'feels good' and not have to pay the consequences. Men and women have different strengths to be able to raise and nurture children.
    Thanks to all companies and individuals who stand up for what's right and good.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Really?

    How has this gone from a statement about one's belief to bashing of Christians... some people are so hate-filled. I am a christian...I'd rather take my chances being one that NOT being a believer. Good for you, Chik-Fil-A!! Have a blessed day, everyone.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Qarlo

    I respect they have a backbone, unlike so many in this day and age. But, they are supporting a cause that bashes people that aspire to unite for love. The trditional definition of marriage should be LOVE between consenting adults. We need more of this! Why, instead, they don't put their money in combating DIVORCE, the true enemy of "traditional" marriage. Oh, and didn't they have many wives back then in biblical times? Anyway, we live in the present and not the past. Thank you for your tolerance and independent thought process.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lamar in Dallas, TX

    If Chick-Fil-A is so supportive of the family then why is it searching them crap? LOL

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

    Intersting that if someone disagrees with another persons beliefs, they are bigots and should be convicted of a HATE Crime. If I vote against ODUMA (which I will) because I don't agree with his beliefs or opions, should I be convicted of a HATE crime because he is black and I am white?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Kirby

      By your logic I can't call Hitler or the KKK bigots because it’s an attack on their "beliefs". People are free to believe what they will, but when the same beliefs are bigoted we are also free to call them for what they are.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      @ColB, I too lament the current paradigm. The counterculture left just pretended to be tolerant in the 1960s and 70s to guilt-monger real Americans into permitting their entrenchment. With leftist control of media and academia, they have propagandized a generation. Hence, the decline of America as you once knew it.

      Leftists tolerant? Marxist Stalinist killed 30,000 of his own people, mostly Ukrainian farmeers that harbored evil capitalist ideas like keeping their own garder and donkey cart. Marxist Mao Zedong killed an estimated hundred million Chinamen. Seen "The Killing Fields" about Cambodia's Pol Pot? Does that look like leftist tolerance?

      Do you not observe soaring tensions and intolerance as Marxist 0bama and his redistribution legions sweep the land? Give us your money or we will forceably seize it in the name of "fairness" or else!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. PlainJane

    @Scott B

    Do you know where he gives his money if so please inform us all.

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

      @PlainJane CNN doesn't allow URLs in comments, but do a Google search. There is ample information publicly available on their donations.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. HycoWhit

    You can not claim to be a Christian and in the next breath pass judgement on a group of people. True Christians know that God is about loving your fellow man and not passing judgement. Mr Cathy should probably read the Bible and focus on the actual words of Jesus. Mathew 7 is a great book to start with–learn to live by Matthew 7:12.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ronny mason

      Just because I do not agree with you it does not mean I am judging you or that I hate you.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. ag

    Well, I guess I could boycott them, but since their food is so awful anyway, that wouldn't be much of a change.

    Glad to hear they support polygamy, though. That's a start.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
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