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. Les

    OK, i'm an athiest... But I think everyone should have the right to believe anything they want to believe in. Who cares? What is "moral" anyway? To me this is a non-issue.

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

      Because the argument is not merely that they believe it, but that they openly use incomes from the company (both personal fortunes built on company ownership and company money when supporting candidates and other ways) to promote it. There've even been many accusations of gay workers being fired or not hired based on that fact. In other words, if you eat at Chik-Fil-A, some small percentage of your money IS going to help promote anti-gay marriage causes in some capacity.

      If the president just believed it and that was all, then yeah, so what. But if he spends his money actively promoting anti-gay marriage legislation and whatnot, then why should I help give him any more money? That is the crux of the thing. It simply isn't as simply as letting people believe what they want, it is do you help fund actions based on their beliefs or not.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Richard

    I have not entered a Chik-Fil-A in 23 years – even though I like their food. I just won't patronize adults with imaginary friends who have no respect for my civil rights.

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

      That is your right. They do not want or need your business.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. eabdumf

    I thought that individuals and companies alike had a right to their free speech and the ability to make their own decisions. That's what our country is founded on. Everyone else can have their opinion, but let these people who run their business have theirs.

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

      No one is curtailing anyone's freedom of speech. He can and did say what he wanted. People can and do reply as they see fit.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • fiveliters

      I think their point is,that OK,you have the right to feel that way,and the people who patronize (or used to patronize) your establishment now know exactly how you feel about them,so they really don't have a reason to go there anymore.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Aysa

    I wonder how many people didn't get a job there because they are or appear to be gay. You know people like Cathy their kids learn that hate from their parents. I know at my church there is never a negative word about anyone's walk in life. My Pastor and his wife welcome everyone there. We talk about the good things in the Bible. My Pastor will even ask for forgiveness if he has ever made anyone feel not welcome. He doesn't teach hate it teaches hope. The God I know about loves everyone. Poor Mr. Cathy, great food, however he is a hater.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Slyvester Glaser

    I applaud company President Dan Cathy's position statement, on gay marriages. They, gay marriages should never have been recognized in the first place end of story.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    The great thing about America is that we can all vote one way or another with our wallets when going out for lunch and we can all vote one way or another at the polls. Becoming so impassioned against people of other beliefs is just a waste of breath. We all have a choice here, to support a company that is vocal about their personal beliefs or not. The great thing is that we are free to choose for ourselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Facin8

    So true that Chik Fil A has a right to believe what ever it wants to as its Corporate Mission. What is wrong is when it spends money to support political actions that denigrate citizens of this "free" country. Religion and Politics do not mix, even Jesus said that we need to give Gods things to God and Ceasars things to Ceasar. If you dont believe in Gay marriage then don't get married, but don't keep that inexorable right from anyone else. Jesus also said that you should do to others as you want done to you, this means loving our neighbors, not helping create an environment that carves out segments of its population as less than equal. Someday, your neighbors might be voting against your religious tax exeptions, or right to pray, or read the bible in public. Denying someone else a right is a slippery slope.

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

      Excellent post! I couldn't have stated it better.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    I guess equal civil rights are just not a "family value." Go figure.

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

    Bad Chick Fila for saying your not for a child being raised by two dads or two moms!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Miss Trixie

    I'm suddenly craving Chicfil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. james

    He is free to state his views – if people do not like his views they are free not to buy from his stores – if people really do not care or if they do care and still decide to buy that is their decision – if the owner makes it a policy not to hire someone because of their orientation that will be a matter for them to take up with the E.O.C. – this is America after all the land of the free with each of us granted the right to express our opinion.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nat Q

    This is why I've started Chik-Fil-Atheist, a gay-friendly chicken restaurant that is only open on Sundays.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. Julie

    " we married our first wives" How many concubines are you allowed? and Is your wife allowed to have concubines?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lean6

    Geez! I like the chicken, but they can keep the baggage. I don't want to make a political statement just by pulling up to a drive-thru window. My stance on gay marriage irrelevant, Chick-Fil-A just lost a customer.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. msyellarose

    If anyone is offended in any way, they don't have to eat there.

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

      well sad.....

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