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.

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soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. HereIam

    Chick-Fil-A You have just guaranteed that you will be my resturant of choice from now on! Way to stand against the tide!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scott Pilgrim

    "People who are bashing Chick-fil-a for their Christian stances need to find more important things to complain about."
    Yeah, this sounds about right. I really don't care what their stance is, they're delicious, and my college had the only one in Michigan.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. RSBLSU

    I now know where I am going for lunch today! Thank you for standing up for what you believe, Mr. Cathy.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Denise

    Why is it hate when Christians stick to their beliefs? No one screams when Catholics, Jews, Muslims make statements or refuse to change their lives based on their beliefs. Why are mainstream Christian beliefs the target? Do they not have a right to express their beliefs?

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

      Now you know their opinion, support it or dont. Thats really what it comes down to.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Nat Q

      It's hate because they are using company earnings to actively fund those beliefs and seek to limit the lives, rights, liberties, and property of others based on their own personal biases. If they want to believe it, fine; if they want to act on it in a secular setting, it's hate.

      And yes, people do condemn Muslims, Jews, and others for the same things. Claiming they don't is simply untrue and lying for Jesus is still lying.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • indyreader

      Because those beliefs are unprovable, inconsistent, unlikely-to-the-point-of-impossible, and cause actions that are essentially arbitrary.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cepuras

    everyone has their own opinion..

    i hate the people knocking on my door, disturbing my peace, selling their version of a sect.. gay people don't knock on my door.. let them do what they want..

    July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan Garcia

    They will all be waiting at your place for the chicken sandwiches and soup you will be bringing back while pretending to hate gay people.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. kawboy

    Have always liked Chick-Fil-A. And although there has been times that I was disappointed that they are closed on Sunday, I just thought how wonderful it is for their employees. I will support the company and any company with their values to the fullest. Christian or non-Christian. We need to all vote with our dollars as well. I don't make a big fuss about it, don't need to join a support or boycott campaign. I just do it. I don't hate gays by any means. I have gay family members. So I guess you can even say I know people that are gay that I love. But on the other hand, I believe marriage is between a man and a women. Would believe that regardless of religion or not.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paul Sudduth

    What I see here is hatred coming from the gay community.

    I see nothing honorable from that position.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Scott

    Religion is the primary source of hate. If there truly was a deity than there truly would only be one religion. Instead we have a bunch of crack pot conflicting religions created to control the masses through the endless (goal driven) interpretations of really poorly written stories. Stories that were written only to teach morals. Religion is sanctioned brainwashing of children taught to hate those not in their following. The world governments use religion to control the population, ignore personal dignity and justice, to get political power and backing, to enter war, to blame someone or something for their faults, to create hate between countries.

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

      So Athiestic Russia and China in the 20th century...these were some of the WORST governments in history. Obviously religion isn't the problem. Human nature is.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Scott,
      Thanks for being the voice of sanity. You are so right about religious control.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Chik-Fil-Haaaaaaay!

      Chik-Fil-A supports the tradition of marriage? So they have multiple wives and treat them as PROPERTY? cool!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • MsAthiest

      OH MY! Finally, someone says what I am thinking! Thank you Scott. I agree wholeheartedly. I have NEVER posted a comment on any news site, but this deserved a thumbs up from me!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I'm sorry, but your religious philosophical argument is heavily flawed. If you are a student of the Bible one thing that will be abundantly clear is that hate is condemned. Despite the fact that many religions and religious leaders have failed to demonstrate in their lives and actions what they claim to believe does not make the source of their faith flawed. Rather, what it demonstrates, and why there are so many religions, is because if there is a God, and if He is the God of the Bible, He allows for human free will and people get to make whatever choices they want, including to reject Him and His book.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      Well said.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bhun20

      WAY TO GO CHICK-FIL-A. i am behind you. i am glad someone has taken the stance again. what ever happened to this country's belief's that out fore father's founded this great country on. we better wake up and walk the straight path according to the bible.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gloria

      So where did you develop your hatred for those who are religious then?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Funny how the most intolerant, bigoted, and hateful comments are coming from anti-Christian LIBERALS.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jb

      couldnt have sed it better! I completely agree!!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • G8KeaPoR

      I beg to differ. I am not religious myself nor co I claim to associate as an atheist either. I can say though that fear is the source of all hate. Fear is the main driving force behind religion. When a religion feels threatened it first begins by trying to convert. Then it begins to persecute. Finally it resorts to holy crusades. This is all out of fear that ones beliefs may be dieing. There are some good truths that have come from religion in a simplistic view. I was raised as a Lutheran yet I was not brainwashed. I have not associated myself with religion since I was 15 even though my parents disliked it. That said there were truths I was taught about respecting my neighbors, people around me, and being understanding and accepting. (yes that was taught to me as a christian.) Of course the normal don't steal, respect your parents bit too but that isn't the issue. The problem now is that Religious leaders be it priests, pastors, the pope, imams, whatever are losing their grip over people and are leading them astray from the underlying message. This is done out of fear and in my case and the case of many has pushed people away who do not agree with the whole convert or die scenario.

      Instead of hate mongering yourself against religious people why not address the fear and let them know its ok and that nothing lasts forever. Maybe I am too idealistic myself about how things should be.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave NY USA

      "Religion is the primary source of hate"
      Really? I would suggest it is stupidity that hate comes from.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      There IS only one DEITY and there IS only one FAITH. What people fail to realize is that 'religion' is a man made concept, mans attempt to find, reach or follow God. But, they also fail to realize, man does not decide how God will be found, reached or followed, GOD DOES!! and people don't want God telling them how to live cuz they want to be the god of their own life. Those following the ONE TRUE GOD risk the rejection, hatred and persecution to live and say what is TRUE. It is not hate to speak the truth, it is LOVE.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    Boycotts can educate the "slow and disabled" students of business still caught up in religion and bigotry. I have the legal right to protest their bigotry. What a moron. I really loved the comment that said, "Truth is not hate, it's just the truth" SEE!!!!!!!, slow and disabled by religion.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. blah9999

    This shouldn't be surprising. You ask many christians if they believe in gay marriage and they'll say no. Not news. No controversy.

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

    I applaud Dan Cathy for standing up for God. For those of you who will now reject this company, sit back and watch how God will bless them with more customers than they can handle. God bless you Dan!

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

      People like you would be hilarious, if you weren't so stupid and sad.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • True Christian

      Diane, I hate to break it to you but this will hurt not help them.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      Dianne, I get it. I really do. But, think for a minute about what you are saying about prosperity versus suffering. How does a person NOT view his personal struggles as punishment from God with that kind of logic? It's best to just leave matters of spirituality out of government, business, and CAPITALISM in this way. It just arms dissenters with all that they need to point out...inconsistencies.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Miss Trixie

    This will only boost their business. People are sick of this gay agenda constantly being rammed down our throats. No one cares if you are gay. Be gay and go away.

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

      Miss Trixie, we don't care if you're Christian. Stop ramming your christianity down our throats. Be christian and go away.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • True Christian

      Miss Trixie: The same can be said about Christians. Some Christians have forgotten about their faith and what it means. This isn't what God intended.

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

      Let Us Get Married then maybe we will

      July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      We get it. You don't care if they get married. Please write your Congressman and make sure he/she knows you don't care. Thank you for your indifference.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg S.

    Both David and Soloman had numerous wives. Christ had none. Deuteronomy allows the husband to beat his 'wives'. It's amazing that these are the family values that this man wishes to follow! I've never eaten at Chick-fil-A; so my lack of future attendance will make no difference. However, I must ask, why do people who have become successful in a lucky moment, think that they actually have something to say? Stick to what you know: Chicken! Thinking out loud though, how many times are 'chickens' mentioned in the bible?

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

    Why does everything in the world have to be so politicized? Why can't I go to Chick-Fil-A and buy a chicken sandwich for no other reason than because they are delicious? Who gives a crap what the CEO believes?

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

      Frisky: Actually, Chick Fil A is disgusting and a big contributor to obesity in the south....

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