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. blake furry

    I fully Dan Cathy as I am a father of 2 kids. Moral values are under attack everywhere we look and now the strong Christian values of Chick Fil A is under attack. His values are what made Chick Fil A the place that families and kids all over the country love to support. These values are spread to the treatment of the employees, customer service, cleanliness and general safety. Thank you Dan Cathy

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

    This has been their stance for years. The fact that CNN is behind the curve on this is just another testament to how slow they really are at getting any news to the masses unless it deals with Iran and Israel. Please do act surprised people not only are they closed on Sundays but have you ever heard the music pumped into the store? Just loud enough to hear but not loud enough to really understand... but they too are trying manipulate you.

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

    Let's be clear here. CFA is a fast-food chain mostly found in the southern states where obesity is out of control. These are not gourmet meals by any means. Gays have been boycotting them at a fast pace for the past few years. Others have followed suit. When they can't compete anymore, they will be out of business because of their poor public relations decisions. Some beliefs are better left kept to yourself.

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

      the fact that they are the 10th best franchise in the nation, don't open on sundays, and still aren't in many of the northern and midwestern states proves that the boycotts aren't exactly working. but please, make the lines for the people in your area shorter and don't show up. they'll continue their surge without you.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Timmy

      Yes, with 1,600 stores it looks like losing the gay crowd is really going to hurt them. Ha, ha, ha.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tweetys_Revenge

    I could not say it any better just because they wont cave in and do what the Gay community wants NOW THEY ARE EVIL give me a break.

    "I'm sorry – exactly where do find any evidence of "hate", "hatred", "bigotry", or your trump card of "intolerance" in Mr. Cathy's statement here?? This is a privately-owned company that supports the traditional definition of marriage; you know the one that has existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years? Talk about intolerance and hatred? Just read the comments posted here."

    July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. D J

    Here is a quote from the Company's President Dan Cathy "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives." I guess his Christian values appears to be okay with having more than one wife so as long as he is only legally married to the first one. This being the case one can reasonably conclude from Cathy's statement that he is okay and/or practice polgamy. I don't think Jesus would approve of that.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cathy Gardino

    I support Chic-fil-a and the Boy Scouts of America too...We can still love you without condoning what you do!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Will T. Fokke

    I don't care that Chik-fil-A is run by a family of intolerant rednecks that clearly struggle with the English Language.

    I don't eat there because the food isn't that good and it doesn't help that the pimple faced kids taking my order look like they got kicked out of 4H for porking the pickle barrel.

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

    Each person has every right to not believe the principles set forth in the Bible, but you have absolutely no right to change them. Like so many who have posted, I find it odd that people who are arguing for tollerance are they themselves the very ones who are intolerant of views that differ from their own.

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


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

      That's called "deflection", Gigi. Nice try, but very transparent. Move along now.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Baltic god

    Chick Fil A has never gotten my business because of their crappy food but if I did eat it I would stop eating it just because I don't really care for a free serving of warmed over horse manure that comes with it.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Perry

    I'll never eat there again.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. WhtRULknAt

    Why dont ChickFillA and the Boy Scouts just go marry each other?!?

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

      Good for them to stand by their beliefs and not let it tarnish their foundation. If we went back to our founding fathers of the United States, imagine what their stance would be. The guy was following his first amendment rights. I think they will get more business out of this. Have you ever seen how many famlies eat at this place on a daily basis?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • colleenkelley

      @Ryan – you're aware that many of the sainted Founding Fathers were NOT Christian, correct? Or are you of the mistaken belief shared by so many ignorant conservatives that this country was founded on Christian principles? There's nothing to be gained by rewriting history so that your own sad principles can be shoe-horned into it. If conservatives weren't so dead-set on cutting funding to education, some of you might be aware of the real history of this country.

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

      Thank you for providing such insightful input..

      July 19, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Because it's not permitted according to Biblical law. At the time the Bible was written, corporations weren't people yet.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. paul

    people need to get a major dose of reality. A company expressing what their values are no way demonstrates any hateful behavior. Anyone is able to go there and expect to be treated the same. So far I haven't seen an example of anyone discriminating against or anything that should be construed as hatred. To the contrary, I see more hateful speech aimed at those that do support traditional and a belief in Christianity.

    If you dont like there stance, then dont eat there – but dont over-sensationalize what was said to propagate the true statements of hatred

    July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Caroler

    It's sad that Chik-fil-A thinks their stance is okay. Discrimination is discrimination. If they were saying they were against blacks, they'd be shut down. But because they take a stance against gays, it's tolerated. Very sad.

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

      God you'r dumb.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • RT

      Sorry, but your stance does not make sense. Have you ever seen someone refused service or employment at Chic-fil-a because they are gay? The president stated the values they seek to support as he, and the company they run is free to do. As long as they don't discriminate against customers or employees there is no problem. Just don't expect them to donate to gay organizations or sponsor them in any way.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Paul Hontz

    Thank you, Chick-fil-A. So sad to see that the simple message of supporting traditional marriage can't be communicated without it now being labeled "hate speech" and "discrimination." Simply but sadly a sign of the times. Stand tall.

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

      You want to 'support traditional marriage'?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. Richard

    It is no mystery why Christians are hated the world over. Their religion is fascist and has no respect for civil rights. In fact, there is not one mention of freedom or civil rights anywhere in the entire Bible. I guess freedom and civil rights are just not "family values."

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

      Sad to see this way overgeneralization. Not all Christians are the same nor are all Jews or Muslims or Atheists. Get to know some individuals and perhaps your opinions will be better informed.

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

      Yes because the bible focus on things eternal and not temporary

      July 19, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
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