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. downinfront

    Wendy's Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich (10g) = less than HALF the total fat of the comparable Chick-Fil-A Deluxe Chicken Sandwich (21g).

    ...mmm Wendy's...

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

    I FULLY support Chick-fil-a. Since when did someones opinion on things determine if they are a bad company? Every time you go into their stores you hear christian music playing on the intercom. This should be no surprise. If people actually did research about things instead of following blindly things would become less of a shock.

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

      "Since when did someones opinion on things determine if they are a bad company?"
      When their opinions are bigoted and anti-American.
      EFF Chik-Fil-A, and anyone who likes them.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mittey Romulous

    I am not religious or anything, but they are Christians and they are just practicing their religion. I didn't see any hate in is statement, he just said what he believes...oh no!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thomas

    Religion has not place in business or government. People of influence should take their responsibility seriously and keep their close-minded thoughts to themselves. You can believe whatever you want to believe but your beliefs should not cross over into your business.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    Yelling hatred when someone disagree with someone else on moral issues is an easy cop out. I use to work for the Chick-fil-A corporation and they are truly a great organization. His religous beliefs are very strong and myself being a Christian I agree with him whole heartedly. If you are a true Christian you know that there is no such thing as gay marriage. Chick-fil-A does not practice hatred for anyone and he was not saying that he hate gays or that he will not serve them when they come to his store. All he is saying that he does not support gay marriage. He might not support abortion either but that does not mean that he hate women who do. Stop yelling hatred because someone disagree with you, especially when it comes to gay marriage. I am tired of hearing hatred when someone disagree with the gay lifestyle. Its obvious that some people do not know the definition of hatred. I hear people all the time say they love you or this and that and still treat them like they hate them. Gays have no grounds of yelling hatred when someone disagree.

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

      @Michael – of course you feel that way. You are a Christian. Step out of the Bronze Age and take a look around. This is the real world, and you are ill-prepared to live in it.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Fairuza

    I bet its not in that precious bible of theirs to shut down a working family man for his art slogan. EAT MORE KALE!!!!!!!! BO – MULLER MOORE!!!! A Defiant DUDE.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lewis

    One of the tweets in the article: "People who are bashing Chick-fil-a for their Christian stances need to find more important things to complain about."

    Pretty much this.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. J in NJ

    I am going to Chick-fil-a for lunch just so i can show my support!

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

    The closed on Sunday thing is particularly funny to me. When I was growing up and spending 12 hours in 3 different services on Sunday, I never realized that so many sinners working in restaurants were handling my food during the short break where the church members would congregate for dinner and guilt each other into showing up for the 4:00 p.m. service.

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

    I'm glad they don't have any of these in my state.

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

    The man said he supported the traditional Christian concept of marriage, which the bible defines as being between a man and a woman. I don't tell people what they can or can not do and I don't try to impose my beliefs on anyone else. The media asked him a direct question and he answered it. There's a big difference between being asked what your beliefs are and grabbing a bull horn and standing on a corner screaming at passers by about your beliefs. Dan Cathy answered a question.

    People who post comments about the "hatred" that Mr. Cathy and Chick-Fil-A now represent are THE SAME people that own and use those bullhorns on the corners. I spent nearly my entire adult life in the military ensuring that we ALL have the right to believe what we want and practice those beliefs. You have no more right to judge or question his beliefs than he does to question yours.

    As I said before, he was asked a question and he gave an honest answer to a reporter. That is a very far cry from spreading or spewing hatred.

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

    I am very proud of people who stand firm in their beliefs despite harsh criticism from others. It's just a shame that Dan Cathy's beliefs are stupid.

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

      It is also not a wise business move.

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

      Hate to break it to people but less than 2% of this country is gay. A wise business move? Gay people don't eat that crap anyway. Stop pushing the gay agenda on people. We don't all have to agree with it. I swear liberals cry and moan when things don't go there way. They will be the reason why gays never get a fair shake. Liberals ruin everything they touch

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

      bill...no one is "pushing" a gay agenda. We are pushing a human agenda. Just because I don't agree with your opinion doesn't make me wrong or stupid.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kansas

    Wow, you liberals are daft! "Hate filled nuggets"? Seriously? He didn't say anything hateful or bigoted. He shared his personal views on marriage, that's all. Can any of you say any anti-LBGT polices they have? No. You liberals are not as tolerant as you believe you are.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • i821776

      You can look at this both ways.

      Chick-Fil-A has a right to be anti-marriage equality, and we as customers have a right to no longer go there and give them our money..whether you support the decision or you don't.

      Chick-Fil-A has a right to "run their business their way", and we as customers have a right to choose how we look at/complain about how they run their business (that is how the economy works, after all...)

      I agree that labeling Chick-Fil-A as a "hate group" is going a bit too far considering they aren't going around causing bodily harm or mental harassment. That being said, I disagree with the CEO's choice of supporting biblical marriage over equality for everyone and may have second thoughts if ever deciding to eat there again.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Christian Faith

    It is really great to see a restaurant chain following and sticking to the Christian beliefs.

    I believe I will be stopping by my local Chick-fil-A for lunch.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • John B

      Do not forget to pray that all the food additives do not give you cancer. Because God belives in food additives

      July 19, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • colleenkelley

      This, right here, is the arrogance that makes Christians so damn hard to stomach.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Zak

    How happy would you be, if you weren't allowed to marry the one you love. Would you be skipping rope, and singing hymns? I doubt it. If everybody was to stick to the "traditional" definition of marriage, we would all be polygamists. That is the first incarnation of marriage, and so says the bible. So it's OK for you to change that ideal, but not for anyone else to change it.

    Here is what I propose, you can keep all of your "Christian" nonsense, and live and let live. Why is it so important for you to impress your concepts on everyone else?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • 03firefly

      Don't use the bible in an argument if you don't understand it

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