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. chilldawn

    Thank you for standing for your's & mine beliefs. May God continue to bless you & yours. Don't conform to this world, for we who do believe we are just aliens here in the earth & a far better home awaits us..
    THANK YOU, as for me & my house we will serve the Lord & continue to support Chick-fil-A....

    July 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. msadr

    Why is it any time you tell someone that you think what they're doing is wrong, they say you're full of hate. I don't hate anybody. And i think gay marriage is wrong.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Societies pc stance is attempting to force beliefs on others who are unwilling to accept them. I don't hate gay people and no the bible doesn't teach me to hate them either, but I don't believe it's natural way of life so why do I have to accept it? Should I be sympathetic to a farmer who has relations with his animals? Should I be sympathetic to NAMBLA? Where do I get to draw the line in what I believe in without facing backlash for my beliefs?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Love conquers

      Great point. The new testatment does preach love and Jesus did say to love thy neighbour as thyself but to also abhor sin, not the person. That does not mean stone, kill or hurt those that sin that some might interpret it as....and I mean some only. I don't get where this "hate gays" comes from if you don't agree with their stance on marriage.
      Christians should do things out of love and compassion just like Jesus did with the woman who was accussed of adultery and was going to be stoned. I see most people who are Christians and posting here get this ...Bravo!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. minkakross

    proud to have stopped eating at chick fil-a years ago when I learned about their stance against equal marriage. I may be a mom of a traditional family but my dad is gay and and if one of my little girls grew up and turned out to be gay I would want them to be able to have what I do with their dad. That means I can't give them my money, and I feel sorry for all those young kids they are teaching their close minded bigoted ways to in their team prayers.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      Hell is waiting

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josh

    "... the biblical definition of the family unit."

    Actually, the entire gay marriage thing is about the LEGAL definition of the family unit, the the biblical one. No supporter of gay marriage is attempting to change the Bible. They are only attempting to change the laws. Laws that are suppose to define only one class of adults (equality), and that should include regardless of marital status.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eric Calhoun

    There is always a crowd at most any Chick-Fil-A I visit. I have long thought that God truly blesses this business because of its longtime Christian values. Going forward, God will continue to bless Chick-Fil-A. I proudly pray for Chick-Fil-A and its employees as they are and will be attacked for their stance regarding Gay Marriage. Now, praise the Lord and pass me the waffle fries.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. ZombieHunter2012

    Are skittles the official candy for gays?? Taste the rainbow b*4tches!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ellen

    No where in the article above did the President of Chick-fil-a say he hated anybody. He simply stated the company's belief based on biblical values and this does not equal hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. mike

    Where is the hate espoused in Cathy's comments?? It is a business statement of company corps principles and values. It's also why he chooses to remain privately instead of publicly owned/operated. Good on him

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Oroboros

    I've never eaten there and never will.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. rick

    we don't have one anywhere near here. Just as well.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. alex

    good for you, Chick-fil-A

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Zak

      You sir or madam, are an idiot.

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

    I hope all Chick-Fil-A's gay employees...and there are some trust me...wake up this morning to realize that their employer truly is an "EQUAL opportunity" employer. I find it amusing that the most judgmental people on planet earth usually are also Christians. Why can't people hold up a mirror to themselves before judging others? And by the way, I was raised Catholic!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • novak

      They are an "EQUAL opportunity" employer. Obviously, since they are still working.. Idiot crybaby...

      July 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • DJL

      Nicely said, Samantha!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Worriwart

      I guess the Catholicism didn't take.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • BP

      How exactly were they judgmental? When did it become a crime to believe in something in this country? Chick-Fil-A doesn't support gay marriage, that's fine. They're a Christian corporation...people know that. Here's a shocker: Most Christians don't support gay marriage. You know why? We believe in God's plan of divine marriage. The real catastrophe here is that so many people get bent out of shape because Chick-Fil-A stood by their beliefs. This used to be a free country where free speech was welcome, but gradually it's becoming "either conform to our beliefs or you're an idiot with no standing." This country was founded upon God's word (check out George Washington's inauguration, where it was and what he said). I don't care what our president says or other folks say, we are a Christian nation. We always have been. Why do they think we pray before Congressional meetings or at Presidential inauguration?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. medic2

    so now the makers of fast food chicken felt the need to become religious and political. Why not just concentrate your efforts to make a good product? The beauty of our country is that everyone should be free to choose their own lifestyle. Chick-fil-a makes chicken and not national policy.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      "Felt" the need? Are you high? This company was started with a religious focus. They've never been open on Sunday for precisely that reason. Company founder Truett Cathy was highly religious and he founded this specifically as a Christian company. Anyone who is surprised by this news has been living under a rock.

      I don't approve of their stance, but if I stopped patronizing companies whose political and religious leanings I don't approve of, I would have nowhere to shop, nothing to eat and probably no roof over my head.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • warnercc

      Where did the article say they were making national policy? The article stated the beliefs of one man who happened to own a company. Nowhere did it say anything about Chick-fil-a making national policy. That's the problem in this whole mess, too many people trying to put words into the mouths of anyone that happens to make a statement supporting one side or the other.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • FLIndependent

      Agreed...they should keep their beliefs to themselves...why ruffle feathers unless you are trying to make a "political" point in an election year?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john hoychick jr

    i commend chick-filet for standing for christian principles. to stand upon christian principles and the teachings of the Bible is not hate. only people who are ignorant of the Bible and who are critical of anyone who disagrees with their position would be critical of chick-filet. i am concerned about our nation and its values when someone who openly espouses their christian beliefs becomes vilified. all of us should be praying for the nation and other christians who are persecuted due to their beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • what?

      You're not being persecuted because of your beliefs, clown. This country was built on a solid foundation. A part of that foundation is FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Your religious belief shall not be permitted to erode the foundation this great country was built on. You're not being persecuted, we are trying to keep you from persecuting others. On your judgement day you will see your folly.
      Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
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