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. djt

    Hate? Did any of you actually read the original article that is linked in the first paragraph? I cannot find one word of hate against anyone from this man. The family built a business based on biblical values, and adheres to them. The corporation strives to treat every customer with respect and great service. The fact that they choose to use their profits to support organization that help strengthen traditional marriage is not hateful. If a gay couple owned a fast food restaurant and wanted to give their profits to organizations supporting gay rights, how is that hateful to others?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. sleepytime

    Welp, they have a right to their opinion I guess. I already don't patronize them because of their pushy Christian crap so this doesn't really change anything for me.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. WhatNow

    It is certainly their choice. It is also my choice not to support hatred and ignorance.

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

      Just like it's your choice to misuse the word "hatred".

      July 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • SXA

      Word. Absolutely.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • SXA

      To clarify, I mean that to you, WhatNow. We must not support companies that preach bigotry of any kind.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. bill

    For starters these companies should not even be talking about this issue. Freedom of speech. Its OK to be for Gay Marriage, but if you are against it then you are wrong? Give me a break we are talking about 2% of the US population. The agenda to push this is even more of a joke

    July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Leney

    While I do not share the views of Mr. Cathy, as I do believe in marriage equality for the LGBT community, I do not believe his statements are hateful or bigoted. Not only do I support gay rights, but I am also a lover of Jesus. Because one does not agree with another's political (or moral) judgment, it does not make them hateful or intolerant. Mr. Cathy, whether due to his faith or politics, has the freedom to take express an opinion about an issue without the judgment of being referred to as an intolerant, hate-spewing, Christian. The fact that he is able to express his opinion, and I am able to do the same, is something that I feel also as strongly about. Ultimately, it is our right as a consumer to make a decision whether we want to continue to provide financial support to a company that does not represent our values. But that is OUR decision, and I do not think it is fair to have an expectation for Mr. Cathy to "get with the program". We can hope for a willingness to see another viewpoint, but in the end, we all have our own decisions to make.

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

      I personally agree with Mr Cathy, that being said I think your comments are well stated.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Common Sense

    Just because you believe in God's Word doesn't mean that you are spreading hate. These Gay groups are so annoying and seem to always try to find something to complain about. If you don 't agree with God's view of marriage, just move on and don't eat there. Dang!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. ag

    You know, this CEO has the absolute right to his personal opinion, no matter which ancient mythology he bases it on. However, if he moves from just having an opinion to using that opinion to fight against other citizens' civil rights, that's where I have a problem. And, certainly, his personal opinion does not exempt him from obeying laws concerning nondiscrimination in employment practices.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. hutch

    hate Mongers? really, where do you see that? just because Mr Cathy states that they are supportive of the traditional family values. you people need to grow up and quit whining when someones opinion differs from your own, you want to be gay fine be gay, but don't blame it on "I was born this way". or label people as hate mongers because they have different values. and if you want to debate the psychological side, think of this. People who find it necessary to attack a persons values are generally not happy with thier own.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Majesty Rider

      I guess you don't know any gay people in your backwater hickville.

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

      @hutch They were born that way. Also, actively trying to ban their right to marry is hateful. Calling it traditional doesn't make it right. There were a lot of hateful things we traditionally did that we've tried to correct.

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

      Hutch – "support for traditional marriage" is codespeak for denying civil rights to those who don't share your mythological beliefs. No one is attacking traditional marriage. Heck, I had a wonderful, perfect, fantastic traditional marriage myself (until my husband was recently killed in an accident). I just want to extend that opportunity to loving gay couples as well.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brandon

    Here's an idea: CEOs have opinions. Wow.

    I applaud the boycotters here. Thank you for making our lines shorter.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Majesty Rider

    Yet another fast food joint I will never patronize, and even more so for this stance.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. I Hate The Haters

    The "hate mongers" comment really made my day, what's wrong with people?
    Just because somebody's lifestyle isn't supported, isn't "glamorized" in their point of view, they start getting all crazy.
    Don't like how Chick Fil A's owners feel about certain things? Then go to McDonalds. Who cares, right? LOL
    Now really, who's being the hate monger in this story?
    We all know, it's just not PC to say it.
    Move on with your life.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Nothing hatefulk was said in the artcile, stop being a drama queen. The article merely pointed out that Ck-Fil-A doesnt believe gays should exist and they are an abomination to God (heard that one from one of your faithful, loved it, so fire and brimstone).

      Now, you will say, that didnt say that in there, and I will agree, just pointing out your same silly assertion in your post. Anyweay, we all know that the religious would lynch every gay person if it was 1950 and you were allowed to burn crosses on lawns again.

      You know, the KKK isnt so far off standard religious understanding and practices anymore...strange.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Charles

    I think it is interesting how anyone who is for traditional marriage is labeled as a "hate group" now. For left leaning people who preach "tolerance", this seems a bit two-faced.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Merv

      Gay Gestapo takes no prisoners....

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

      Because it is code that you want to deny equality to LGBT and that you stand for treating millions of Americans and second class citizens.

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

      You are welcome to your 'traditional' marriage but stop trying to deny others the right to a non traditional marriage. You are free to marry the person of your choosing and so should I.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Because it is code that you want to deny equality to LGBT and that you stand for treating tens of millions of Americans and second class citizens.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      Yet, no one who supports gay marriage is trying to prevent your traditional marriages. Live and let live. Why is that so difficult?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I know, right? It's so good that there is still prejudice and intolerance in the world. It would be so boring if everyone accepted each other. Of course Jesus wants us to persecute those who are different! He would have hated food stamps, too. People should never be needy, that's what Jesus preached. Do not lean on each other or support each other. I think he was probably against other types of mixed marriages, too, but I guess that is so politically incorrect. Jesus also was against childbirth out of wedlock, right? All these single women with no money...Anyway, I am sure that he would be happy to see his name used to deny others rights-he spoke at such length against gays in the Bible

      July 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. kim

    Why does Dan Cathy's statement have to do with hate? He holds up the values of a Godly man and people have all kinds of things to say about him. Why is he wrong and the others right? We all have a right to freedom of speech! If you don't like his comments, his restaurant, don't go! I applaud Dan for standing up for Christ!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      He doesn't stand up for Christ:

      You do realize that Jesus was an Arab Jew Socialist that blessed a Gay Union and his Great, Great, Great, ... Grand father, King David, was in love with Jonathan and in fact loved him more then his own wife Michal.

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

      he certainly doenst love gays, so the opposite would be hate, right? i mean, this guy and all these other Christians belive in a black and white world!!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      Dan is a chicken cook. It is not his job to be telling his fellow Americans whom they may or may not marry. If you step into a fight that is none of your business, you should expect a black eye, at the very least.

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

      He isnt standing up for Christ. Christ would find this mans stance abhorrent...

      I am pretty sure you a pew riding christian...one who doesnt really know the bible, or hasmt read it, but has it preached to them by a person whose personal interests may interfere with the teachings. I once met a preacher/pastor/ whatever that told his parishioners that when they died they would become angels.

      What a crock. Anyone who isnt a total ignoramus of the Bible teachings would know that just isnt right or possible. It amazes me how ignorant and ill-educated most people are about a book that is supposed to be so important to them, but instead of taking an interest in their own religion, they just let someone else preach it at them because they are to lazy to actually read anything.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ditka

      you mean standing up for a guy who lived 2000 years ago, started a spin off religion which developed into a cult, then became so entangled in myth that it became legend??
      Slow down, he was just a man who's story became bigger than who he was.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. g2-554d155ee0aaa518e03a7e70d9cd6b0b

    Fortunately, there are LOTS of choices in the world for where and what to eat, and we are all welcome to use or not use any establishment. I will not be spending money at Chic-Fil-A; but they won't notice, because I knew about this problem before and don't use them. Those who wish to support these ideas, or who simply don't care, are welcome to eat there.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. downinfront

    I love CNN. I wish I could marry it.

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

      Corporations are people too. I don't see why you couldn't. Heck let's open up marriage so I can marry my pet rock. It's so shiny. I love it.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
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