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. Andy

    I'm never going to this restaurant. My money is not going to a anti gay group.

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

      What is wrong with people??? If you don't agree you are a hate group. Religion is the primary source of hate. What is that about???? Are people going completely nuts. Our country is in so much trouble and obama agreeing to gay marriages has only shown what a terriable person he is. Oophs!!! I'm being hateful.... or am I being truthful>>>>>

      July 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark G

      HELLO. You knew they were Christians before you ever stepped into one of their restaurants. You knew their values then, why are you so upset that it's on the record now? The Cathy family have always been people of faith.

      Your issue is not with the Cathy family, it's with God himself. And there shall come a time where you will have the opportunity to state your case in front of Him. Then he will provide to you your "reward." Good luck with that.

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

      Bobbi...the answer is hateful

      Mark G....Judge not lest ye be judged. One would think that by running around and claiming people are going to hell, that makes them a better person and God would find you acceptable, except that isnt the bible, and that isnt Jesus.

      Good luck with your Hypocrisy there Mark.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. True Christian

    C

    July 19, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Casey

    Chik-Fil-A is ok by me. They do not support sticking weiners in poop and that is a good way to think!

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

      @Casey There's a difference between not supporting something and trying to get the government to ban it. I don't support reality TV shows. I would never want to ban them though. Who am I to tell people what they can watch?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The you'd be christian. They LOVE telling people what to do and how to live...even when they havent bothered to read their own book, just have it taught to them by a person they "trust" because they are too lazy or stupid to take responisibility for their own understanding.

      Bet some of these Yahoos on here actually believe they become angels when they die too....complete and utter failure.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Vic

    Every single one of you, whether you know it or not, has a gay friend, co-worker, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. Many have gone to your weddings and given you gifts. So remember that the next time you spew your hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Chase in Cali

      Vic–FAIL.

      That was truly a stupid comment.

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

      Hate? Really Hate? So if I disagree with something I automatically hate it? Life is not so black and white but you are not using logic you're using emotions. I do not like Pepsi I like Coke based on your logic I hate Pepsi. I do not want to gather all the Pepsi in the world and pour it out I just want to drink Coke. You may want to change the name and call it Cola I still prefer Coke.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Some of them, if they found out, would hold a lynching too.

      Gotta love the Divided States of Uhmerica.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. George

    Christians comments that they don't see how this is preaching hate just proves how ignorant they are and how they will manipulate the truth to justify their cause. A survey was done where people were asked if blinding a new born baby was an evil act. 100% of the people surveyed said it was an evil act. Then another survey was performed asking people if blinding a new born baby was an evil act even if their religion required it. Over 50% of the people surveyed stated that blinding a new born baby was not an evil act. Obviously, blinding a new born baby IS an evil act. That just shows you have evil and hate-driven religious people are. No matter how evil the act, as long as their fake god says it's ok, then they think it is ok. Religion = Hate & Faith = Ignorance

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

      Religion is only used to justify mans horrible nature. Not that any of them actually learn of take anything away from the bible except what can be used to justify the most terrible behavior.

      Most religious people wouldnt harm someone, unless their religion says its ok....thats some sad $%^& right there.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Merv

    Good for you, Chick-fil-A!

    Don't surrender to the gay thought police!!!

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

      Merv...member of the behavior police since he joined the church.

      Have you gotten your Bash Badge yet?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chase in Cali

    As the LBGT community and those that choose o boycott Cathy's establishment, this does nothing but give them free press. Their customer base will still frequent their establishment.

    This is no different than me saying I am Bo longer going to see a Johnny Depp movie because of his political stance (because I hate it). However, I continue to see his movies. Why? Because they are good just like Chick-fil-A's product.

    I support their belief and right to having this belief.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. james

    I already knew the company was right wing christian owned, I can't believe people are shocked to just
    find that out. I don't shop anywhere thats a far right company (wal-mart, blockbuster) – which is increasingly
    hard to find because of the $ and power they have collected. Thats why its important to vote every day by
    spending your money where it will count and not giving it to people who you disagree with. If you're against gay marriage, then by all means eat there. Personally I'd wouldn't eat any of that processed poisonus "food" anyway, and if you were that close to God you wouldn't either.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. imperfect christian

    The Cathy family and the Chickfila company has not said one word about 'hating gay people' .... in fact, in knowing this family personally, they do not dislike anyone...must less hate anybody. Being 'not in favor' of the gay lifestyle is an opinion and a belief on their behalf as Christians. It seems when 'Christians' profess not to condone the gay lifestyle we're automatically stuffed into the 'hate and bigotry' catagory when that is not true at all. Christians choose to believe what the Bible says and what God's plans for people should be ...and not thumbing our noses at him telling him we're right and he's wrong. May God continue to bless Chickfila !!!!

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

      @imperfect christian When you give millions of dollars to get the government to ban their right to marry, that's hateful. You can not condone something while allowing people the freedom to choose for themselves.

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

      Okay, then, I'm just "not in favor" of the conservative christian lifestyle.

      You can be conservative christian all you want. It's a lifestyle choice (just don't try to call it "natural" or say you were born that way). But, do you have to keep parading your christianity around for everyone else to see? Can't you just be christian and be quiet about it? Stop ramming it down our throats!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Also

    TRUTH is TRUTH ! I LOVE their food and will continue to support their brand.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. steve

    hmmm, right wing christian values, smells a lot like the taliban to me.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      Really?? Seriously?? Get a grip. When was the last time (Christian) women were covered head-to-toe, refused permission to drive or be seen in public w/out male family escort, banned from ANY form of education, or taken into the street and SHOT while bystanding men LAUGHED??? Good grief. Comparing Taliban to Christians. Even the Crusaders didn't do horrors such as that.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chad

    Company has a right to stand for what they believe in....just like we have the right to eat there or not. I don't really understand how anybody could be upset by this. Every company has ideas, beliefs, and certain values....it's us to the people to decide if they want ot support it or not.

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

      Bravo Chick-a-fila, you have earned my life time business. Stand up for your beliefs and don't be bullied into accepting something you don't agree with. It's so refreshing to see a company that lives its values.

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

      I just don't want to have to make a political statement just to eat a chicken sandwich or chocolate sandwich cookie.. From a business perspective it annoys me. Unless it directly impacts it business (e.g. lobbying for less regulations in its industry) I wish businesses would stay out of politics, especially social politics. Why potentially alienate customers?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • lest we forget

      this is a business, i don't care what this guys personal beliefs are and he should keep them to himself. what about changing the word gay for jews, women, blacks or any other exception. i will not patronize a business that pushes their beliefs on me. i am a white 64 year old woman who has a gay brother and daughter and i know that they were born that way. just as you were born a male or white or whatever, you had no choice in those matters. we are as god has made us. we are suppose to love one another, not point out our differences and then discriminate on them. i will vote with my wallet and never again go into their stores. i will also let my family know about this business and ask they if they feel the same as i do to stay away from them. shame on him and shame on his "beliefs".

      July 19, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gary

    I saw no hate in his statement, only standing on his belief. The hate seems to be from those that have no tolerance for those that do not agree with their views.

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

      @Gary Go look up their donations to groups who lobby to ban gay marriage. That's what's hateful, not the belief itself.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Conrad Murray

      Does that mean Wendy's can stop serving black folk if that's what they believe?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Amen to that, Gary. I support gay marriage but I'm sick and tired of people calling it hate when its just a difference of opinion......when did that become hate? For the millionth time, when did a difference of opinion automatically become hate? Those who accuse others of hate must have a lot of hatred inside them to know what it is.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. tom

    Yeah for Chick-fil-A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Harry From Pa

    The bible also practices tolerance, after all Christ didn't sit with the saints, he sat and preached and taught to the sinners. It is sad that people have to use their status to elevate a discriminatory statement such as this owner. I have eaten their before, but I don't think I will ever go there again after this comment. Whether people believe this or not, these people are still American, they still have rights, and they are brothers sisters, cousins. It's almost like the early 1900s with throwing those with mental disorders into asylums to never see them again. Geesh.

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

      Well maybe the pro-gay marriage people should learn to tolerate pro-traditional marriage people.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
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