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. kadeib

    Im going to chick-fil-a for lunch today after reading this

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

      Cheers, and take a colleague

      July 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. kadeib

    I am going to chick-fil-a- for lunch today after reading this

    July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. bettys

    Just as it is their right to take a stand, it is the customers right to take one too. If they lose business because of this, they can only blame themselves. The religious right should just eat there 5 times a week to overcome this lol

    July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lean6

    It's best to just leave matters of spirituality out of government, business, and CAPITALISM in this way. It just arms dissenters with all that they need to point out...inconsistencies.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sean

    If that's the owner's personal belief, then so be it. He has every right to believe what he wants...I think he's wrong personally, but that's my belief. And it's my right not to patronize his restaurants if he's using them or their profits to further a cause I don't believe in. I have no time for bigotry and intolerence. Hatred wrapped in religion and prayer is still hatred, regardless of the wrapper.

    I'm gonna miss their milkshakes...

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

      Hey bud, his beliefs shouldnt affect you. After all, you are stating what you believe in, so would it be correct of me to say this but are you not showing intolerance, even as you write about intolerance.....Morals are good, as long as they are your morals, kind of two faced, don't you agree?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. bill

    Its really simple folks. Be for gay marriage or get slammed by the liberal news media. The same people want to make it a Christian issue and say Christians promote hate ect, but the liberals are the ones that will throw rocks thru about 25 stores across the country tonight after the close. Makes me sick how this agenda is being pushed all over the news

    July 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Nat Q

      That's funny. It makes ME sick to know there are still people spewing such hate and going so far out of their way to ensure that the lives and rights of others remain legally restricted.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. DocHollywood

    And for those who so admire a company that "stands up for it's beliefs", would you also admire a company if they still believed in slavery? No? Funny things about beliefs. They're only moral and good if it's what you believe in.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    I prefer pickles on my Chik-Fil-A sandwiches. Clearly, this means I am bigoted and hate people who don't like pickles on their sanwiches.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Harry From Pa

    I bet this man although does not support gay marriage, has taken money from them. And has helped to spread his businesses and make them successful.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. griff griff

    As a Christian, I concur with my brother Cathy. He is just stating what the Word of God says and what we personally believe. Do we hat them? Absolutely not!! John 13:34 says "As I have loved you, so you ought love one another." I am not perfect and God through Jesus loves me. How can I have the audacity to hate another human being? I truly believe that a traditional family is one man-one woman. If two men want to be "married", then the consequences are on them at the day of judgement. I have gay and lesbian family members, co-workers, and friends and I love them all to death. I will be eating Chik-Fil-A for a very long time to come. Stay strong brother Cathy!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @griff griff I don't have a problem with your beliefs. Just your approval of people that are trying to encode their beliefs into law, imposing them on people who do not share their beliefs. You should give people the freedom to commit sins that do not harm others in our living world. Let your God take care of things.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chelle

    Being a supporter of traditional family values does not mean you hate gays...sheesh, and people call religious people judgmental and close-minded...

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

      The Bible says you can't get divorced and remarried, but I don't see this HYPOCRITE talking about his fellow Christian adulterers.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      "traditional family values"? what does that even mean. Rush limbaugh and newt gingrich are "family values" advocates. They have how many wives between them? Men and women can get married in vegas within 15 minutes of meeting each other. What kind of "values" are those?

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

      Chelle said:
      "Being a supporter of traditional family values does not mean you hate gays...sheesh, and people call religious people judgmental and close-minded..."

      Well considering that you lot hid behind the "traditional family values" banner when you were supporting the racist attacks on interracial marriage in the 50's and 60's, I think it's quite warranted. And by the way, I am a gay man and I support "traditional family values," and that includes not disowning or hating your family just because you don't understand them, though the Christian Right would tell us that this is a "traditional family value" even as they try to DESTROY families that don't adhere to their definition of what a family should be. Being in favor of "traditional" values and supporting gay marriage are not mutually exclusive, especially considering the "traditional" values that this nation was founded on, including the right to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bucktooth

    This will just help to maybe shut down another chemically laden, GMO fast food joint! I never eat at any of them!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Me

    BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! it's nice to see someone (individual or company) speak up about wht they believe. It's not hate to feel things are against what you believe. Our contry was formed so that we could escape persecution for having different beliefs. The right to believe whatever you want to belive is a right given to each of us. The backlash that comes from this is what our country has turned into.

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

    I'm going to Ckick-Fil-A for lunch today, haven't been there in some 15 years.

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

    I expected better from CNN than to allow Chick-fil-A's values to be called Christian values without hesitation in the opening sentence of this article. Allowing only the right-wing nut version of Christianity ownership of what are called Christian values is an incredible display of bias, one I might expect from Fox News, but not one I expected from CNN. There are millions of Christians, including me, who abhor the values expressed by this organization, and we are no less Christian. Your biased choice of language leaves the general public the impression that all Christians are of that ilk, and it helps us not one iota in spreading the Gospel message of God's grace available freely to all people.

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