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. USN-Ret

    Another non-issue. Freedom is alive and well in the USA.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. skb8721

    A great idea: The LGBT community across the U.S. should dress in blatant LGBT Pride T-shirts and eat en masse at Chick-Fil-A. Sort of like a LGBT flash mob thing. And just dare the company to say anything.

    True, you'd have to buy the chicken to avoid accusations of "loitering" . . . but it IS good chicken.

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

    Really Dan? How do they discrimiate? Because Mr. Cathy has an opinion that maybe doesn't agree with yours? I live in Houston and have been in Chick-Fil-a standing next to an openly gay person, that happen to have all the stereotypes. Everyone in that Chick-fil-a treated this person with the same respect given to all their customers. So is it maybe because they are closed on Sunday? I just don't see the discrimination, so maybe you can tell us. Something other than his opinion does not match yours.

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

      Donating to groups actively seeking to rip apart families with same gender partners isn't discrimination?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • indorri

      Donating to groups that fight against marriage equality isn't discrimination?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Its not just that they have a different opinion. It's that they give money to help organizations that seek to delegitimize and harm my family. Of course they treat gay customers the same when they are at the counter. They want our business. The problem is what they do with our money.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Telling that gay person that they shouldn't have the right to get married or start a family is discrimination, even if they'll happily sell that person a chicken sandwich.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Great post Rob!

      July 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      well said

      July 21, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Emma Leigh

      Like

      July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Snacklefish

    I think people should be more concerned where this country's government is heading rather than whether your chicken nuggets are pro or anti gay.

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

    I will be feasting on chick-fil-a sandwiches this weekend.

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

      dywlf says:
      "I will be feasting on chick-fil-a sandwiches this weekend."

      Yes, clog your arteries with all of that fried food to show the world what a champion for bigotry you are. Poetic justice will be inevitable.

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

    Why is everyone worried about what stance Chic-Fil-A's sance on gay marriage is? The only thing Chic-Fil-A needs to worry about is if I want fries with that! It's a restraunt.

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

    It's not hate, it's truth. More Believers need to STOP BEING CHICKENS!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nishant Patil

    What?????? Chick fil A is CHRISTIAN?????????? i totally thought it was run by a bunch of cow loving hindus. learn somethingg new everyday

    July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. WCTampaMommy

    I really love Chick-Fil-A. I do not agree, however, with their stance. I have never had a sermon served with my chicken sandwich, so as long as I don't start receiving a pamphlet with my food, I will continue to eat there. There will always be two very strong opinions on this topic. My issue is that they don't have a problem taking money from these people that they stand so firmly against. So sad, we will never be a people that truly "respects" others.

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

    I think I will be having Chick-fil-A for lunch.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jack The Tripper

    Being moral is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Being religious is doing what you are told regardless of what is right.

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

      beautiful!!!!!! I have never seen that quote before

      it says it perfectly

      July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Karen

    Good for Chik-fil-A! Finally, a Christian that's NOT afraid to state their beliefs. Whether it's my opinion or not doesn't even matter. It's his opinion and he's not afraid to say it. Good!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. FFrank

    You can't hide hate behind religion. Sorry, but nice try.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    I'm so tired of all the bigotry, discrimination and hate! When are liberals and gays going to start accepting those who don't share their views?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Amen brother. I am actually shocked to see all of the positive comments in here. America will only take so much liberal abuse. This is why I think Romney will get in office because people have had enough of this minority equal rights BS

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

      by definition the "liberals" are accepting
      no one is saying christians and even radical christians can't believe what they like
      handle snakes etc, I really don't care or wish to impede them in any way

      it is only when they get out there are try to disallow others that we stand up against them

      oh and the whole beating up, harassing and even killing gays thing............
      yeah we're against that

      July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. bill

    I guarantee they get record sales in the next few days. I also think they should invest in a good glass fitter because the OWS groups across america will probably throw rocks thru the windows and poop all over the floors. Dirtballs

    July 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      most of the people in OWS and similar groups have known about chick fil a's hateful stance for a couple of decades

      when's the last time you heard of one of their stores being trashed???

      no???

      July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
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