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. Jerry B

    I am so glad we have a chic-fil-a only four miles away. I will support it 110%.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. CP

    What this article fails to mention is that Chick-fil-A donated $2 Million to anti-gay legislation in 2010 alone. So they are using customer's dollars to espouse their beliefs, dollars they wouldn't have if people didn't frequent their restaurants. It's one thing to have "beliefs", it's another to support legislation to take away another human's rights.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    I personally am for gay marriage, and am not religious. But this doesn't bother me at all, they are a chicken place it's not the end of the world. They can believe whatever they want, and to call his statement hateful is silly I think. I saw no hate in it, just his views, and the posts demanding he agree with them seemed more hateful to me...

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Admiral605

    In response to Hipocracy: what is hateful about Chick-fil-A's stance? They simply disagree with your beliefs so you label them as hate mongers. I don't understand your logic. You choose to attack other's for their beliefs and yet you as a liberal preach tolerance (it's a deep irony that you have the screen name hipocracy). There is nothing in Chick-fil-A's statement that is hateful, and keep in mind they were asked by a reporter what their beliefs are. They did not post a billboard on the outside of their restaurants stating that gay marriage is evil. I am now convinced that the left is completely insane. Christians this should be a warning to all....we will be labeled hate mongers just for disagreeing.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      your lying...... and you KNOW it
      because they are not just SAYING it, they are taking ACTION
      you KNOW this but you AGREE with it
      so you are an explainer of hate

      try and make it OK all you want, BUT when you engage in hate it is the devils work
      yes you can do it behind a Jesus mask all you want
      but if it doesn't come from love it doesn't come from God
      being passive aggressive about it doesn't change that

      YOU are doing the devils work

      July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. imperfect christian

    @Scott B ..... quit trying to twist and turn things around for your own agenda. If you don't like what this company has said and what they stand for, then don't eat there !!! Not rocket science .....

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

    What does support of gay marriage or lack there of have to do with serving chicken?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      nothin but if your heart is filled with hate it spills out in to every thing you do......even serving really bad chicken sandwishes

      July 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    Just one more reason why Chick-Fil-a is the best.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. lance corporal

    I stopped eating there 20 years ago when I first found out, it is amazing how many folks don't know

    those of us FOR universal civil rights waaaaaaay out number those against
    it is only that we are busy with other aspects of our lives and the hate lobby
    is vociferous and highly motivated

    in the LONG run repression NEVER wins
    progress always happens
    enjoy your hate while you can

    July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    How does anyone know what God wants? God did not write the bible and if he does exist, he has the power to send a clear message that can't be argued. As my parents said, just be a good person.

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

    Nice job! I hope the lines to the counter are smaller. This is great for the people who love the chicken!

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

      I will definitely patronize them more. Good for them for standing up to the bullies.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • EaglesQuestions

      Actually... I think they've gained a few customers.
      There's a location near me that I didn't know about before all of this free publicity. I think I'll try it for lunch.

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

      I personally don't care whether gay people marry or not, it is of absolutely no concern to me whatsoever. Neither is the opinion of a restauranteur, an athlete, or a movie actor. If I like the chicken (which I do) I am going to go there. If I like the music I will listen. If I like the movie I will watch. People put way too much stock into the opinions of people that don't matter. All I really care about in this instance is whether this place keeps making good tasting chicken sandwiches.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Abdul Halim

    Dear Mr Cathy, Iam not a christian but I do share ur correct ideaology that marriage has been classified and ordained by Allah (God) to be between Man and Woman... Have they forgotten Sodom and Gammorah

    July 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Liza Johnson

    I'm sure 50 yrs ago these same people would NOT haved believed in inter racial marriage and before that,
    GOD only knows... Bless their little heart ;~]

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

    Thanks for passing the word along CNN. I've eaten there a few times in the past. Now I will make sure that I never eat there again.

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

      Good for you, more for me!!!!! And for everyone else thinks that taking this stance is about hatred then you all need to go back and educate yourselves for that not one word of hatred was spewed from the chick fil a. Maybe gay people and gay supporters would be liked more if they were a little more knowledgeable in their minds, and if they didn't have a co(k in their a$$ acting like children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve P

      Why...has their chicken sandwich gone downhill?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ontheisland

    The owner just stated what he believes in and he has that freedom; for all who don't want to patronize his business you have that freedom; don't say it's hate; it's freedom.

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

      You mean he has the freedom to espouse his hate...

      July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kathleen Sullivane

    What happend to the land of the free and having a right to your own opinion. Just because they stand by what the Bible says about marriage doesnt mean that they hate gay people. God doesnt hate people He hates sin. Why do people always have to wave the racist of bigot flag everytime someone doesnt agree with their beliefs. Props to Chik-fi-a

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