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. bill

    Chick Fil A doesn't like birds? They should start selling beef

    July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Arthur John

    I love Chick-Fil-A. And I admire Mr. Cathy for standing up for the biblical truth. I can't wait til judgment day when all will stand before God and give an account for how or why we chose to live our lives. I don't think gays can tell God "You made me a gay."

    July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marie

    May God help those who choose the way of the devil, I pray for you each day. Thanks to the owner of Chik-Fil-A, for standing up for what is right.

    I don't care for the way CNN is reporting that only a few are taking the side of Chik-Fil-A. Gay marriage is WRONG.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. f1fan61

    i wonder how god looks upon companies who poison their customers with poultry that most likely has been raised in a 2×2 foot cage

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

    If you support gay marriage,
    and you accuse someone of hate simply because they don't (they haven't actually done anything, beyond answering "nope" when asked, or attempting to explain why they don't),
    then I'm way jealous of you. You've never known actual hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bruce Carter

    Hey – if you don't like Chick-Fil-A's stance, complain to God, not Chick-Fil-A. He is the one who wrote it in the Bible, not Chick-Fil-A. All they have done is say that they believe what is in the Bible.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Marg2u

    How does ones position on this issue equal hate? The LGBT community are showing their true colors, intolerance. I don 't see hate anywhere in Chick Fil A's position in supporting and standing by their belief of marriage being a union between a man and a woman. This is my belief as well but I stil have gay friends and I love them and they love me.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. No Acceptance For All As Equal?

    In a day and age of social progression when most people are seeing all others as equal in the eyes of God and the law, such as the acceptance of interracial marriage, something considered completely unacceptable just a few years back, we have this company espousing exclusion which is not a family value. They must remember that Jesus said "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye Love One Another; as I have loved you, that ye also Love One Another." - JOHN 13:34 - KJV. Given their current stance they deserve no further support from me nor will they get it nor from many of my family members and other friends. This certainly goes way beyond just saying they espouse what they believe in as it allows them to conveniently practice exclusion. Can you only imagine if this company decided, as Christians, to exclude Moslems and those from other religions and stood firm on that stance? Following their latest position, could that not follow shortly? Shame on them!! Love One Another unconditionally as Jesus told you to do!

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

      @No Acceptance,
      I see what you're trying to do there,
      but out of everything that this food company does... employment, serving, etc, from what are these people being "excluded." The only thing they actually did was make a verbal statement.

      If you're mistaking a statement for exclusion, then I'm way jealous of you:
      You've never experienced actual exclusion, and can't tell the difference.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. debie

    Chick-Fil-A should now come out in favor of slavery. after all it promotes that in the Bible as well. Somehow I think more people would refuse to eat at their restaurants if they espoused that belief. Gays are always accused of "picking and choosing" what we want to believe regarding the Bible. However, so called "Christians" do that every day by taking one or two verses of the Bible and slamming others. Just remember when you stand in front of your churches and try to keep gays out, you are literally turning your back on God and His church!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mom in Maine

    why is having an opinion wrong, it doesn't agree with yours. I am fed up with being told I have to accept the liberal ideas and that MINE are wrong and your are right. you support yours let the conservatives supprot theirs

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • ag

      Mom in Maine – the difference is, no gay groups are telling you that you can't marry your husband because it's "unnatural."

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • What did you say

      Here is the difference... when we suggest you might be wrong, we are not following it up with a "and you will burn in hell." statement. Go ahead, believe what you want.. but it is you and your "christian" values that seem to take pleasure in turning up your noses, smirking, telling us we are wrong.. and remind us of our eternal damnation. Let me tell you what I say to all those who tell me I am going to hell... I promise to save them a hot rock so they won't have to stand.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • s

      I see your from Maine, that explans alot

      July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • PF

      Being discriminatory against an entire group of normal people, most of whom just want to live and let live, isn't an "opinion" worthy of respect.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. jb1963

    I have a gay friend who has worked there for a few years. She told me she was hiding it but is now going to come out to them and see what they do to her.

    I smell a discrimination law suit on the horizon.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Since there is nothing in the story that indicates that Chick-fil-A is discriminating against LGBT people in either customer service or hiring, I would have to take a neutral position on this.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Drew

    I am confused by some of these comments. Since when does "I don't agree with you"= Hate. Remember tolerance is NOT a one way street. You have your opinion, I have mine. Just because we don't agree doesn't equal hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • ATXmaxQ

      *Applause*

      July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Abdul Halim

    Dear Mr. Cathy, though Iam not a christian, I totally agree marriage is defined and made clear; that, man be.joined to a woman in this ordained union...Have they forgotten Sodom and Gommorah

    July 19, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Andy

    I support Chick-fill-A's beliefs in general including this one. It is refreshing to see that someone is still standing for what they truly believe in without wavering regardless of the pressure when the president himself can't even do that. This is from a former Obama beleiver.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Good job Andy. I am guessing you are a 31 year old white guy from the northeast that liked hope and change 4 years ago and now have grown up realizing Obama is a joke. Welcome to the club.

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