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. dave

    how can this be good for business?

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

      They got a free plug in the media. Its great for business. Negative press is still press.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Harvesting

    Here is what I really do not understand Hate? Really Hate? So if I disagree with something I automatically hate it? Life is not so black and white but LGBT do not use logic they use emotions. I do not like Pepsi I like Coke based on this 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. How does someone go from I do not agree to Hate?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. just LOST a straight customer slick!

    WHAT A MORON ...this guy is... Better find what planet your God is on and build a business there in a gay-free zone. My God lives in reality so I don't know what little minded god you serve but I won't be eating any of his stooges chicken... LOST CUSTOMER. and no I'm not gay thank you.

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

    He has a right to his beliefs and I have a right to take my money elsewhere, which I will.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rich

    Where is the so-called "hate" in Cathy's statement? Just because he doesn't support gay marriage, doesn't make him hateful. I see more hate spewed from the mouths of LGBT supporters. Eat their chicken or don't, but stop crying over it.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jerry B

    WE CHRISTIANS CERTAINLY KNOW. WE DO NOT HATE. WE LOVE OR TRY HARD TO LOVE AS JESUS DID. BY THE WAY ,THE CHICKEN IS GREAT. TRY SOME TODAY

    July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike S

    So basically if you don't say that you are open to ANYTHING you are filled with hate. This has got to be the most stupid argument ever. I've supported Chick-Fil-A for years and will continue to do so. They have great food, customer service and it's nice to know that they put other things before $$$$.

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

    mmmmm...God's House of Chicken

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

    IIf you're for gay marriage then I guess don't eat there. Eat at some bastion of debauchery, like Wendy's. Problem solved.

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

    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.

    Where in that does it say We hate gay people?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • jim tom

      Hi Diana. I don't hate you. I just think you're an abomination. And I wish you didn't exist. And I think you're going to spend the rest of eternity roasting in a fiery pit. But it's okay, because I never said the word hate.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      @jim tom: and where, exactly, did Mr. Cathy use words & phrases like abomination, didn't exist, and roasting in a fiery pit? Those words did not come out of his mouth, and unless you personally know him, or are a true mind reader – you cannot possibly "know what he thinks".

      July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. paulronco

    They make chicken sandwiches. Who cares what they think about complex civil rights issues. If you like their food, eat it. There are companies out there doing a lot worse with your dollars than Chik-fil-A. Just remember to wear your pro-Palestinian T-shirt in the next time you go, and call it even.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "wear your pro-Palestinian T-shirt in the next time you go" What next time?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Julie

    I believe gays should be afforded the same legal marital rights as married couples but I dont understand why they would want to be married in a chirstian church. They can be married by the justice of the peace heck Elvis conducts marriages in Los Vegas.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. jim tom

    Some people are just blind. Take a look around. Gay marriage is coming everywhere in the US. If you can't admit that, you are lying to yourself. Old people are dying, young people are being born. Do you know how many college age people are against gay marriage? You can postpone it, but you can't stop it. I would go ahead and start getting used to th idea.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Burger and chicken joints close every day and new ones open. But new bigots are born every day, so Mister Cathy can sell his hate nuggets to them as long as they last..

      July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. ofCanada

    If this is a company established as a Christian business that follows a particular creed within their religion, I don't know why they can't say whatever they like about their beliefs. What was said, appears to be "this is what I believe."

    I would have a serious problem with money they make going toward political actions in the form of elections or laws, but I do not care what they believe.

    I also do not need to eat at their restaurant, and will not (pretty easily said here in Canada, but I travel), but I don't intend to ever slam anything in their face about it. I'm sure others will eat there and I don't intend to pick on them, either.

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

    Good Job standing up for what you believe in, Wish there was chick-fil-a's in my neck of the woods.

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