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. Steve

    I don't understand the problem. They're not saying they won't welcome and serve gays, they just don't believe in gay marriage. They're not denying anybody anything. What's the difference if they came out and said they were Yankee fans? Does that mean they hate anyone who's not a Yankee fan? Of course not! Gays need to pick legitimate battles. Everyone still has the right to enjoy the best chicken sandwich in America! It's your choice. What a great country!

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

      Steve, the problem is that they are using the profits from their company to support organizations that advocate against civil rights of gay people. It's not their opinion that matters, it's that they are fighting against something I believe very strongly in – marriage equality. Therefore, I will not patronize their business to avoid giving them any of my money for their cause.

      Of course, their food is crappy, too, so I wouldn't go there anyway.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • paulronco

      It is implied they could be supporting anti-gay legislation with your dollars.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    So they cant have their own values?? Every company in the world has a set of values they follow. This is was wrong with this country they say we have freedom of speech but only if you say the right thing!!! come on people there are people starving to death and this is the biggest news story!!!

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

      They are free to preach, and I'm free to walk past them and eat at KFC. They can get a big box of hate nuggets and demonstrate at soldiers' funerals, and I can stop patronizing them and let them go out of business. Free country, y'all.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Klaas Jan

    You are a restaurant, not a church. What's next, bible verses on sandwich boxes?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hugh Jass

    They also make fun of Dwarfs. The more I find out about them, the nastier they seem. Not eating there again.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Danielle

    So what? Just because he...as the founder of Chik-Fil-A...does not support gay marriage (he doesn't have to) doesn't mean that the company itself is discriminatory. That restaurant provides nothing but good food, good service...and I would rather a person be honest and stand for what they believe...rather than lie to win over the public despite what they really believe. An environment of acceptance all around would be amazing...but an environment of tolerance is atleast civil...and cordial.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. vert2013

    Seriously what did you people expect? They've never hidden the fact that they are a Biblically based company. Bible believers and Gay anything don't mix.

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

      "Bible believers and Gay anything don't mix." Bible believers are often closet gays themselves; I bet this has more to do with him being a boy named Cathy than anything else.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. GeorgeBos95

    Chick-Fil-A can stand firm in their beliefs ... so long as they don't violate any laws in the process.

    I personally don't care what they believe in. But if they ever discriminate against anyone on the basis of their religious views ... then they should find that the Long Arm of the Law can come down on them much more powerfully than The Hand of God.

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

      Well said

      July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chicken Pluckers

    I always look to fastfood chains for insight on controversial issues. Yesterday I asked Ray Croc what he thought about Medical Marijuana

    July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dewight

    i stopped eating at chick because the lines are too long but after the comments.... i think i will wait in that line a little longer GREAT JOB CHICK-FIL-A!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ted in Maryland

    It's a failing of our educational system and a triumph of propaganda that religious fanatics use the word "truth" instead of "belief" to describe their opinions about which groups it's OK to hate and discriminate against.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Keep Fear Alive

    thanks you for standing FIRM in your Christian Hate !!! Its important to select those areas of the Bible that reinforce our insecurities in societiey and make a public show of them ... By vilifying an entire segment of your potential customer base, and perhaps the wealthier segment, you really show how important it is in these hate-filled tough times to stick like glue when pretending that your bigotry isn't merely wrapped in the swaddling cothes of a new-borne religion.... sure, you may be on the wrong side of history ... but just remember, you are on the Correct Side of HATE .. good luck with new batch of headaches ! Love, All you fellow hate-filled phony christians ..

    July 19, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Freedom From Insanity

    I will continue to support Chick-fil-A and allow my mind to separate personal religious beliefs from my food habits. Good food,, good service and they have stuck to their beliefs by being closed o Sunday. As I read the statement, Mr. Cathy says they beige in the bible's definition of marriage. While I support whatever people decide to do with their personal lives, it will not affect my purchasing habits. I don't asupport Walmart, but not because of their hiring and other business strategies....they just aren't convenient to my shopping routes. Live and let live!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. jc

    @ mom in maine and other "conservatives"
    So I guess it's ok to force YOUR opinions and "religion" on the "liberals" as you so call them? about 150 years ago the "liberals" of the day opposed slavery I guess you are the ones that would have supported it. After all conservatives are for keeping this country stagnent with nothing progressing into the 21st century. Perhaps that's because you have no original thought or vision of this country. What sorry people you are.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. tolerant of others

    the problem with all this is that people are basing their beliefs on a book written by man and using said beliefs to act out against others. Who cares who marries who and who loves who...it does not affect you...move on to something important to focus your energy on like education,poverty, homelessness or the environment. There are much much worse things in the world than people loving each other. And before the nutjobs come out I am married with kids and was brought up and practice an organized religion...I just have the ability to have some common sense about what really matters in life...so tired of of the intolerance

    July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. bill

    They are the biggest gay enablers out there. They think by running story after story people will come over to their side when the exact opposite is true.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
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