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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. Jason

    If you believe in free speech, freedom of religion, and you think it is ok for oreo to come out of the closet, then you have to agree that chick fil a can take this stance.....otherwise you don't believe in freedom, yet you would be a fascist. Personally, I think businesses need to stay out of these social and moral issues that has nothing to do with their product but with companies like oreo coming out I don't see anything wrong with chick fil a sticking to their beliefs. If you don't like it you are probably an intolerant facist commie that wants to force your beliefs on me while screaming christians are forcing their beliefs on you. Fair is fair, everyone can speak their belief even if you don't agree. That is freedom of speech.

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

      I hear what you are saying Jason but the problem isn't freedom of speech. It's the fact that this is reality. In most states, it's illegal for gays to marry. So when someone comes out (especially someone of influence) and makes such comments, it's a slap to the face of the gay community. I could care less what his views are if they didn't actually contribute to inequallity that gays face. Gays are not subcitizens. Gays are humanbeings and deserve the same rights and respect as you and everyone else.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      @James: SO, while you say it WOULD be freedom of speech to come out in support FOR the Gay community, to be in support of traditional marriage is NOT? THAT is called hypocracy. Also, when you deny me something you want for yourself and others like yourself, that is called DISCRIMINATION. Something you and others like yourself are having tantrums over.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. crabman

    guess what folks its a choice -- they chose family values –man and woman - why is this intolerance what because its not your way ???? get over your selves you want to live a life style fine live it but don't tell me or any one else that we have to except it .

    July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bunnie Watson

    Does Chik-fil-A also support slavery? That is scripturally part of Christianity. How about stoning of adulterers? There would be quite a few dead Christian leaders if they were punished for infidelity as the Bible prescribes. You'll find lots of other rules for living embodied in the Old Testament which modern day believers conveniently skip over.

    The gospel of America is free-enterprise, get-your-share capitalism. Those who disapprove of Mr. Cathy's public statement of company policy can and will take their fast food dollars elsewhere. Those who support him can have my share of chicken biscuits, waffle fries, cinnamon clusters and all their other righteous foods to strengthen the ranks of Christian soldiers.

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

    I agree, Cathy's word's didn't mention anything about hate. And he does have the right to say how he feels even if his views are ignorant and stupid. But you have to agree that comments like the ones he made will draw allot of fire from the people he is discriminating against. Would you not be angry and want to retaliate for someone saying that you shouldn't have equal rights as everyone else?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. MikeD.

    There's no such thing as God. You people are pathetic. How long is it going to take you to realize this...? Look around and use your brains for once.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Becky

    Mmmm now I want nuggets! Seriously, I can't believe this is even "News"

    July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. jenny

    this story makes me hungry.....the only reason i would not like chic fil a is if they forgot my pickle...........

    July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      They just told you they are not in favor of the pickles!

      July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cooper

    I respect their views, as long as they respect mine. Just because I respect them, doesn't mean I believe they are right. Their views are their opinions,no more, no less. But this is a fact: They will never ever get another dollar from me. I know that they won't go bankrupt if a family of 6 stops going there a couple of times a week, but if hundreds or thousands of people stop going, who knows what will occur?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Say What?

      Dont think you have enough backbuddies for that....

      July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      So, you mean to say you've eaten there before and never had a clue they were a Christian-based company built on Christian values? If you knew, the fact that the owner and founder believes marriage is between a man and a woman should not surprise you. If you are that self-righteous, then you really should do your reseach into every company you support and boycott all of them that don't share your views. Not just the ones that have the courage to admit them.

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

    I wonder if he's going to ask all of his employees to not touch the skin of a pig or not wear clothing made out of multiple fabrics, both of which are also banned by Levictus.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe blows

      God you are soooooo dumb...do you read just part of the bible you like or did you skip the big words? Can you even read? can you tie your own shoes by yourself? I mean, there's dumb and then there's you!. Is your IQ even as high as your shoe size? Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh

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

      Old Covenant Joe. Before you criticise, make sure that you don't do so from ignorance.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Oreagano

      Joe, if you want to post a witty retort might I suggest you actually know the subject on which you are offering your quick quip. Christians believe the new covenant set by Christ overcame and supplanted the Old Testament sacrificial and "legal" requirements in Leviticus, etc. You may not believe it but before calling others hypocrites you should know what they believe.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Moose

    It's amazing how the gay community insists that others be tolerant of their "lifestyle" but they refuse to grant that same tolerance and respect to those who hold devout religious beliefs. Sorry gay community, but we Christians answer to a Higher Authority. It's gratifyng to see a company hold to their spiritual beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Pamela

      I agree 100%. Their stance has nothing to do with hate. Just because I don't condone your sin doesn't mean I hate you. A sin is a sin, God doesn't hate the sinner, he hates the sin. It's a bitter pill, swallow it!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • CBinKY

      Tolerance is giving EACH and every other person EVERY right you claim for yourself. Gays and lesbians do that. Christian's don't.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Wait, it does not say Chick-Fil-A refuses to serve or employ gay people. All the article says is that it's founder and owner believes in the principles he believes are prescribed in the bible. What's that have to do with the food they serve? My wife worked at a Chick-Fil-A for years. They knew we were both previously divorced and on our second marriage. There were many people working there that would never claim to be Christian inlcuding at least one VERY openly gay young man. I think the people threatening to boycott the place are the ones spreading the hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. shara

    You can make your own chicken sandwiches! Here's a recipe...

    (from Hilahcooking.com, as seen on Fark, Gawker, Huffington Post etc)

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jack The Tripper

    I hope they don't serve any type of pork product or wear uniforms of two types of material woven together. Their female workers better not be serving food while menstruating for th ebible tells us so.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      Old Covenant Jack. Before you criticise, make sure that you don't do so from ignorance.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jerry B

    Most people support CHIC FIL A. They are very successful. I really feel kind of proud when i'm dining there. I'm part of the Christian IN crowd. The chicken is good!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    Gays are only 2% of the population and a relatively small percentage of them would get married even if they could. We are talking about a ROUNDING ERROR of people that are directly affected by this issue. Personally, I think that government should have a say in as little of our lives as possible, so I think they should be able to get married, but I'm not so foolish to think that this issue is even slightly important in the grand scheme of things. I don't care what side of this issue you are on, but you are wasting your time if you even give it any more thought than, say, what color shirt you are going to wear on January 3 of 2016. Come on people WAKE UP. Let's start talking about the economy and jobs and stop wasting time with inconsequential red herrings like gay marriage. I wonder which nonsense issue we will let ourselves get distracted by next. How about Eskimo fishing rights??

    July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172