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. Steve

    What makes you think only those offended alter their buying habits? I'm sure there are just as many people who respect their position and the fact they'll stand up for their principles that will make it a point to eat there more often. And though I disagree with their belief, I support their right to believe the way they want and frankly, I like their product.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Stevedm

    Good for Chick-fill-A ! There has never been a question where you stand on issues that can change society for the better. You are a company of integrity with clear bounderies between what you believe is right and what is wrong.
    I wish more companies had as much.
    Steve

    July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Erin

    All these comments about people being jaded that belong to a religion or being christian is completely false. I am christian, a staunch one at that and I do not by any means hate anyone despite of whatever they are or who they choose to be with. As a practicing christian I believe in the bible principle that it is NOT my right to judge anyone. Judging is left for our creator who it says in the bible judges ones heart. You cannot blame a business for wanting to stand by their faith and not support gay marriage. It is their belief, just as it's your belief to be ok with gay marriage. If you don't want to eat there then don't. no one is forcing you.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. ZandH

    Bible is not against gay, his followers misinterpret it. They only listen to whatever they like and against whatever they don't.God loves everyone.
    I'm not gay, I believe in God, I mean all Gods, and respect all religions.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. John Restrepo

    JR007: We need to stick to our Values especially when they are Biblically founded. Lets not forget that the Lord loves us all, but does not love our sinful ways – Isaiah 59:1-2.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jason

    Wasnt sure where to eat lunch today but Chic-fil-a here I come. What a great company!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve B

    Chick-Fil_A has a strong stance against gay marriage. Do they have just as strong stance against divorce and people who commit adultery?

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Lame69

      Considering there Christian believes I would have to say they are again Adultery considering its one of the ten commandments.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Love the sinner, hate the sin. Thanks Chik-Fil-A for standing your grade and for your community involvement with schools, police and fire depts, churches, youth organizations, etc. and the fund raising efforts put forth.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • EaglesQuestions

      @Steve B,
      Probably. But since that isn't a hot-button political issue, right now, the interviewer didn't bother to ask about any of that.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • misty

      "we are married to our first wives." I believe that answers your question.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nick

    It Is nice to see one company sticking up for its values!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mark

    I have gay friends whom I love, but I do not support their being gay. It is not hate at all, as some try to make it. I believe Gods word and I will stand up for Christ no matter what the people of this world think of me. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Those of you who support gays and call those who don't support gays "haters" are the ones who have hate in their tone. Chick-fil-a is standing up for Christ and I have a great respect for that.

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

      Muslim suicide bombers are standing up for Allah. You must support that just as much.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • cronewinter

      It may not be hate but it sure as heck isn't love and it could never really be a true friendship if you're so disapproving of your "friend".

      July 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Zach

      Nope, it's still hate. Just accept it.

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

    I don't understand people at times, it amazes me that because the "people" who happen to own a business incorporate Christian values in the way their business is operated, you label it as hate. Half of you wouldn't understand the importance of values if it was sleeping with you. The gay community "Hates" anything/anyone that does not agree with the "LIFESTYLE" they have chosen to live; now report on that!!! I don't support gay marriage in the least bit; but it doesn't mean that I'm filled with hate. Maybe if the individuals that are screaming would actually obtain some values, they would understand. I don't hate any of you, your lifestyle is "YOUR" lifestyle; live your life without trying to force everyone else to approve of it. We all have choices and opinions, just respect them!!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jose

    meh.. Not a single jimmy, was rustled.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. oldgaffer

    While I really don't see the need for a business person to moralize, I fully support his or her right to do so. This is still American, and it's protected First Amendment speech. In fact, even though I disagree with the speech's content, I am still willing to fight to preserve that speaker's right, knowing I probably won't get the same consideration in return.

    I, too, am married to my first wife – going on 33 years now, and I will take my fast food business somewhere that I know isn't financially supporting religion-based bigotry. More than anger, I feel sadness for people that have so blatantly – and proudly – misunderstood Jesus' message of love and tolerance.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. jim tom

    1. All men are fallible.
    2. Men write Bible.
    3. Bible is unquestionable.
    Pretty funny, huh?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. LoveChick-fil-A

    I can't wait for the next opportunity to eat at Chick-fil-A ! In this day and age, it takes real courage to stand firm in what you believe in the face of such a politically correct society !! Furthermore since when does disagreement with the LBGT lifestyle equal hatred/bigotry for the people that practice that lifestyle ?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. GRS62

    While I don't agree with the company's religious beliefs, it is their right to espouse them. This IS America, isn't it? Given that, I'm exorcising my rights by choosing not to patronize the company. There, wasn't that easy?

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