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. midogs2

    I'm a hetero, and I won't patronize there product.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Mosey

      No one cares.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. novak

    Its funny how people try to use the "hate" and "bigot" and other various cards when someone is just simply stating their own beliefs. Just because someone doesn't agree, does not mean it is out of hate. People just need to grow up and stop crying about every little pointless statement.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. oldschool

    God Bless Chick-Fil-A!!!! Finally a respected business who is not afraid to stand up for their beliefs and NOT to be pushed around by anyone........refreshing change... I love it and will "eat mor chikin"

    July 19, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. spleeno

    Farewell, Chick-Fil-A, I will miss your waffle fries, but there's another restaurant down the street that does decent waffle fries too that doesn't support hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mosey

      That's your loss.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      by by

      July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Willie12345

    How do I get a Chic-Fil-A in my town ? They seem like a wonderful organization.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. anothermuse

    While I tend to be more liberal on this subject than the Cathy's are, why is this a story? Chick Fil A has always been a Christian organization. I didn't see any quote saying they were going to discriminate against people with different beliefs, only that their beliefs were different. I don't happen to agree with them, but I don't see a bit of controvery One man expressed a not surprising opinion. People are allowed, and if I remember right, encouraged to that.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • pokadot

      Right on, I couldn't have said it better!

      July 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Richard

    Good – o for Chick-fil-a and the Boy Scouts of America.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Al

    I've never eaten there but will now!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Siggie

    Gay chickens would put Chick-fil-A out of business.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • C. Shades

      What does that even mean?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      only in your dreams

      July 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JWH Atlanta

    While Chic-Fil-A is a family owned business and can choose how to run their business, deciding to go out of your way to offend a significant percentage of their market is not good business. I choose where to spend my money and Truett and Dan Cathy will get no more of it.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • D Garcia

      Significant part of their market!?!? Gays and lesbians aren't even 3% of the population as whole. Even if Chick-Fil-A's market demographics match those of the country (unlikely because they don't have a huge presence in large cities like New York, LA, San Fran etc.) this isn't going to hurt the bottom line one bit. So the owner of a privately held company says that he supports biblically based, traditional marriage...so what?!?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • JoJo

      Stating or confirming your beliefs is not a "blantant attack" on anybody........Everyone that disagrees with the bible always wants to call it "hate". Disagreeing with another's lifestyle is not hate either.....you might want to check your definitions....just saying.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. eddi

    Why is it that when Christians stand up for their beliefs people start yelling "haters" but when other religions do it they're considered being faithful? Just because we believe marriage should be between a woman and a man doesn't mean we hate anyone. We ALL need to wake up and stop being such a hedonistic, "if it feels good you should" society. God ain't playin, I'm just sayin.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Breeze

      Since you have no proof that God even exists, and you take it on faith, you should not be condemning others based upon your faith. Live and let live. God is dead.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • JeffMCincy

      It's fine to have your own beliefs and to live your life in accordance with them. It's another thing for a corporation to donate free food and cash to organizations which have been designated as hate groups. People who work with hate groups have to wear the designation of haters.

      Since they are donating their profits, it's my choice not to buy their food and add to those profits.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • JoJo

      Love it Eddi!!! You hit it right on!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. MIchele

    added to the boycott list. eat more beef!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    I think it's great that they are standing by their beliefs. God is the one who defined marriage in the book of Genesis so only God can change it,not gay people.Why is it gay's preach tolerance but are not tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.Everyone shoulr eat mor chicken

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      Dan,
      You nailed it. People are allowed in American to be faithful to their beliefs. Just because God says man and woman shall be joined together and you follow and believe that doesn't make you a bigot. I'm a christian, I don't hate gays. I just don't subscribe to their beliefs. To put it bluntly; man is fallable. God is infallable. So, who do I believe? The Creator of course. So simple. Man step over the simple things looking for the complex.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Dan-
      God did not define marriage in the book of Genesis. Marriage pre dates the bible.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      In your opinion. Not everyone believe in your god. Deal with it

      July 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nick

    This is why Chick-Fil-A is in the in south and Bible Belts. Red Necks will always be Red Necks. Wonder if they have anything hidden in their closets. Must be a wonderful life with no problems....Swaggart, Baker, and Haggard, Hmmmm.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      Why don't you look for something

      July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gandfs

    I must applaud Chik-Fil-A for not caving in to the pressure. At the end of the day, they put God over money. Not many do that nowadays...

    Its very intriguing to me that if you openly deny support for gay marriage and/or gay initiatives, suddenly you're hating. Since when is disagreement, hate?? Man this country goes further downhill everyday. But its the signs of the times, get ready folks, we'll all be meeting our maker soon whether you believe He exists or not.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      When you spend your money, promote dialogue, and push for laws that marginalize a segment of the population for bigotted reasons, yes, that's hateful.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • pete

      putting god iver money is pretty dumb becuase money is real, and god is not.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Yes, wonderful...they placed mythology and fable over real-world business and economy. What a nice, lucid grip they have on reality

      July 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
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