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. Lame69

    What is wrong with People. He said he is for traditional family unit. He never said I hate gays. If I had to guess there are probably even gay people working for the company.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. BAN Chic-Fil-A

    why would a business shoot themselves and for no apparent reason unless they think it will not matter... believe me it will make a difference in your customer base. Business should be good come Sunday, now Monday through Saturday ...ummmm I'm not so sure about anymore... oh' thats right ....you don't open on Sunday... too bad!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. jim tom

    "It is sad that a man would look to a thousand year old book to tell him right from wrong. I wrote the answers for him in his own heart." -God

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

      God never said that.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lena

    What does gay marriage have to do with fast food? Why do they even have a political stance? Do they host weddings? Why did this man say anything about his personal views? I don't get it. Stupid Americans.

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

      @Lena –

      What does gay marriage have to do with fast food?
      A: Nothing

      Why do they even have a political stance?
      A: Because everyone has a political stance, even privately owned businesses. You wouldn't question that if this stance happened to agree with yours.

      Do they host weddings?
      A: Probably not. Try McDonald's.

      Why did this man say anything about his personal views?
      A: Because he was asked, and
      Because we're allowed to have personal views in America.

      Stupid Americans.
      A: Way to oppose the hate, there, Lena.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    Personally I don't see it being anything of a big deal. It's a business, if you don't like their beliefs in some fashion don't go there. That's it. Done. That's what Freedom is all about...
    Besides, their chicken is rather bland in my opinion. I think I tried it once 10 years ago and thought it was average.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tr1Xen

    Homework assignment, guys: Send a love letter to Chick-fil-A, addressed to Dan Cathy. Tell him how much you adore his buns, and not the kind that come with a chicken sandwich! 😉

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

    you will never losse my business ... IT is funny that the liberals protest this so greatly ... and yet they dont protest people forcing the believes of the other side down anyones throat

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

      Like the belief that all men are created equal, like Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself? It's a free country, Chik fil A can be bigoted, and I'm free not to eat there.

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

      Yes, because christians, who want prayer in public schools, religious symbolism in government buildings, and religious definitions of legal marriage never try to force their beliefs down anyone's throat.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike J.

      Wuld ewe pleez lern too spell befor ewe rite?

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

      I love when anti-public school tea baggers write these posts, please next time find a way to spell check.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ASmith

      I am conservative and I am shocked. This is a business that serves everyone. We are a country of equality and as much as I disagree with gay marriges, etc.. from a business standpoint it was a very UNSOUND move. It now labels the company as a company of hate and discrimination. People that go there to eat will have now this overshadowing feeling that people are looking at them with hate. Also, they are now facing lawsuits from their employees on the basis of having to work for a company that creates a unsafe both possible physical and emotional. I work in HR for the past 11 years for a fortune 500 company and trust me, there is going to be major lawsuits by their own people that they will not win. If the fire people because they disagree they are in violation of federal employment laws..even if it is private owned business. By law, a business MUST not bring religion into employment and they just did. The only time this can be more gray is if it is a non-for profit..which they are not.

      Again, I am GOP all the way but by working for a global company that I am in.. this is suicide. Chick-fil-A is in big trouble. Whatever growth they were having....they just lost it.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. memphispiano

    Supporting traditional marriage is NOT bigoted (even if some who do are). Every human being has a code of morality that puts some people on the outside of that code. If you think polygamy is wrong, are you bigoted against those people? If you think stealing is wrong, are you bigoted against those who do? The LGBT activists along with their friends at CNN (just look at the fact that CNN has a "gay" headline on this website EVERY SINGLE day) are silencing any freedom of views by labeling everyone else bigoted or hateful. Well, my hats off to anyone (whether I agree or disagree with them) who will express their views (like Chick-Fil-A) without being hateful. Sometimes the real haters are the ones labeling everyone else as haters.

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

      You're right. The nerve of CNN to post this article that takes ABSOLUTELY NO POSITION ON THE ISSUE. It just tells how people on both sides have reacted. Maybe you should try reading buddy.

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

      To be bigoted is to be highly opinionated. Chik-fil-a is pretty bigoted when making a stance on gay marriage.

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

      I agree with you whole heartily. It's almost like they don't understand the meaning of the word bigotry. They plug in that word out of ignorance. In their minds they think people who stand for godly beliefs and principles are so much against others that are deem "evil". They simply do not understand terminology and need a good dictionary find out what they are really saying. It's a bit comically really to see how they react out of sheer fear. Not know which way to turn. They need to slow down and think. Cathy is just standing the facts and his stance. A good stance I think.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bar Marc

    How can people say this man is hate filled. All he did was state his opinion and beliefs. I saw nothing in his statement that was hateful.

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

      @Bar Marc In this article. He's also donated to groups working to ensure gay-marriage is banned. That's more than a belief. That's political activism.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • voice of reason

      @ Scott B
      That's still not hate. It's democracy.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • cronewinter

      You didn't see it as hateful because you share the opinion maybe? People who believe strongly never see themselves as anything but right..no matter what side of the fence they are on.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    I've never been to one of their restaurants but regardless of the stated belief I would now go to one simply because of their stance in holding true to what they believe to be true. Far too many people/businesses cave in to social pressure and do not take a stand. It is the strong who stand, not the weak who caves in. If a person disagrees with their stance then simply don't shop there – exercise your ability to choose just as they have. They choose to take a stand and say 'X', the consumer can choose to agree or disagree but make a choice and be strong enought to stand by your choice. Thank you to Chick-Fil-A for being strong enough to stand by your choices no matter what they are. If more people in this country stopped caving in then maybe we (the country) could stand tall again.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. C'mon get with it!

    Bigotry and hate are not part of Christ's teachings. I find it apalling that "Christians" who on one hand tell us that God is the only one who can judge (it's in the bible dozens of times) on the other hand are judgmental and hateful. This chicken company is just using this as a ploy. Their food REALLY sucks. I'm sure they'll blame it on "all those evil gays" when their sales drop off. What a bunch of fools.

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

      You just said it in your response. It is only God who judges. So, what does God think about Gay marriage. It's very clear and evident in his Word. Look it up. Is he oppose to it or support it. Hum? In my studies, I find he opposes it. Simple fact, you want to stand behind the Creator, or be against him now and in the end of your life. You choose. I chose His side all the way. Be wise and do the same. He ain't just a good God, he's also a Great Judge too. Right and wrong. Choices really.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Margaret

    I wondered what was going on last night, the drive through lane at the local Chic fil a was out to the highway, you couldnt even get in the parking lot.........

    July 19, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    Well I guess I'll stop eating at Chik-fil-a then.

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

      Really? Wow. What a shame. You going to miss out on great food and great prices. Maybe some day you will come back. Maybe tomorrow. I think so. Yeah, I think so.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. ASmith

    This place just hurt themselves very much. They are a service to the public. Taking a stance on politics is very bad mojo. I can see many of their restaurants being closed do to lose of business. if the founders don't like gay marriage..thats fine. Keep it out of the business since it sells to everyone. What are they going to do now, refuse to service gay couples?? I see a lot of lawsuits coming their way. They should of just kept their mouth shut. I can see their new motto "Chick-fil-a" maker of Gay Basher Nuggets. LOL.

    eitherway.. upper management just made a VERY bad choice.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • voice of reason

      And do you feel the same about all of the companies jumping on the (more profitable) gay activism bandwagon?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    I just love how people who choose to live a gay lifestyle are all about DEMANDING respect and equality regarding their chosen lifestyle, not to mention how they are so very much in-your-face to ensure everyone recognizes their lifestyle, acknowledges it as the norm. Yet the second any group in society speaks out as not supportive of a chosen gay lifestyle, suddenly they are condemned as hate mongers. Who is the hate monger here? The gay community needs to practice what they preach. I don't have an issue with some's lifestyle choice, but it is your own choosing. You can't, in good conscience, berate someone for not choosing to agree with your own choice, calling them "intolerant", when you yourself are intolerant of their views...hypocracy.

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

      @Jim- You are such a hypocrite! The comment you just made describes exactly what Christians do. They continually are in your face with their beliefs trying to force them upon you. Anytime a negative comment is made about Christians, they pounce full force. And just to make things clear. Gays are still fighting for equal rights. It's not like we have all the same rights as you do and make such an uproar for the fun of it. We are fighting for equal rights which we deserve. Comments such as Cathy's sets our fight back so we will battle back. If you even had a clue what challenges gays face, you would understand that they aren't just comments. They are an attack.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
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