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. conrad matt

    If you don't like Gay Marriage, don't have one. I liked their peach shakes, but the side of hate I can do without.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jtweedd

    This is the same rhetoric that businesses used in order to refuse service to African Americans during Jim Crow.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • voice of reason

      If I were African American I would find this comment extremely offensive.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    I am vegetarian but after readying Chick-fal-A's stance, I would consider giving up my life style choice to support them by eating at their establishment.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. tony

    Supporting traditional marriage isn't a problem. It's withholding it from some that matters.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    Believing in what the bible teaches is a clear demonstration of narrow-mindedness. What Jesus taught and what the publishers of the bible wanted you to believe are two very different things. Let those that fight for their indoctrinated beliefs cast the first stone and all will know where ignorance makes its home.

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

      Wow. What Jesus taught and what the publishers printed in the Bible are two different things according to you. Wow. What insight you have. It's almost a comment as thought you might have been there along aside with Jesus. Hum? Were you there? Two different things. Interesting. That means Jesus real words got lost somewhere and never were recorded. And the publishers made up stuff to please people today. Wow. What faith you have. I wish we had some kind of recording of what Jesus said about all this kind of lifestyle and support of non-tradition marriage. Hum...Well, we do. It's all there recorded for you and me. And guess what? It's only revealed by him to those who really what to know him. Go figure...Isn't that a trip!? Start your search today.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. dutspup

    I'm sick of eating their fried garbage anyway

    July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Non-Christian

    thanks for letting me know you are a Christian organization... I won't be eating there again EVER. Thanks gays I would have never guess until their hate made them announce themselves.

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

      Considering how hypocritical and "intolerant" that shouws you up to be, I'm surprized you were so foolish to say so in public but then hate has a way of carrying your mouth where it shouldn't go.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Standing up for moral behaviour is not "hate". While your condeming someone for doing so is hate.

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

      So you find out they are Chrisitan and will never eat there again? Good thing you don't agree with bigots.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • darkness

      Really? I saw no hate in what they said - "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,"

      Where is the hate? All I see is a business stating their beliefs, as well as saying that while they do not support it, they will not discriminate against it... So why don't you find something a bit less trendy to hate on other than Christians.

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

      Really? You just found out that they were Christian?? The whole closed on Sundays and contemporary Christian music played over the PA wasn't a clue? You are not eating there because of the beliefs of the president? Sounds like you've never been to one, I doubt they will miss you.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. James

    I really dont care what the place I'm buying food at believes in or supports. I like their Chicken Sandwich that's all I care about. Everyone arguing about this needs to find something better to do with their time.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. What Is Not Natural

    I'll tell you what's not natural, Bill. Straight married people divorcing one another like there's no tomorrow; getting Herpes by straight se-x-ual contact; Wife and children being beaten by their husband and Dads and even worse; Spouses sleeping around as if it amounted to nothing: Women having great fun and then committing Abortions just to kill their unborn kids without any remorse. THAT is what is unnatural Bill, and God is certainly not amused, FYI! Wake up and smell the coffee already!!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. SoFunny

    This what America is all about, even if you cannot spell correctly, you have the opportunity to buy or not to buy thier food. Be thankful that you have this opportunity. God Bless America

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

    If you don't like it, then don't eat there. Why is this article in the news?

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

      @coloradom It's a statement in favor of a controversial belief. It's articles like this that give people the information they need to vote with their wallet.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. What did you say

    I bet male leaders from Chic-fil-A have secret meetings with Michelle Bachmans husband, and they take turns getting on their knees "praying their gayness away."

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Beth

    Great! I'll take my kids here instead of our bi-monthly trip to McD's.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    Expressing a belief is different from hate and discrimination. Isn't true freedom about each individual being able to choose what they believe in? Regardless of their personal choice, each person should be treated with love and respect (I suspect Chick-Fil-A agrees). LGBT folks need to stop trying to pick fights and use blackmail / scare tactics to change what people believe (focusing on ensuring actions and how people are treated).

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

    This is America, you should be able to stand by your beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:07 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