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. Jay

    This has nothing to do with discrimination against customers or employees! To the company gay people are good enough to hire and take money from for services, but not good enough to allow them the freedom and equality only straight people enjoy.

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

    I worked at Chick-Fil-A in college and one of my coworkers was gay. Never seemed to be a problem to anyone. I'm not going to stop eating a Chick-Fil-A just because the President has his own opinion.

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

    II love how somebody being in favor of the "biblical definition of the family unit" automatically gets equated to "anti-LGBT". When he refuses to hire somebody because they're gay, talk to me then.
    Until that happens, everybody should just remember the core ideals this country was founded on and then read his final statement from the Baptist Press interview: "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

    July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Ken He donates money, made from our purchases, to groups that work to keep gay marriage banned. That goes beyond sharing views to enforcing them on others that may disagree.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • bvilleyellowdog

      Another bigot hiding behind a cross. SHAME>

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

    Nasty food, bigoted ideology.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. SoFunny

    Along with their Christian values, don't vote for Romney, Morman believe that Jesus is NOT THE SON OF GOD. Don't vote at all!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Barb

    Hurray for Chick-fil-A. I only wish you had restaurants in upstate, New York. I would support you 100%.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cathy Dan

    Yet another reason to eat at home/bring lunch to work.

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

    What's funny to me is how hypocritical some are. If Chick-fil-A is "hateful" for saying they believe in traditional marriage, then wouldn't that make you "hateful" for not believing in traditional marriage?

    I'm tired of people apologizing for the right to believe in traditional marriage. It seems they're always being so careful in wording and trying not to hurt anyone's feelings. I don't see the "gay community" doing the same thing. It seems they are the ones always spewing hateful language.

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

      Liberal = Hypocrisy

      They preach tolerance....as long as your views are the same as theirs. If they are not then the liberals certainly don't practice what they preach...they are the very definition of intolerance.

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

      Yea you are so right the Gay and Lesbian community are so hateful in that they want to be treated equally...man nobody in history has ever fought for equality...this would be the first time.

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

      Rod – your logic is off. The fact that I believe that the state should not be able to regulate whether gay people can get married does not mean I am hateful or against straight people getting married. I am straight and married. They are not mutually exclusive which is what hateful people tend to forget. You're letting the hate bust up your logic and its sad.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Tired of all the liberal B.S.
    I have gay relatives, friends, and co-workers i accept them and their beliefs.
    I don't support all the changes that a minority group of people (LGBT) are telling me I have to do to make them feel good.
    I will continue to shop where I please not based on their beliefs but based on idea that i like or need what they are selling.
    Good luck to Chick-fil-A love your chicken sandwich's

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

      @Bill Exactly what changes are they trying to force you to make? It's your side that is trying to ensure their right to marry is banned. Your side are the ones trying to encode Christian beliefs into our laws. Their ability to marry has no impact on you at all.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kate

    Let the die-hard Christians go ahead and flock to Chick-Fil-A and stuff their mouths with the millions of God's innocent creatures who have been slaughtered for the sake of their uncontrollable taste buds.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      Coo-Coo as Coco Puffs!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cheryl

    Love Chick-Fil-A and will not stop going because of their religious beliefs and bravo to them for sticking to it. I thought the Great USA was founded on freedom of religion and for that alone if that is your belief then who am I to judge you!

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

    Good for Chick-Fil-A..

    July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. ronlong

    "Father, forgive them." For not one of this human species haven't a clue to what life is all about. "There is no right. There is no wrong. There is only public opinion".
    What was this post about? Gay people or gay chickens???

    July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bar Marc

    @Scott B, just because he doesn't agree doesn't not make him hateful. Obviously you don't agree so are you a hateful person?

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

      @Bar Marc That's not true. As an example, I don't support people watching Reality TV. It's trashy and has no intellectual value at all. I don't hate on people that watch it. Now, if I were working to get our government to ban people from being able to watch it, that would be hateful. I'm using the government to take away their rights. Same thing here. Mr. Cathy is using his money made from our purchases to try and get the government to not allow gays to marry.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. JackDCD

    Are we done?....Good..can I get a 12 piece nugget, order of fries and a diet coke.

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