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. Jim8

    I have always known that place as the always closed store because Sunday was the only day of the week I could get to the mall. One day I found it open and had a sandwich. It was pretty good.

    I now do not eat any fast food, nor prepared food. It is actually easier to microwave a potato and throw on some cheese and whatever, than it is to buy a potato in a box that has to be refrigerated. Fast food and prepared food has too much salt. A side benefit is that making it is far cheaper.

    I do not believe it is a good thing for any business to display their agenda. Things are changing, and you can count on religions, Christianity in particular, to be on the wrong side, from Galileo to the inquisition to the ongoing gay priest molesting children issue.

    No business is wise to drive away a sizable part of their cliental just so that they can remain in the past.

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

      So you feel a person should alter or ignore his beliefs for the dollar? How's that hope and change working out for you?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Charles Peirce

    I guess now socially-responsible consuming is a pragmatic part of American capitalism.

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

    "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.---------Not surprised that liberals think this comment is driven by hate. There was not a hint of hate for gays in her comments or Chik-fil-a's actions. Funny but these are the same people who think that someone who does not agree with Obama's policies are racists.

    Someone who adheres to his beliefs and in no way harms others is to be admired.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Trooper

    Think I'll be eating at Chick-fil-a today. Boycotts work both ways. JC Penney is taking a beating for using Ellen as a spokesperson. Funny how people are intolerant if they disagree with the gay agenda, but tolerant if they agree with it.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Arch

    they've lost my business.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. rousing

    Saw no hate comig from Dan Cathy
    only hate I'm seeing is coming from the gay supporters
    They are far more bigoted than any christian.

    YEAH Chic-Fil-A

    July 19, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Shneeky

      YEAH, you know how "the gays" are – always hating the HATE. Shame on them!!! Isn't hating HATE just because it's HATE being bigoted!?! SHAME on them – Less HATE, More love!! Stop hating HATE!!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • MagicPanties

      That's like saying a polite member of the KKK doesn't hate.
      Bigotry is hate. Period.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • worktolive

      For some odd reason anyone that stands up for Christian values is a bigot and a racist according to gay advocates. Yeah and Praise to God-Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me so I can take a little heat from society for him.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      I'm a gay man and have experienced bigotry and a lot of bullying. The restaurant's statement really isn't bullying or filled with hate. The owner is just stating his interpretation of his religious beliefs. My religious beliefs and interpretation are obviously different as every other reader of this article. While their statement is discriminatory towards the GLBT community, I find the real issue is that people are using religion to promote discrimination. What the restaurant is demonstrating to children and really everyone is that gay is bad and it is acceptable to judge and discriminate. Gay is not bad, it's a fact of life and winds its way through every community in the world. I will not support any business that doesn't support my community...and that's why America is awesome. You can use your wallet to promote or close a business. Use your wallet.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nick

    Dear Chick-fil-A,

    Thanks for hating gay people and thanks for helping fatten up America. You do this country a double disservice.

    Dear America,

    Thanks for jumping on the Christian bandwagon, getting fat and dying early.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Zoomy

      That was FUNNY. Best post yet

      July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. VstarGuy

    The Chick-fil-A company is pretty slick in their business moves. The majority of people are not gay, gays make up a very small segment in general! So this company chooses to
    alienate the gay community from it's list of patrons! Genius! Immoral? Absolutely!
    Caters to the ignorant? You bet! Will it work? I think so. So all of those who believe
    Chick-fil-A is making a mistake? NOT! Still it puzzles me. If Chick-fil-A just kept their beliefs to themselves they would have gotten business from all walks of life, the gay and straight! Therefore I can only conclude that they did this for publicity, and it worked!

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

      I don't think that bigots will consume more of Chick-fil-A's product to support their stance but people like me who used to have lunch there once a week certainly will consume less as a result of these developments. $7 per week x 40 or so weeks = $280 per year in lost revenue. Start multiplying that by thousands or tens of thousands and that adds up. Lost margins of even single digit percentages is the difference between break even and profit.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Not A Christian

    Christians better start supporting these shops because they will see the folly of their boasts soon enough. next quarter will do the trick.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. RPinTN

    The company will be fine even if all the people that say they will never go back do what they say. For those of us that will continue to go, it just will not be as crowded. That is fine by me, sometimes I do not stop because of the crowds!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Not A Christian

      you should have plenty of space, you might want to buy some stock while your at it.

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

    Here come the hateful Christians spewing venom.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • ASupporter

      Said the hateful gay supporter spewing venom.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Stevsky

    I am neither a religious, gay nor any other affiliated type of person. I am a human, endowed by (A, The, It, none?) Creator (whomsoever you believe or choice not to believe that is) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Most of us could care less about either the opinion of the CEO of Chick-Fil-A or of the LGBT groups. Just as they well should care less about ours. Opinions are not statements of fact, but expressions of thought. Think whatever you like, but do not attempt through any means to interject your thoughts and beliefs into my life.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    Where in the hell do you people get HATE from? Just because they don;t agree with your gay ways?? Who said that is hate. We simply don't agree with your choices and promote those ideals through our daily lives. If you want to be gay, then be gay, but WE do not have to accept you into our daily lives and can publicly express our disdain for you just like you do us.... Some people on here are on drugs, I think. Really, religion has little to do with it. And talk about hate? Have you read these comments? The HATE is coming from those who proclaim WE hate them!!!! Quite the contrary, and very ironic, AND makes you who support gay rights look, like MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Scott B

    @LeePilgrim I honestly don't care about understanding your beliefs. I will fight your efforts to impose your beliefs on those that don't share them though.

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

    @Scott B Can you site these donations?

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

      @Ken Not on this site. URLs are not allowed. Google "chick fil a donations to anti-gay organizations" and you'll see many, many links discussing these donations.

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