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. jim tom

    I support a traditional definition of marriage. A man owns his wife.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. iEatChickFilA

    Um, I'm confused. They're hateful people because they DO NOT support gay marriage, and you will no longer provide them with your business ?! This has to be a joke! I'm sure their other business owners who don't support gay marriage but as long as they keep their mouths closed it's okay? Hmmmm... sounds a little hypocritical seeing as how the LGBT community are on a move to stand up and by what they feel is right... How can you punish Chick Fil A because the President of the business chooses to not support something... Just doesnt seem fair. Live and let LIVE!

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

      You are just another hypocrite christian! If Chick-Fil-A came out and stated they support the Satanic Church, Chrisitans would be out in full force protesting and boycotting them. You are only taking the stance you are while it suits your argument but like most christians, the same rules don't apply when situations are reversed.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmysi

      It's not just the President of the business's 'opinion'...he's taking money from the business, via their foundation, to support anti marriage equality organizations. So it's not his personal funds, it's the company's funds...and that comes from their revenues...so that's where the ire towards the business comes in. What if this were a 'Christian' business that made donations to the PLO? Would you fault Jews for being upset? What if this were an organization that made donations to David Duke or the KKK? Would you fault blacks for being upset?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. LiberalCritical

    Picture the scene:
    Sunday morning communion:
    Pastor: "Take and eat for this is the body of Christ"
    Person in the pew: "What does it taste like?"
    Other person in pew: "Tastes like chicken."

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

    Of course it disappoints me and saddens me that there are companies donating money to slow the growth of LGBT rights and standing in the way of equality (which doesn't seem very Christian), but we all have to remember that it's Chick-fil-A's right as a business to use their profits as they please. I no longer support Chick fil A, and I don't want to force that on anyone else, but it's good for others to be aware so they can make a well-informed choice.

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

      @Anna No one here is suggesting that we have the government stop people and companies from donating to who they want. People should be free to use their dollars in response to it though.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. rousing

    Why are all of the gay supporters so full of hate?????
    They spew hate at every chance they get.
    Maybe they need to review their relationship with their maker
    Gay supporters seem to believe that only their free speech should be protected.
    What about Cathy's free speech???????????????

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

    Companies should not be mixing social or political issues when they are playing with other people's money.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • inspectormac

      How exactly can you claim that they're paying with other people's money? Just from you saying that, I know you're a Democrat, because anyone who understood business wouldn't have said that. Chick-fil-A provides a service. They buy, stock, and cook chicken and other thiings for their customers to eat and enjoy. Any money that they have as a result of that business relationship is theirs. That's like saying that you can't support LGBT causes, because you're doing it with your employer's money. That sounds just as ridiculous as your statement that they're doing something with other people's money.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Emilio

    The gay community should be so much more tolerant of people who have different believes from them, it should stop using its ever increasing power to label and punish anyone who thinks different from them. It sad that a movement that started celebrating diversity and fighting for human rights has become so intolerant and hateful towards people who are different from them, and the way they think.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. VILTOR

    What does his opinion of marriage have to do with gays. If he is saying he discriminates against gays in the workplace, that's a different story. Why should people get worked up over him expressing his opinion. You don't have to be against gay marriage to support his rights to express himself as long as he does not work to deprive others of their rights.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • counselor39@hotmail.com

      And THERE is the rub, isnt it ?
      The restaurant did not say that they would refuse to serve gays; they did not say that gays should burn in hell. They just expressed an opinion.
      An opinion that differs from the GLT community is called "hate". The reasons are simple – if you label someone a hater, you get ppl to refuse to listen to them.
      Yes, the gay community (and most libs in general) – the BASTION of tolerance (unless you dont agree with them).

      July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Veritaie

    The only real hate by definition;

    Are those who are bashing these brave people who have a First Amendment right to believe what they wish. Traditional values bashing seems to represent the truest form of intolerance couched in the social artifice of hypocrisy. The moment you point and scream intolerance, you become guilty of the same and are too critically illiterate to even realize the fallacy. These values bashers are the same people who believe morality is relative – and then kick and scream the moment anyone disagrees with them while pulling out their "hate" card. It's getting old...

    Good day.

    Good day.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Vic

    Thats cool if people dont want to go to Chik-fil-a because their views on gay marriage. But for those who base their decision on that fact alone, then be consistent in not buying, supporting, attending, rooting, admiring any company or individual who do no espouse those points of views that are important to you.

    If you are conservative from MA – dont root for the Patriots (owner donates more to Dems)
    If you are liberal, dont go see movies by 20 Century Fox nor buy or watch The Simpsons or Family Guy
    If you are pro-Made in America – well you are out of luck, you will probably have to live in a cave and walk around in leaves covering your private parts because almost all electronics are made or have parts made in China; clothing is mostly manufactures abroad; car parts are made al over the world including China.

    BE CONSISTENT.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. GOP hate America

    stupid christians

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Barneyjake

    I KNOW! Us queens are so UPPITY! Where do we get off?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. JR

    I wonder how the company feels about the way the chickens they serve are tortured and killed so a tiny piece of salt, fat laden, fried dry patty on fatty bread can be served to all of the children of families? Side of fries and a sugary drink to go with that order Ms. Smith for your family? Would you like to super-size? See you Sunday if your not in the hospital with artery blockage! God Bless.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Franklin

    I will no longer support this company. I was already uncomfortable buying from them but this ends it. Done. Bigotry is a Biblical directive and I don't have to support it. Eat more beef.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gina

    Not that I liked Chick-fil-A in the first place .. but I will never go here again. I do not understand how people say "support your opinion – nothing wrong with it" ..... RIDICULOUS

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