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. Shannon C

    It is their right to have their opinions. Just because they stand behind what they believe in does not make them Haters. I am growing so tired that just because someone stands strong in what they believe in, some people try to force their beliefs on them. Stand Strong.. just like your opposition!

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

      I completely agree, we have a right to voice our opinions even if others disagree. Why cannot Christians stand firm in their beliefs just because others disagree or may be offended. Keep doing what you are doing I love Chic Fil A!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Norman

    So now if you even disagree with gay marriage, you are branded a hate-monger?? Looks like business as usual in politically correct America...

    July 19, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    I agree with "Wunderland"'s comments. Exactly HOW is it hatred to support the traditional definition of marriage? Seems to me, the hate and intolerance is from the other side, that says if you disagree with their agenda, shame on you, hope your business goes under and all those people lose their jobs.

    Bravo for standing up to the Thought Nazis!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Akriley

    Let's ask the chickens how they feel!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. DUH !! Gimme the ball coach !

    Well, I do admire him for what he said. It is his business. People can believe what they want, and should without retribution from other people. I don't really care, I like Chick-Fila , and even though I don't agree with him, I will continue to buy chicken from the stores.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Agape

    GOD Bless Chick-fil-A!! Stand your ground!!! GOD Bless America!!

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

      Agreed!! i will make the effort to make sure to eat there more and cross off other chains.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    I do not see ANY hate coming from ANYONE except the GAY people who support GAY rights... You people look like idiots. Religion has little to do with it. To you who support gay rights: I don't... I see it as immoral. Just like you see us as (laughing out loud here) HATERS! This man owns the company and he has every right to express his beliefs. If you don't like it, then don't eat there. I am pretty sure he could care less and if ALL of you don't purchase his food, it won't impact his bottom line at all.... So to ALL of YOU gay supporting HATERS, get a life!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Too all the people saying "It's immoral" and blah blah blah blah... Please Google the phrase 'Reaction Formation'

      July 19, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave E.

      I see it, too. The haters come out if you don't agree with their lifestyle. The Boy Scouts are a Christian and private group but they are crying and seething with anger over them, too.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Just like chik-fil-a has the "right" to express their beliefs, everyone who doesn't agree with them has the "right" to boycott their deep fried garbage. Considering at least 50+ percent of this country isn't made up of bigots and religious zealots, I think they made a huge mistake openly alienating an entire group of possible customers. Dumb and arrogant if you ask me. But I guess thats how most conservatives are these days. Sadly for them, they have yet to notice it isn't working in their favor.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rich in NJ

    What he stated was support for traditional families. To me that's okay, even though I support legalizing gay marriage. And one of the ways they support ALL families is by closing on Sundays. It gives their employees a day off, and encourages the rest of us to think about staying home and having a family meal.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Slicc

      Yeah I don't see any hate from his comments either. All he said was his beliefs are of a traditional family. Why is that a hate filled comment? Sounds to me like the other side is bringing the hate. What they should do is simply say I won't eat there any more. Or nothing at all. Take the high road on your stance. Belittling people only brings your stance down. The comments from the owner didn't belittle anyone. It was a simple statement that has been blown out of proportion.

      I personally could care less about either sides beliefs, but I also don't see why this is being blasted the way it is. If you want to blast and hate a religious group go after those West Borrow people. They are the ones filled with nothing but hate.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    I've read many comments by posters calling those angry at Chick Fil A "haters". I'm more than a bit confused by their logic. Would they also call those denouncing the Nazi's "haters"? Would they call civil rights leaders "haters"?
    All you selfrighteous christians out there using your faith to support bigotry, mark my words, you'll soon find that you were on the wrong side of history. Then you'll be lying to your grandkids about how you were a supporter of equal rights all along.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • KH6643

      You are so delusional, whats sad is that you actually believe it.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • tray

      nice try Robert, but you have it backwards. And how dare you compare the Christian stance on mariage to a nazi massacre, its a stupid thing to say on your part. By the way, what do you think Islam says about gays, yet not one "liberal" here is brave enough to mention that. Just pick on the Christians because we turn the other cheek, rather than blow up busses full of kids – SEE THATS HATE, so maybe devote your time to attacking that, instead of NOBLY and BRAVELY attacking, ....a fried chicken shop.....what a man, you should get a nobel prize

      July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave E.

      Well, Robert, I would call those that oppose something "haters". That is what they are doing. If you opposed Nazi Germany, as you say, then you were a hater. Just depends on what side of the fence you call it from. Equal rights are given to all. Judgement will come. The wrong side is obvious.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Franklin

    Bigots seldom see or admit their own bigotry. To them it's just business as usual.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • PevanB

      Sorry there Mr Thinker – disagreeing with someone or a belief does not make you a bigot. You disagree with them- are you a bigot? by your standard you are. Think before you type

      July 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. r. beach

    Thank you Chick Fil A for sticking by your values. Remember, this is a private business. They can do what they want. If the Gays are mad and don't want to buy their products, good riddance.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ron in California

    "Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown.
    So Blake what kind of nuggets will you eat?.

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

      So Ronney, filled with hate huh? You are a bigot and are intolerant of these people. Practice what you preach there sonny

      July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Widobberman

    Indicating strong support for the traditional family is now a statement of hate? I don't like the values of strip clubs so I don't go there. If you don't like Chick-fil-A owner's values, don't go there. Although, I'm guessing it is possible to diferentiate between the ideals of the owner, and the food product being served. Just because the owner has a particular value does not make him evil, bigoted or all the rest. Just as the strip club's proclamation that it is just entertainment does not mean he hates and attempts to destroy all people who feel otherwise. The gay folks need to take the chip off their shoulder.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. YouGuysCrackMeUP

    I don't care if the people that own the giant fast food chain condone men having anal intercourse with each other (usually with the aid of some sort of synthetic lubricant) or not. I mean, it's a chicken sandwich i guess I dont see the connection

    July 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • StoneYouWives Don't Eat Shellfish Either

      You can use spit also, but I'm sure you already know that though. I can help you come out of the closet when you're ready. You clearly have too many wet dreams about your buddies.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • StoneYouWives Don't Eat Shellfish Either

      It's about marriage..you know a relationship?. So women don't need lube when they do anal? Hmmm

      July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tray

    spewing hate? since when is having an opinion "spewing hate"? The only people i see spewing hate here are on the "left"side of this debate. Geez all she did was state an opinion – you guys can get all the hate you want by looking in the mirror. This "hate" word has been so overused, just to attack anyone who disagrees, its sick. whats the matter with you people??

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