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. thundercrunk

    the nearest chic-fil-a is 10 minute drive away but i will drive there to eat to support this cause. i cant stand these gay people shoving their gay beliefs down our throats and trying to bully companies that do not share the same beliefs. i think gay people are gross and please stay away from our children.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • StoneYouWives Don't Eat Shellfish Either

      So you think that hating gays and cramming your bigotted beliefs down gay peoples throats is not the same thing? They just want EQUAL rights. They don't want special rights. Don't forget your magical sky friend Jesus condoned slaves and killing your Who#$h wife? Have you had any form of education in your life?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. reality33

    I stopped eating from that place years ago when they touted their "we're closed on sundays so we can worship" crap. Eating their fast food isn't healthy for you anyways...now they say this. As if anyone care about their opinions on gay marriage. Living in North Carolina, its not a new thing to see bigotry and non-understanding of people being able to live their lives how they want. I guess if an openly gay person came in for a sandwich, they would tell them to leave. Kind of like the boy scouts and their policy and gays and atheists. Just another group to avoid. So great to see people continuing to live their lives from a book of fiction and an imaginary friend in the sky.

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

    No more Chic for me. Every dollar counts when it comes to hate. Would you eat their food if they hated back people? Maybe than can change thier logo to include KKK in it........

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

      @SUNDAWG ANOTHER intolerant bigoted liberal they are everywhere in the comment section. Because you disagree, you hate and strike with harsh words filled with animosity. my of my what kind of person are you .. not a good one that is for sure.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Katherine

    What is most fascinating here is that it is also criticizing straight people who are not still in their first marriages ....50% plus the gay population = 55-60%. Amazing alienation. This is nothing new for the Baptists unfortunately.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian FIscher

      OMG! He wasn't bashing gays at all. He was asked about his stance on it. If he was asked about his stance on divorce he would have said the same thing. "The bible says......."

      July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • JACO

      We live in sad, strange times, this country was built on freedom of religion and freedom of speech and opinion. just as Jesus predicted in Mark 13:13 "you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." The only people who are hated now days are Christians. People who stand for what has always been high moral values and strong in their personal beliefs, are now cursed and passed off, when they are following what the believe. Just like more sympathy is applied ironically to the islamic people. Guess what, they behead people for being Gay, Christian, or females acting too provocative. but a Christian based organization, receives worse outpour.. Wow!! what a time to be living...*** Thank You ChickFila, for not folding to the modern liberal PC, pressure system***

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • agnes

      Selective thinking always ignores reality.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • WisdomVS

      I know two gay couples that have been together for over 40 years, another four couples that have been together over 15 years, and two couples that have been together over 10 years. I also know two straight couples that ended their marriages within six months and another eight couples that didn't make it five years, at leat four couples that called it quits before they made it to their tenth year. I also attended a church where nearly 70% of the couples were in their second or third marriage. Oh yeah, I'd say gays are far more devoted to their realtionships. Perhaps that is truly what the church is afraid of... gays make their marriages look shallow.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. JW

    Right on Dan Cathy, stand firm for the truth. I support you 100%. Those who disagree with the absolute truth of the Word of God call it hate. But it is not hate. It is simply the truth. You call it hate because it is against what you want to do. You don't have to eat there. It's your choice. But it is also Dan's choice to stand firm for what he believes in. I support you Dan.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • clubschadenfreude

      oh yes, the "word of God" JW. You know that word where it says polygamy is fine? That having concubines is fine? That marriage is something that should only be gotten into if you can't handle really following God/Jesus and not making yourself a eunuch? Yep, and I'm sure you follow God/Jesus' other commandments of killing anyone who doesn't believe in your god, even if its family? That you should give up all you have to get into heaven since wealth isn't worth it? Ah, again a Christians making up his very own god to support his personal hatreds.

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

      I defy you to prove it is "truth". I'm sure you think it's truth, and that's fine as long as you don't infringe on my rights to choose another truth, one that infringes on your rights in no way.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      It's not the word of god either...it's just what's written in the bible

      July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • jakedog

      Read alittle closer JW, stop cherry picking, read and try to understand in context, get a good bible htat hasn't been translated to support your narrow minded idealogy.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ken Kelvin

    I stand with Mr Cathy. He and his company have a right to stand by their Christian Values. Just as gays/lesbians have the right to believe as they do. Just because he does not believe it is right does not mean he is hating gays/lesbians.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • g2-aa3d1145cda478669d467d6a57f7f783

      He can certainly do whatever he likes with his business. But gleefully trying to deny American citizens their civil rights, yeah, that's hateful.

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

      Christianity and support of gay rights and gay civil unions is 100% compatible. The only way you can challenge that assertion is to use the same rationale that says Hurricane Katrina was god's divine punishment. If we are responsible for someone else's sins (by extension, everyone's sins), none of us are going to heaven. Which is why Jesus died for all. Jesus should remove all doubt in the true believer, but the pious still insist on enforcing their morality. Jesus transcends morality. No matter how moral you live, it will never be enough, if not for the grace of Jesus. THAT is what the good news is and you're muddying the waters in the name of hatred.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah Proctor

    I think gay couples should go to Chick-Fil-As around the country, go up to the counter and just start making out. Then order a cup of tap water.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • WisdomVS

      No, that would be the wrong thing to do. That's the sort of action straight people would have.... we're better than that.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    I find it disturbing that the LGBT comments basically are stating that anyone who does not support their lifestyle will be discriminated against and will not get their business. What happened to our freedom and our choice to choose a lifestyle that is supported biblically? God bless Chick-fil-a and all of the taxes they have paid to provide services for the LGBT community. It's never too late to confess our sins to Jesus! Come join us!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      There's a big difference between not supporting something and actively spending money to maintain discrimination against that something.

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

      @Tim No one is stopping you from having your Christian lifestyle. Many Christian are trying to get our government to ensure gays cannot marry though. This company donates some of their profits to groups that fight any attempt to allow gays to marry. It's not discrimination for those that are being harmed by these law or those of us who think these laws are wrong to deny our money from them so it can't be used to support laws we do not support. When gays start trying to pass laws that do not allow you to marry a woman, then you can fairly claim that your freedoms are being limited.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • BostonBruinsGuy

      This company operates in the public realm and its thoughtful commentary on this issue is fair game. You live in the USA, you will always have freedom of speech, religion...

      That is, unless the nations goes down the slippery slope of interjecting specific religious beliefs into the equation. Then we'd end up like the Middle East... and parts of the South!!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      You are not in any position to judge my alleged sins, and I wouldn't join haters like yourself

      July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bleh64

    I bet they don't ask someone whether they are gay or not while they are taking their money for the food they ordered lol.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. BostonBruinsGuy

    Religion is the cause of so much misunderstanding which in turn creates wars, civil strive and inequality. In the past (an today) religions focused on other religions, ethnic groups and individuals to create wars and tensions. The fact that this good Christian company is focused on gays is not surprising.

    Wonder which group will be next??? This question should matter to everyone!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. clubschadenfreude

    it's hysterical to see how Mr. Dan Cathy hasn't a clue on what his bible really says about marriage. Talk about ignorant arrogance about his own religion. As always, Dan makes up what he wants his god to "really" want, and it always mirrors the hatreds and desires of such a pathetic human.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. ron

    Nothing wrong with standing your ground. Good for Cathy.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. hypatia

    Why would I eat rancid chicken from xian bigots?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. John P. McCarthy

    I am on my way to your restaurant for lunch, dinner and will do that now much more than ever before. Love a wholesome establishment and its views - sometimes the truth just hurts - so be hurt while I enjoy my chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Yum Yum

    Sensitive much? It’s alarming how Gays and usually democrats in general uphold the notions of freedom and equality as long as someone agrees with their opinions and beliefs. As for me, I'll eat at Chick-Fil-A everyday that they are open. They have an outstanding product and a solid foundation that few companies today possess.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • timothyclee

      I don't think that disagreeing with someone's opinion is the same thing as being against freedom of speech. Chick-fil-A can say whatever they wish – and we can shout from the mountain top how much we disagree with their bigoted stance.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
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