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. timothyclee

    Oh I understand, the "Biblical Family Unit" – isn't that one man, 3 wives and numerous slaves?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. L1012

    Apparently we need to find something else to complain about....but if they came out and said "We are in full support of Racial Segregation, we believe the bible said we should use Black people as slaves.", there would be no shortage of complaints. How is this any different? Hating on people for who they are, not who they choose to be, is hate any way you look at it.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. ART

    Never ate there ,never will

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

      Well, I guess religious fanatic Mr. Cathy thinks you'll be going to Hell for that!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • agnes

      Can we really talk about traditional marriages without discussing traditionally high divorce rates?

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

    So if I say I support Traditional marriage I am full of hate? WOW

    So its Support LBGT or else, if you don't support us 100% on all of our issues then you are a bigot

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

      @rk No. If you donate money to be used to ban gay marriage or vote for a politician because he will work to pass laws to ban gay marriage or not allow it's legalization, then you are hateful.

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

      Support 'traditional' marriage all you want, just don't deny others the same civil rights.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      So true!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      No, it's fine to say "We support Christian values, family values, etc." But Cathy has contributed 3 million over the past 8 years to "anti-LGBT groups." This is discrimination, period.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • darkness

      @ Scott

      I am afraid I must disagree, many of those people are standing by their beliefs just as you are. What it boils down to is who has the most supporters as to whether it is legalized. I do not believe that not supporting something means that you are filled with hate.

      Personally, while I disagree with gay marriage due to my beliefs, I do not believe that the government should be stepping in to say if it's right or wrong... So if two guys can find some one to marry them than so be it... Who am I to tell them how to live?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      Hasn't that always been the churches stand? My way or the highway?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Don't pick and choose what you want...

      It's not about supporting....it's about fairness. If you and your bf/gf who just met decided to go to Vegas and get married on a drunken night, you could. And if you crashed your car and your now wife/husband of less than 24 hours could come see you in the hospital.. But,...

      If my partner of 15 years and I got into an acident, and I wanted to see him in the hospital,...I couldn't. I would have to go through legal fights to do so. I could care less about the term 'marriage' but married people and gay people should have the same basic rights. Period.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • darkness

      @Don't pick and choose-

      See there is a piece of the puzzle I have been missing (considering I have yet to really look into this whole issue), I can completely understand wanting the legal rights that a married couple have. The next step would be finding a way to go about it that is a bit less controversial, though I personally can not think of a decent way that gives both sides everything that they want...

      The only thing I can think of is just find a neutral third party to sit down and hash out an agreement that works for both sides.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Craig

    I never liked Chik-fil-a's food. Their sandwiches are bland and very greasy. Wendy's has much better chicken sandwiches and nuggets at comparable prices – and they don't contribute money to anti-gay hate groups like Cick-fil-a does. I didn't eat there, so they won't be missing any business from me, but I hope others who do eat there will think twice about a company that actively discriminates against an entire group of people for no reason other than religious bigotry.

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

      Please clarify as to how they are bigots, I am baffled by how you get this out of their statements, they have their beliefs and you clearly have your own. I saw nothing in the story about them refusing service to or to the LBGT community... Is it so hard to just agree to disagree rather than call every one that disagrees a hate monger, or bigot??

      July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jule

    Why are all these Christian woman making comments? If they are really Christians, they should be at home cooking and cleaning and having babies. Not going out to Chik-Fil-A. If you don't believe me, well then you really haven't read the bible.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    I am very confused. This article was filed under "Gay and Lesbian Religion". Why? No where in the article does it state that the company hates gays or targets them in any way. The ONLY thing he states is that he supports the traditional version of marriage. That would be like saying I support Israel and being told that I spew hatred against Muslims.
    Why do people try so hard to be discriminated against?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. darkness

    Unfortunately we live in a world today where others wish to force their beliefs on others or degrade others for their beliefs. It appears as if they were called out on this and forced to answer the question. It is much like the "gay bible" it perplexes me, why does a group of people re-write a holy book for their own gain and claim the Christians are the bigots as they bash them for standing by their beliefs... Why not just accept the fact that neither groups ideas/beliefs are going to change and move on, let every one practice the religion they choose with out being called bigots...

    While I do not agree with gay marriage, I do not see that as a reason to treat the LBGT community any different from any one else since they are still people. Yet just because some one disagrees with them, they are a bigot, or a hate monger. Unfortunately I hear this a lot, because no one can ever just agree to disagree... (I will clearify, one side is not more right than the other in terms of how they behave.... as far as what they believe that is a personal matter & up to the individuals.)

    July 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brahm

    I always found the term 'Christian Business' a paradox. Regardless, they can run it any way they like. There have been many Sundays when I've craved Chick-fil-A and couldn't get some, so I eat elsewhere. Just like this example, they can chose how their beliefs affect their bottom line as a business. If they want to alienate potential customers with their intolerance, feel free to express your disapproval with your wallet.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. khamsomphoui

    Funny how many of these comments are stating that they will never eat at Chick-fil-a just becasue they stand for family values. Hollywoods agenda has always been to support LGBT. The question is, if they have so many companies supportng them, why does it bother them that one single chain of restaurants "doesn't" support them. Chick-fil-a, you have my respect.

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

      @khamsomphoui Because they support marital discrimination. You are free to boycott Hollywood if you would like.

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

    Why is it in this country now nobody is allowed to have an opinion unless is goes along with everybody else? We'll never know who is right or wrong till after we are all have died. This country found on freedom of religion not freedom from religion. And the government have become more useless than ever.

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

      @MAK Did he get arrested or something? Last I checked, he was free to say what he wants. People are also free to disagree.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • MM

      This country was based on the belief in freedom from religious persecution. Which is exactly what these "Christians" are doing, using their religion to persecute.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. MJP

    Why don't we just replace traditional marriage for gay marriage and then we all parish! Do you see how absurd gay marriage sounds?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • L1012

      Do you see how absurd you sound? Who ever said to abolish traditional marriage? Why can't we all co-exist with the same rights?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • WisdomVS

      Okay, put the shoe on the other foot... Perhaps we should replace gay marriage with your traditional marriage and then gay men can have miraculous conceptions and give birth to the next messiah! ...geez, get real.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Don't pick and choose what you want...

      The saying that I heard was this "If you are so opposed to GAY issues, then tell straight people to stop having gay kids."

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sailor101

    Why is it that if a person is in favor of Traditional Marriage that they are automatically "Haters" and "Bigots"? Every person has the RIGHT to not be in favor of the GLBT agenda, why do those in favor of the GLBT agenda have to resort to name calling just because someone does not support their cause?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Don't pick and choose what you want...

    I go to church, always have and believe and have read the Bible. I do know that the Bible has something called 'The Ten Commandments" and NOWHERE does it say 'Thou Shalt not be gay.' but it does say many things that straight and gay people shouldn't do. For those who stand up to marriage,...it's fine. But, when you can get married in Vegas in less that a minute through a drive through establishment, that's what you are standing up for. When I see men beat their wives in bo-dunk hillbilly towns and innter cities,...that's what is being considered sacred. Pick a different fight folks. Ps- I married my partner in Mass. He manages as Chick-Fil-A to prove a point and there is not a thing that they can do about it.

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

    Someone should tell Chick-Fil-A that Sunday has absolutely nothing to do with the Sabbath and by being open Friday evening and Saturday til sunset Chick-Fil-A is NOT observing the Sabbath – and someone should spread that word to all churches in this country. One of the commandments is to keep the Sabbath holy and (other than the 7th day Adventists and some Methodists) Christians are NOT following the commandment.

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