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. PevanB

    That a boy Chick fil a we will support your correct belief everyday even on Sunday when you are closed. Thank you for not bowing to the foolishness of this age.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. ab

    Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, so why do so many Christians shop on Sundays Just wondering. But anyway, if Chick-fil-A wants to take this stance, then I just won't eat there.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. mabear87

    No Christians there and they will all go to Hell. Jesus did not judge anyone, but accepted everyone. These people are bigots that are worse, if possible, than the KKK because they are rebuking Christianity. I won't eat there and I suspect if they have this stance on gay people, then they probably doin't obey food laws: maybe their chicken is tofu.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. YouGuysCrackMeUP

    Im gonna start eating at Chic Fil A every day now. Not because I support their position, but because I support their right to have a position. I hate their food tho.. this is gonna be rough.

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

      Praise the Lord for people like Mr. Cathy and businesses like Chic-Fil-A.....AMEN!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • joels2000

      that doesn't make sense, for you to eat there when you don't like the food. not to be mean but your ironic to praise a company for being honest but then eat the food when you don't like it....

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill from North Carolina

    YES! I fully support you. In fact this email is being prepared as I enjoy my Grilled Chicken sandwich and fries! I used To eat at various places around town. Not any more! I will eat and support Chick as many times a week as I can. We need more people and business to stand up for what is morally correct and stay united against deviant and immoral behavior. Hooray for you!

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

      Ahhh . . . another bigot. It must be nice to live in your ivory tower. I'm a gay Christian and I find nothing deviant or immoral about myself. People like you, however, have lots of morality problems with your hate speech.

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

      Taking the kids there tomorrow for lunch and will continue to patronize their business. I don't recall Mr. Cathy saying that he hates gays. He is opposed to gay marriage which is a totally different statement.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chicken Lips

    LMAO at these wacko Xtians who now are going to eat at Chick-Fil-A every day so they can savor the "family values"–wonder how long it will take until you need bypass surgery?

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

      lol – exactly!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bubba999

    Strange how Chick-fil-A is condemned for stating their 'values'. They've in NO way condemned, refused service, or tried to bash the 'gay' (if they're so 'gay', why are they always whining?). It's ok for the gays to condemn and trash, but don't you dare state your values or you're open game for the liberal / gay communities. I've never ate that much at Chick-fil-A, but I can see right now I need to start in order to show my support !!!!!!

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

      It's ironic, isn't it?

      They can't stand the "intolerance" and "hate" of others, so they turn around and demand that people stop frequenting others' businesses and then slander those businesses continuously.

      But that's justified intolerant hatred, right?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      rw: "Stop being a bigot and you won't be condemned."

      And the irony keeps rolling in.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      you've obviously never "went" to school that often either. Learn speak/type.

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

    What I can't stand is that being against gay marriage has somehow equated to hating gay people!!! Why can't I be for traditional marriage and not hate gay people? I feel that their should be recognition of gay unions but I just don't think that it should be call marriage. But above that.....In this day and time this issue is nothing more than a distraction from the real issues at hand...OUR ECONOMY!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Rafael

      its not a matter of hating on anyone, its a matter of not allowing a particular group of people to enjoy the same rights you have, its about stepping outside of who you are and understanding that there are people who are not like you, who do not feel like you do and do not think like you do. its about allowing those people to be who they are and how they are, the fact that people think its OKAY to speak out against another persons rights to love and marry, is absurd and to me is the most anti-american way of thinking and being..

      July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. ladyjay

    Thank you Chick-fil-a!!! I am so proud of you. To take a stance in this country of "freedom" is a hard thing to do. The gay supporters are trying to force everyone to their point of view. This in for at least a little longer a free country, free to believe and not be persecuted for our beliefs. Be strong there are many of us that believe as you do. Many have said they will no longer support you with their business. You just got my and I am sure many others at 100 percent.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • RW

      Nobody is trying to force anything on you, you bigot. You are, in fact, trying to force your views on gay people. How about you live your life and not worry about what others are doing. Bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Duke

    Well, look on the bright side; If you ever drop your car keys inside a Chick fil-a restaurant now, you wont have to kick them to your car!

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

    I don't understand why people are hating on Chik-fil-A so much. They have awesome food. One person's opinion doesn't change that. I advocate the separation of politics and chicken.

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

      sure lamont, that is true. what else is true is the owner is a bigot and filled withhate. he owns the company and many of us choose to not support that. he did not have to express his feelings in public. i can promise many friends and family find his views hateful and will not support his business. that is our right as americans

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

      @Lamont I agree! They are mutual exclusive.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johnyy Pal

    Who cares what their personal beliefs or values are? Ridiculous.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. joels2000

    I will NOT be eating at Chick-Fil-A

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. tray

    I think Drew Brees is the best QB, but I heard some guy Jimmy disagrees with me. THAT MEANS JIMMY IS FULL OF HATE.? what a bigot, how dare he disagree with, why Jimmy is spewing hate? Lets all boycott Jimmy because he had the nerve to form his own opinion...

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Johnyy Pal

    Oh my gosh, a Christian company. Fire the presses up.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
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