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. Mike

    BRAVO!!! Take a stand and stay on track. Guess I'll have to eat there more often!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Eric

    Good for you Cathy, stand for what you believe in, I know you dont mean it to be hateful because as Christians we love everyone the same and in Gods eyes we all are sinners, to all of you who have not sinned cast the first stone john 8:7 If you have lied, cheated, hated etc. then I'm sure if mr.Cathy was asked about these things he would say the same thing. It's just not the hot political topic that gets everyone going. I am all of the above and I know Jesus has taken them for me. God bless you all! 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. doc

    I'm gay. Live in ATL. Eat at Chick Fil A often. Love the black and white cows. Love the food. Respect private business right to state their own beliefs, etc. Now know their stance. Will choose to eat elsewhere. Hope the dedicated gay, lesbian and accepting employees of this business take their expertise elsewhere as well.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mansa

    You now have a dedicated customer....In spite of the fact that you knew quite well that the 'bigot' branders would come a calling, you stood your ground and spoke your mind. That is what it means to be principled...do not back down to these people who are trying to pollute our world.

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

      Um,did you miss the part about divorcees?!
      Glad to know you and your family members are with their first,God-given spouses.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike In.

    Sadly, many who call themselves Christian are Christian in name only. A true Christian is a follower, or apprentice, of Jesus Christ. A follower of Christ absolutely does not hate gays – but in fact loves them, understanding that we are all fallen, broken sinners in need of a Savior. (If you think you aren't a sinner because you behave in ways that appear good and acceptable, then honestly examine your thought life). Behavior is important, but I think Jesus cares more about who we are inside, our heart, than what we do. If our heart is right, the correct behavior will follow. Christianity is not about behavior modification, it's about heart transformation.

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

      How is it that standing by with what you believe in hateful? Don't you think that attacking someone's belief is not hateful?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LOL

    Their sammiches are so tasty!

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

      The guy has a right to his own opinion - I'll alway eat their sandwiches, which have nothing to do with the marriage rights....

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cat

    I wonder at the comment Dan Cathy made about supporting a biblical marriage – there were several types of marriages in the bible. Does he support all of them, including the one-man-several-women type? It's a big book, and it might be worth more of his time and money to have his company support the teachings of Jesus, including to love thy neighbour, instead of picking such a topic on which there is not a lot of background from Christianity's main squeeze.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Carrie Johnson

    I looooved chick-fil-A....I'll always remember what it tasted like, but alas, won't be ever supporting them again.

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

      You will be back in a month

      July 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. GayANDChristian

    Sooo why do people use the "trump card" – deeming something as intolerant?? Here is a little exercise – see if what you are saying would be deemed unacceptable or dare I say INTOLERANT if you were talking about a racial difference, or disability, or some other group of people that aren't involved in the current civil rights battle...if you cannot replace the notion of gayness or the word "gay" (or other forms thereof) with a racially loaded term with out THAT being considered intolerant, you are being intolerant! Unfortunately the "you" in most examples is society at large...Oh and btw it does not matter what your opinion is based on, word of God, word of Romney or whomever else.

    And anti-gay folk still are winning with the word "intolerant" – as it implies that there is something to be tolerated...

    July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      intolerance is found in every argument - EVERYBODY has a right to express their opinion, even the owners of Chik-fil-A - I will always eat their sandwiches, even if I don't agree with their opinion - the food is awesome!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marciabella

    I applaud Chick-Fil-A for having the guts to stand up for what they believe in. It's sad the times we live in; that making a stand, any stand is synonymous with being bigoted, hateful and other things negative. Especially in the christain apologetics world we live in (here in the US more than anywhere else), it is REFRESHING to say the least that a corporation can put its $ where its heart is. BRAVO CHICK-FIL-A! BRAVO!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. LOL

    II got a coupon today for 3 free mini chicken biscuits. Are they any good?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. YouGuysCrackMeUP

    If gay marriage was backed by the majority it would be legal by now. Just sayin... I think cocaine should be legal too.. but it isn't. So all you guys suck,for not making cocaine legal. If we get the blow..gay marriage will be right behind it.

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

    I like fried chicken but I won't patronize a business which uses its money to fund hate speech and lobbies politicians to support laws which deny rights to people. I support freedom, and I think that's what God intended for America to have.

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

      I doubt God is passionate about chicken sandwiches.

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

      That's silly, you'd starve to death if you knew all of the differing opinions and ideals of groups like McDonalds, KFC, Wendy's and other service industry business - it's AMERICA - I like for people to express their opinions, even if I don't agree - I love the Chik-fil-A sandwich and don't really care about their opinion of marriage....

      July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. StandUp

    Glad to see a business not saying the "politically correct" thing and actually standing up for what they believe in. They didn't say they hated gays and lesbians, just that they believe and support traditional marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kat

    Why is it when someone says they disagree with Gay marriage because of biblical beliefs, that people say they hate? I don't hate anyone, but I do not believe gay marriage is right. I don't believe adultery is right, but I don't hate them. But because I choose to believe God does not agree with Gay marriage and the bible strongly states he does not like it, but that does not make me hate anyone. A+ to Chick-fil-a for standing up for what they believe in. I wish more people would stand up for what they believe in and stop hiding behind people or being scared of what the media would do to them. This world would be a lot better place. We let murders, abuser, robbers, ect.. walk free, but my goodness, you say you don't agree in the gay movement people say you are haters. WOW!! I am very proud to be a Christen and I stand strong in what I believe and always will, but I don't hate anyone. Remember we live in the USA and we have a right to our opinion right!!!!

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