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. novak

    How is it HATE? Its people just sticking up for their own opinion and morals?!??!?!? Wake up people! Bleeding heart libs are tearing this country apart

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Phil

    Good for Chick-Fil-A standing up to the fudge packers

    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. C. Shades

    Everything in life doesn't have to agree with your personal beliefs. Get over it and leave Chick-fil-A alone!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. ChiefGunner

    If you do not like Chick-fil-A's Christian values then don't go to Chick-fil-A. Problem solved.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim King

    Finally, two respected organizations stand up and push their core values, ignoring political correctness. Let the free market system decide if this will hurt Chick Fil-A or possibly help it. I will make it a point to stop by Chick Fil-A more often and to support the Boy Scouts when possible.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Discrimination is not a value. It's cowardice

      July 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. stan

    every group has an agenda. Just because you do not support the entire agenda of that group does not mean that you are against that group. If you are pro-choice, are you anti-catholic? I don't think so.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. dawallet

    Supporting marriage between a man and a woman does not make someone a "hate monger". Why must we vilify those who disagree with us?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. jendher

    Traditional family unit. .. you mean all those Baptist kids growing up in broken homes due to divoces and single teen moms, right?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonsie

      Where did you get your statistics for that stupid comment? Can you qualify your statement? It's ok for gays and lesbians to have their views, but no one else is allowed that freedom? Grow up!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lee

    It's interesting to me that those who support gay marriage want everyone to be tolerable of this life style, but are not tolerable of others. If you disagree with them, they don't like you.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      Wait as minute.... do you smell that.... It smells like a heaping pile of hypocrisy...

      July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Tolerance does not mean you have to tolerate intolerance. Hey...wake up! It's a big world out there- Not everyone believes in your god or your little book- the big mistake you churchies keep making is that you expect everyone to take your beliefs as valid and serious as you do.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Cynic – you hit it right on the head ......... no one hates better than a christian.

    The rest of you defending Chick Fil-A bigoted stance ............. turn off CBN and FOX and try to get educated in reality. No one bashes christians for their beliefs. You have the right to belief any thing you want and have the freedom to do so. That is what makes America great. What however most decent human beings find objectionable is that you spend millions of dollars to get laws passed to force the rest of us to live by your beliefs, then scream foul when we complain.

    And those millions of dollars could have been spent healing the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor ...... which do you suppose Jesus would have chosen? Hmmmm?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • toodles1010

      shutup. just because we dont agree with you doesn't make us all 'bigoted'. gay marriage is 0 for 32.

      What about the majority of blacks who tend to vote liberal who are against gay marriage? Are they all a bunch of bigots?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonsie

      No one bashes Christians for their beliefs – you just did. Talk about tolerance, you don't know what the word means!!

      July 19, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      Christians can hate pretty well, but the gays are really giving them a run for their money. Who would think people who use a word meaning happy to describe themselves could be so angry and full of hate?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      Just like those people spending millions of dollars trying to get the ban on gay marriage changed instead of feeding the hungry, healing the sick and helping the poor right?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. toodles1010

    Eat there, will eat there more. Love this place and their values.

    Remember, their not anti-gay... their anti-gay marriage. There is a difference.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      NO, there ISN'T a difference. You're telling someone they can't do something, based solely on your beliefs. THAT is discrimination, buddy, and you don't get a free pass just because you heard it in chruch

      July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shane Botwin

    People really eat that garbage?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. forrest

    Why is someones belief that marriage is between a man and a woman associated with someone else hating gay people?
    I do not hate gay people. I have plenty of gay friends. I also do not see the coloration of hate with not supporting gay marriage. They have nothing to do with each other.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Do you support gays getting married? If you don't, you're trying to tell someone they can't do something based on your beliefs. That is discrimination

      July 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. downinfront

    Does the 'A' stand for 'Al-Qaeda'?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. toodles1010

    ^ they're** not their... my bad.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
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