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. kathleenpape

    I don't understand the uproar. If he refused service to gays, I'd be on the bandwagon to boycott. He's not. He's simply maintaining the opinion of his grandparents and probably all your grandparents, too. But why companies, celebrities, etc....need to share their political opinions with us is beyond me. Whichever side you're on, you're going to alienate a part of your fan base. I vote we go back to the rules of "polite society" and keep our politics in the voting booth. I don't care about Janeane Garogalo's political opinion any more than I care about my plumber's. The only difference is, my plumber isn't all over the tv and the Internets with his. Stick to what you know, actors, stick to acting, restauranteurs, stick to feeding us, plumbers and politicians, clean up the, well, you know.

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

      Kathleen – so, you'd be in an uproar if they refused to serve a gay person a sandwich, but you're perfectly okay with them trying to enact legislation to prevent such a basic civil right as marrying the person one chooses?

      Priorities, my dear – priorities.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pritch

    So any opinion other than gay marriage is awesome, is now considered Hate speech. Give me a break. Bunch of idiots saying something so stupid as that.

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

    I support gay rights, but I also support religious freedom. Chik-Fil-A and MOST other Christians aren't against gay marriage because they hate gays. They use a strict definition of marriage defined by their religion. This is why the government should never have gotten in the marriage business to begin with. Government intrusion in marriage started because of the racial bigotry of religious zealots. Why is anyone surprised the government is still controlling who can marry whom based on the whims of traditionalists?
    And seriously, the place is freakin closed on Sunday. Anyone who is surprised by this must have no analytical skills whatsoever.

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

      It changes everything financially, thats why the gov is involved

      July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. bill

    I wish the welfare system would be against gay marriage and racist. We could get a lot of people of the leaching system obama is pumping our tax money into

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

    They should probably come out and say they hate blacks too, and don't really want them eating at the restaurant.

    They should show what they think!

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

      And you have gone into their minds and figured out exactly what they think. look's like you are a hater to me. trying to do some fear mongering just because they have beliefs against your community.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Johnyy Pal

    Stopping by tonight!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • 3N1Amen

      Pick me up one of those delicious chocolate milkshakes for me!!!! 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. 3N1Amen


    July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff J

    LOL at the bigots saying they will eat here more often because of the company's viewpoints. You go ahead and do that, race toward that inevitable heart attack!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe blows

    I think today I will go poke a guy, get a chicken sandwich, smoke a cigarette, poke another guy, and then go to church....I'll probably stop a get another chicken sandwich on the way home....

    July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Gays have the right to eat elsewhere, thank God.

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

    To me, this is more of an issue of treating corporations like people. I've seen many comments below saying "the company has the right to speak their mind", or "the company can support whatever policy it wants". The OWNERS of that company certainly have that right, no doubt. But a company is a company, made up of many people with diverse opinions. Yes, the owners are Christian and have chosen to close their business on Sundays. But can they truly speak for every employee? I assume they follow non-discriminatory hiring practices mandated by law, so there is no guarantee that all of their employees are Christian. What about their gay employees? I'm certain the owners aren't speaking for them. What about their non-Christian employees, or the Christian ones who support gay marriage? This is the slippery slope we have opened up by allowing companies to act like people instead of the businesses that they are. Make your policy positions personal, but when it comes to your business, sell your tasty chicken and go home to your family.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • ag71

      The employees are free to go work somewhere else if they disagree with the company's policy, no one is holding a gun to their head and forcing them to work. It's also educational to see all of the hateful comments from the pro-gay people who continually show their intolerance and hate for anyone who disagrees with their choice. My suggestion is they go start their own business and run it the way they want to. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that.

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

    America has really changed. The owner expresses his beliefs and he is a "hate monger." The so-called liberal left is accepting if you agree with them...express an opposing view and they are suddenly very closed minded when they espouse the virtues of being open minded....i believe that meets the definition of a hypocrite.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Christopher de Vidal

    To you who say "hate-monger:" Did you actually read the bpnews.net release? Where's the hate?? (Shaking my head.) Praying for you.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ben

    I don't see how supporting marriage as between man and a woman equates to hatred of gay people? This is the most ridiculous argument in the world today.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. ModernMode

    The Bible supports slavery so I guess Chic fil a now supports slavery too. Bojangles and KFC will now be getting all my chicken business. I just cannot support a business run by bigots.

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