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. JAB62

    I too wish more businesses would hold true to their principles and not be so shy about making them public knowledge so I know which idiot companies to avoid, like this one.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. thinking out loud

    So does this mean they also believe in the bible's support of slavery? I wonder what their workers get paid?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    This company is bigoted, close-minded and hateful just like me? Yes! I will eat there more often! Yay for hate!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • MK

      Amen Mike.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • realitybites

      That's funny Mike. One thing I can't stand is someone who is proud of their biggotry and brags bout it but.....that was truely funny. Thanks. I needed a laugh.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe blows

    They don't like gays, but contributing to fatness they are OK with.....

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Johnyy Pal

    they can start putting tissues in the cryers' takeout

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anon-i-mouse

    Funny how those who now are eating more Chick-fil-a because of this are probably the same people who don't believe in the Affordable Care Act and will be the ones most needing health care they can't affort without the Act!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. challenge

    To all the bashers out there ... stop going to Chick-Fil-A and invest your money at JC Penny ... they support LGBT ... put your money where your mouth is ..... if you are serious about "your" values and commitments

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      They make chicken! Who cares what they think about marriage. Shop there or don't, but is it worth this non-sense back and forth? Let people believe what they want and go about your life – you will influence those you can by leading your life as you choose.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BobRayTalbot

    While I support, as a matter of principle, the right for anyone to marry the person of their choice, I have a profound disagreement with Mr. Cole-Schwartz's statement. I do not believe this country is "moving toward inclusion." I believe this country is moving toward the abyss, and the fact that a PR representative of an aberrant population group is attempting a de facto boycott of a PRIVATELY HELD COMPANY for speaking about the driving principles of that company, to a relatively small audience, is clear evidence of that fact.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. ralph

    It's a shame that those opposed to Mr. Cathy's stance on the subject of gay marriage have chosen to thrust accusations of "hate mongering" into the discussion. Just because one person opposes something a second person does, that doesn't mean the first person hates the other person. That is totally ridiculous! I may hate smoking, but that doesn't mean I hate the smoker. I do not believe Mr. Cathy (or any of us who opposed gay marriage) hate gay people. If it did, I would be hating my own daughter (which I absolutely don't!). So often I find those screaming for tolerance to be the most intolerant of all.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. ironwolf56

    Look I'm pro marriage equality but let's have a reality check here. If we boycotted every business where the CEOs have opinions that disagree with ours we wouldn't be going anywhere; most all of them are run by money and power-hungry sociopaths after all. The nuggets are not "filled with hate" the poor kid working the frier is probably as open-minded as you are. Honestly by being upfront about their opinions, Chick-fil-a sounds more genuine than MOST corporations.

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

    Religion is a crutch for weak minded people to lean on and to use as a weapon when they're in fear.....

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Johnathan Fiske

    I can't eat there anymore. I cannot condone them for standing up for their beliefs, but I will take my business elsewhere.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jesus would be ashamed of you

    To all you Christians on this board celebrating the right to discriminate, it must be nice to have a little book in your hand that makes that okay. Just pick and choose the verses you want, and you can treat people differently with a clear conscience. That's some religion you have there. And you're so proud of yourselves, too! Love the humility. Oh, and did you hear about the Eagle Scout who was stripped of all of his accomplishments and asked to leave because he's gay? I guess you're proud of that, too. Have fun at church on Sunday.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • rk

      When did Mr. Cathy discriminate agasit gay people when did he say that he refuses to serve anyone that is gay. He said he agrees with traditional marriage

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Danny F

    Mr. Cathy simply stated he thinks traditional marriage is still the norm. He did not offer anything that resembled hate or bigotry. Why is it that we allow attacks on anyone that is a believer in anything resembling traditional values as hatred or bigotry? If individuals practice gay or lesbian lifestyles, so be it. All I know is that it requires a man and a woman to create life. Love between the two who created this life should be the main ingredient in procreation. It seems to me that when the two are married partners that love each other and stay married, the new life use to be better off. Please let’s not suggest that we live in a world today that is better than 50 years ago when traditional values were considered the norm! I grew up in the Christian faith and was taught these things. The Bible supports this. It makes logical sense to me. I support this as does Mr. Cathy. I also respect other people’s choices. I believe in traditional marriage. Does this mean my opinion should be attacked by supporters of gay and lesbian lifestyles? How about some tolerance from the other side? I don’t care if Mr. Cathy has views that differ from mine, which I am sure he does, his restaurant still serves the best chicken sandwich and they are clean and the employees are always friendly. I do wonder if he roots for the same sports teams that I do. If not than that changes everything!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Victoria

    First off, I'm not against gay marriage. I don't really see how it affects anyone who isn't gay so it doesn't bother me. Nothing that Cathy said was hateful or demeaning so why get all fired up just because the company is standing up for their Christian beliefs? Good for them!

    I'll still go there! It's delicious 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeG

      "The company" doesn't have Christian beliefs, the owners do. The lines are being too easily blurred in our country these days. The owners have personal beliefs, as do all of their employees, a number of whom I'm sure disagree with the owners. But the company is not Christian – I don't recall someone named "Chik Fil A" being baptised, or a bunch of buildings professing their faith.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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