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. M. Madison

    It never ceases to amaze me how people want to force their lifestyles on others. It seems no one has a right to believe
    what they want to unless it agreeds with the thoughts of others. How bigoted is that? If they believed their lifestyle was correct they would have never been in the closet to begin with. Hats off to Chick fil A I will continue to patronize your business and stand with you in the right to believe in ones own principals without being labeled a hatemonger. You would not be so angry and defensive if you really believed your lifestyle was right. By bullying people you cannot and will not change everyone around to your views.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    ladyjay .......... one word for you ........... THERAPY! If you truly believe what you have written you need serious help. Let me guess .......... you live in the south, selectively use Bible verses, don't have a college education, support the NRA and think Sarah Palin would have made a great president ............ am I close?

    Just to set the record straight for you .......... gays are not "forcing" anyone to their point of view ....... they just want the same rights as every other American has ........... gays are not "persecuting" christians .......... they are just trying to stop "christians" from persecuting them by passing laws to force everyone to live by their beliefs.

    So please get professional help ........... and start by turning off FOX and CBN.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • M. Madison

      Feel better now??? Got your anger off. Everyone needs therapy but you right? okay...
      I will not feed into that as a matter of fact I'm on my way to have one of those delicious Chick Fil A sandwiches.
      Enjoy your weekend.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adrian

    I just find it so odd that it's considered a violation of free speech "rights" to tell someone not to use their words to threaten or harm other people. I have to say I love gays or gay marriage or else I'm a hate monger? And you're right: religion can lead to hate, that's why a relationship with God is what is required. Sitting in church doesn't make you a Christian, just like sitting in a garage doesn't make you a car. If I stand on my beliefs, I'm hate-filled, but if gays stand on their beliefs, they're justified? Really?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Adrian ..is that u?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Lobosan

      Yes, really. Gays aren't trying to control your life and you can hate them all you want verbally or otherwise. But the line is drawn at infringing on their (or any group's) civil rights. That goes beyond free speech into tyranny.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephan

      Hey Adrian, I own a chain of super tasty restaurants! But I firmly believe that Christians are an abomination and should not be allowed to marry, and I give my money to causes that support this.

      Feel like going to my place for lunch now do you? What? It's just my belief is all. No harm done right?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • cynthia

      First, it's not a violation of Free Speech when the private sector or citizen wants you to stop using certain rhetoric. The First Amendment only covers censorship by the government. Second, some of the anti-'chic' comments are a little extreme, but so are many of the pro-chic. Extreme Christian Right rhetoric often has violent undertones, and if you follow the news you know that is true. Finally, they have every right to say what they believe, just as I have every right never to eat at their facilities, again, and for others to avoid them, too. I'm not gay, but I believe in the words of Christ. I also tend to be a little disgusted with the hypocracy of some groups. Enjoy your meal, knowing that the owners are obsessed with people who have done no harm, but is silent on the many who harm everyday who call themselves Christians.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "I have to say I love gays or gay marriage or else I'm a hate monger? "

      You are commanded by your god to love ALL mankind, not just the ones you like. Fail at that and burn, if you believe that story.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. allen

    I will make it a point to eat there now

    July 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      I'm making it a point to stop eating there.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Once again Religion shows it's evil roots. But than again not only have more innocent people have died from it , children have been molested by catholic priests. Another reason they should'nt be tax exempt

    July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eric the Commenter

    Wait a second...they're Christian, AND they're against gay marriage? WHAT!?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Johnyy Pal

    if you don't agree with me you are [fill in blank].

    get over yourselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Here Here! I totally feel the same! I cant tell you how many times I've had to deal with these snooty liberal tree hugger type getting all in my business when I want to have a few buddies over to talk about how much I hate b Jews! I mean seriously, my HOA told me "no more White Power/ anti Semite nights", and made me stop burning my crosses, claiming “it made the neighbors uncomfortable” or something lame like that! Seriously, if me and a couple of friends want to give a lecture at the nearest boy scout troop about how NAMBLA is a legitimate respectable organization, which has just received a bad rap, what’s the big deal? If you don't like it, don't listen!!! The nerve of people these days!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. khamsomphoui

    We should boycott Hollywood!! When will the LGBT understand that with out us (the straight people) there is no more humans. Gays can not multiply naturally. That is one reason that we know that being gay is not natural, and No you were not born that way. .. Now bring it on!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • K

      You're a boob...

      July 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      ", and No you were not born that way. .. Now bring it on!" Wow, so you could just go on out be gay if you felt like it? I've got gay friends, but the idea of 'turning gay' is ludicrous to me. I could no more have an affair with a man than I could with a sheep. I'm guessing you don't feel that way, kham? It's just choice, not attraction?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dave

    While I respectfully disagree with his stance, the hateful demonization of a person with an opposing viewpoint has to stop. That is not how change happens.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. mb

    So, should company spokesman also feel free to make the following comments in the name of expressing opinion:

    1) Indians should shower more and use deoderant more. We do not support their cleanliness habits, ane cleanliness is next go Godliness. But we welcome them as customers.
    2) African-American men abandon their children at too high a rate, so we really do not condone their culture. But we welcome them as customers.
    3) Atheists we believe strongly will most certainly go to hell, but, we welcome them as customers.
    4) Chick Fil-A does not condone abortion and believes that those who do it commit murder and will surely burn. But we welcome those who have had abortions as customers.

    ARE THESE ALL APPROPRIATE STATEMENTS FOR A COMPANY TO MAKE AS WHAT "THE COMPANY SUPPORTS". Why don't we just have a free for all in the country and have each company announce "all of the societal choices that our company does not support" – why not do that?? Or is it only acceptable to come out with these statements regarding gay marriage – is that acceptable but the others are not???? BS!!! Sincerely, a hetero woman who believes in the dignity of all humans and who is against those who seek to oppress those different from them

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @mb Yes, any person, whether they represent a company or not, should be free to say any of those things or worse. People are also free to disagree with them and take whatever legal actions they think are appropriate.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      @mb. I love the way you compair LBGT to a race. They are not. Nice try though.-

      July 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Larry Murphy

    Hooray for you and your stance on Gay Marriage. There is nothing wrong with stating what your beliefs are. Those who have differing positions can have them but they sure seem to take it as a "Hate" crime if someone has different views. Let them go back to the closets where they belong..

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      See, they aren't in the closets any more, and that's why it's a dumb idea to start a war with them. I guess "Cathy" likes wrassling with gays so much, he's begging for more?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johnyy Pal

    I am so glad we live in a free country. Everyone can choose to live how they want, say what they want, run their business as they see fit. God bless the USA!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      You can even spell Johnny with two y's. It's a free country.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    Chick-Fil-A is a business,not a Church. They are in existence to ask for your money in return for satisfaction, unlike a Church where money is not.......
    uh,never mind.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Aaron

    Hey.. if they want to sell over-priced, over-buttered and over-heated wilted chicken chunks to build a cult in Florida then that's their prerogative. No one has to eat their food and Chik-Fil-er has every right to support whatever political agenda they want. I personally won't eat their food but that's because I think it tastes like crap.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chad S.

    I just read the entire Baptist Press article. Can someone please explain where the "hate" is? And, where is the discrimination? Or, have we devolved to the point where, "if you aren't for me, you're against me?" And, if that's the case, doesn't that mean that you all hate me, as I don't see where any of you, on either side of the argument, are for me.

    It seems to me, the majority of the "hate" is coming from the side against Chick-fil-A. I see no where that Cathy says, "you must not be gay to eat here." I see no where where he says, "I don't want you in my businesses if you're gay." I don't even see where he says that they treat gays differently. Quite the opposite on that point–treat all customers, despite their views, the same way, and preach the Gospel in that action.

    The hate comes from those saying, "I won't eat there again." Where is their "tolerance?" Is it only tolerance if I accept your opinion, but you don't have to accept mine? That seems....odd....doesn't it? You insist I tolerate you, but you don't have to do the same?

    Do any of you people ever consider that part of the equation? Regardless of the side you're on?

    And, calling them Bigoted is just plain silly. By definition, anyone who both holds an opinion, AND believes their position to be correct over any contrary position, is bigoted. Unless you say, "I don't know what to think" on virtually every decision in your life, you're bigoted.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Td11

      Well said. Hate is not in Chic-fil-a's statement at all. It isn't even in their intentions. Having an opinion different from someone else does not mean hate. It means disagreement. Wow the tolerance aspect truly is one sided.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
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