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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Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. HaveSomeTea

    To the people who says will eat there more often – go ahead, clog your arteries with fried chicken!!

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

    i come from a very big, strong, practicing catholic family but i cannot support a business that does not support my family or friends... goodbye chick-fil-a

    July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. phaque2

    I am not a gay per se, but I have several gay friends. I like the chicken sandwich with the pickle on it, and I like the waffle fries, but in leu of this recent hate mongering by the restaurant chain, I can't say I'll be eating there again.Why can't chik-no-gay keep their ridiculous opinions to themselves.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouGuysCrackMeUP

      probably for the same reasons you cant keep your opinions to yourself, everyone thinks it matters. Never does really.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TW

      Well ... I wouldn't say it's ridiculous. The company has made a statement of it's beliefs, and that's their right. Gays seem to push the agenda that they have a right to their lifestyle and opinion, why is it different when it's something they don't like? Sadly, the people who yell 'FREE SPEECH' will be lining up to demonize and muzzle this company.

      For many, liberty is only acceptable when you agree with them.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • celiazora

      Mr. Cathey was asked a specific question by a Baptist journal. It is the rest of the media that glommed onto this interview and hyped the controversy. Mr. Cathey didn't take to the airwaves or the internet himself and announce that he and the compnay were opposed to gay marriage, he was asked for his opinion by a Christian media outlet and he responded.

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

    Oh well, no more Chick-fil-A for me. Not gay, but take exception to companies that exclude. A shame..... my experience with their customer service and food has been well above average. Too bad they can't see past religious dogma.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    This is nonsense. Let people do what makes them happy. They're people, let them get married. Who cares? Why does everyone care? Why is this an issue? GOD DOESN'T EXIST!!! WHEN YOU DIE YOU ROT IN THE GROUND AND THAT'S ALL!!! THERE, NOW YOU HAVE SOMETHING JUST AS MEANINGLESS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT! Seriously, grow up people.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kathryn

    Why is Chick-fil-a called "hate mongering"? All they did is state what they believed, not bash others. Why aren't the gay people accused of hatemongering since they call for a boycott? Personally, I like Chick-fil-a and admire a company that stands by its values. They treat everyone the same way. Just because I love America doesn't mean I hate other countries. Give it a rest.

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

      i love it. It is about time that america puts back some virtures to our country.

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

      Because they've also donated over $3million dollars toward anti gay initiatives. They can use your money for that, not mine. Go eat you some Chick-fil-hate.

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

      Incredible, especially coming from a woman! Kathryn, please educate yourself of the definition of prejudice and the damage it can cause and HAS caused in the history of mankind! (not just gays, but women, religion, & ethnicity)

      July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WisdomVS

    In the original text under jewish law I believe Chickens (as well as all other birds) were considered an 'unclean' animal and was forbidden as food for humans of the faith.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. not a business leader

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tonyl

    Chick-fila new menu item "tea bagger nugggets"

    July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. D.L. Grissom

    I think a company now days that will take a stand based on their beliefs and the Bible should be applauded for doing so. Just cause they believe what the Bible says does not make them haters.......just followers of the Bible. How easy it is to use hate as an excuse to approve what you are doing. No wonder our kids of today are confused. lost, wondering in a world full of mixed beliefs or non at all. Shame on you! As far as I know, stating your opinion is not against the law or a reason to hate. Communication is suppose to be the key to harmony and peace.........Looks like you "haters" are just causing trouble! I feel so sorry for those that are trapped in an existence that is against God and His laws. We christians should pray for them without stopping because they are truly lost! Thank you Chick-fil-a for taking a stand and living by your beliefs!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • MD

      But the Bible says many things.....most people just pick and choose what they want for their agenda pushing BS. That is NOT what the Bible was intended for....

      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @D.L. Grissom Does the Bible tell Christians they must change all the laws of their land to match the Bible?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clayton Colwell

      Well, the Bible states that women are not to hold positions of authority over men and are to keep silent, at least in Paul's view (1 Timothy 2:12) - I would certainly consider such an imposition hateful, despite its Biblical authority.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      DL Grissom, Yes because we all know that there is only one religion in America. Now if we could just get those black people, Jews, and Muslims to quit eating at Chick-fil a we could all have a better eating experience.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mike223

    Attacking Chik-Fil-A for their religious beliefs? Not surprising, LIberals miss the fundamental fact that America allows freedom of religion. Bite it!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • MD

      Freedom of religion is fine, but unless you pay taxes, then stop trying to put things into law...so bite that!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Golyadkin

      It's not the religious beliefs. They are allowed to have those. It's the fact that they use their money to push for continued inequality in society that we're mad about.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Mike223, I think you missed the point. We are attacking them not because of their religious belief, but the over $3 million dollars that spend on anti gay initiatives. I will not let them use my money toward increasing teen suicides, but you go right head.

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

    I've never eaten at a Chik-fil-A and I never will. I don't support bigotry and the idea of a dime of my money indirectly going to support movements that seek to suppress the rights of other people is sickening.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy.

      ...But I'm sure you've eaten at McDonald's who supports Obesity [by their actions, not marketing] which denies more people's right to life than any gay rights debate. People just pick and choose their battles, when there's always a bigger problem out there. America's health is a bigger concern, in my opinion [keywords], than any moral subject.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. drnight

    As a company they could just "No Comment" and do Business. Otherwise you do invite the intolerant to rant about you. Personally I'll just eat somewhere else. It wont hurt them and it make me feel better. Besides I waited until Carl Karcher kicked before I started going to Carl's Jr. Again, did nothing but made me feel better.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    Chick-fil-hate will not see a dime of my money....and those that support them are hypocrites and know it. Quoting the Bible to fit your needs or to spew your hate is a disgrace....and you call yourselfs Christian. Really?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HaveSomeTea

    WOW their chargrilled chicken sandwich has almost 800g of sodium!! That's gonna kill you.

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