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.
Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faithÂ
"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.
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Twitter comments were also divided.
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 â 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.
âIt'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. Â As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.â
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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Any one old enough to remember Anita Bryant? No? OK, Anita Bryant was a singer, beauty queen, and wanna be celebrity spokesperson who became best known for her bigotry against gays and lesbians. As a spokesperson for Florida orange juice, she came close to destroying that industry when her lunatic views became known. Now relegated to the trash heap of best forgotten memories, the same fate awaits Chick-fil-A.
All the more reason not to eat their crap food.
Chick-Fil-A spending MILLIONS on they anti-gay marriage campaign! Why are they worrying about people they don't know. I think the MORE Christian thing they could do is take the MILLIONS spent on this and donate it as food to the homeless hungry. That is a whole lot of chicken. And also do they know that Gay American have the HIGHEST disposable income? You don't want them to buy your chicken? Whatever....... go do your "Christian" thing as you define it. Jesus would rather you feed people than being jealous of gay people being happy.
I don't think Mr. Cathy minds gay people with their highest disposable income stopping by to buy a chicken sandwhich. He doesn't support gay marriage. Don't like his stance, don't eat there. I would welcome a bit shorter line at my always crowded local Chick-fil-A.
I find it funny that pro gay marriage supporters feel they are victims of hate-mongers, and bigots, then proceed to demonize people that hold chrisitan beleifs. Seems hypocritical to me.
It's one thing to hold a personal belief – it's quite another to use your influence and profits to promote bigotry. Look at Cathy's quote: In case you didn't notice, this self-righteous bigot hates divorced people, too. So if you are gay or divorced, why would you go to a business that uses profits from your dollars to tell you you are inferior and deserve fewer rights than others?
Where does his comment say that he hates anyone? The intollerant crowd on the left can't seem to stand the fact that many Americans disagree with their choice to lead a gay lifestyle. If that's your thing then great, have fun with it. The FACT is that's not the preference for a vast majority of Americans, but some are just too intollerant to allow that without spewing the venemous hatred toward this restaurant or others who disagree with that choice.
Personally, I have never eaten at one of these restaurants, but you can be 100% sure that I will the next timie I'm travelling and looking for a place to eat. I'll be very happy to support a good business who stands up for what they believe in.
The rest of you can continue your crusade to redefine marriage all you want, but GAY marriage is still not marriage; it's GAY marriage; HUGE difference.
I was not planning on eating lunch today but i am going to CFA
Maybe you can all wallow in the supernatural and metaphysical while you are there. The rest of us will stay here in reality.
Certainly a supporter of traditional family values. As well as respectful of those that chose other belief patterns. Although not sure how my belief (same as Mr. Cathy) is characterized as "hatred". I do not hate anyone, I simply believe in marriage as that of a man and a woman........
I'm guessing you are not gay. If you were gay you would have a change of heart.
Belief is one thing. The hatred part comes in when the company is spending millions of dollars to block others from their freedom. What business is it of yours, or CFA if two people who love each other want to marry? A church doesn't have to marry them, but no law can block it. That's un-American and hateful.
Why do people associate hate with someone standing up for what they believe? In particular, such in this case, when a Christians stands up for they belief, hate has nothing to do with it. It is love they they are trying to demonstate. Love for their God.
What concerns me more is the lack of understanding about the one who gave us love. He is love.
Alienating an entire group of people is not love. Its the opposite of that.
Jesus, in speaking to his followers, said âThey (the world) hate me, and they will hate youâ.
This is news?
You serve chicken boiled in peanut oil – keep your opinions to yourself and just keep your store open.
EAT MOR CHIKEN – nice logo – kids probably think thats correctly spelled these days
I usually go to McDonald's, but now I'm heading the Chick-fil-A. Taking a religious stand, such as this, is NOT a crime.
seriously! I am so sick of hearing this exaggerated response of "you're hateful" whenever someone doesn't get in line with gay marriage .
I don't understand why Chick Fil sharing their support of the "traditional" definition of marriage has created this firestorm. Mr. Cathy never said he hated anyone. He simply said he didn't support gay marriage. At the same time, Mr. Cathy never said he refused to hire someone gay to work for him. America was founded on people having their own opinions. Just because it doesn't support a certain group does not make an organization inherently evil.
You can be certain that their hiring practices reflect their religious beliefs.
The problem is that it's not just an opinion Cathy has. By donating 3 million dollars to anti-gay groups, he is taking an active part in not only telling LGBT people they are worth less (i.e. deserving of exclusion to all the rights that he enjoys), but also in working to ensure that opinion is put into practice.
LGBT people are people. No gay person ever chose to be gay any more than non-gay people choose to be non-gay. No transgender person ever said "I'm going to choose a life path that will be full of discrimination and loss and active hatred aimed at me and mine."
But Mr. Cathy is telling them "you are less than I am, and I'm going to do everything I can to put you back in the closet and make sure your life is full of as much misery as I can." Think that's being dramatic? By promoting values and policies that seek to halt LGBT people from living as human beings, this is precisely what Cathy is doing.
GOOD LORD their chicken nuggets have 12G of fat and 900g of Sodium!!! Heart attack waiting to happen?
Bullying of any kind should not be tolerated!
I have many gay friends and have found them to be the utmost caring, loving, kind, compassionate, hard-working
with the most exquisite taste they are very special people. I think God created the gay and black world
to teach hippocrites and bigots like this, how to love unconditionally without prejudice. THOU SHALT NOT JUDGE..
Open your mind, Mr. Cathy, let the hate and judgement out and replace it with love and unconditional love.
I absolutely loved the food at this restaurant but will absolutely pass by it now,,, feeling sorry for the old closed minded fool........
I will boycott and not eat there on Sunday!!!! (Oh that's right they are closed on Sundays) Oh well..I tried
LOL..ThaT WAS FUNNY