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.
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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.
â€śIt'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€ť
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 is not filled with hate...they have strong christian principles and are not afraid to let you know where they stand. aren't we still in america?? if you need to find a place that supports your gay lifestyle..go for it!!!
A company that serves the public and profits from the public should keep privately held beliefs to themselves. It is however, no wonder, that a company that resells 'meat', harming God's little creatures who are raised in horrible conditions, and meet a painful and violent death, would have hurtful views on humanity. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Meat is murder, plain and simple
Killing a chicken for food is NOT murder. Killing a person for food is murder.
Thank God for a company that is not afraid to speak the Truth! We will all be judge by the Books of the Bible...say what you want, do what you want, all men know right from wrong. Self justify will not get you in...we all will die one day and we will see who was right or wrong? This is not hate, it is in truth and love, God Bless
I knew they were like this and I shouldn't have been eating there before. Now this just gives me the extra boost to avoid them completely.
good they won't miss you
According to that same line of reasoning, should i properly vet every business interaction that I have to ensure the person I am doing business with is not gay? Every realtor, clerk, restuarant, etc. This pro-gay marriage crowd cries tolerance all day, but are by far the least tolerant amongst us.
The LGBT community need to lighten up, back off from their agenda to change everybody's world view on their issue, and just accept the fact that there are those who simply do not and will not agree with their lifestyle – period! They are not hated or despised. They are simply not in complete agreement with everyone. Nowhere in the article above is anyone from Chic-Fil-A saying that they will refuse to serve food to LGBT. Nor are they explicitely saying, "LGBT KEEP OUT!". The LGBT community are in no way being excluded from being able to eat there. So how is this all of a sudden hatred and bigotry on the part of Chic-Fil-A just because they support traditional family values? I believe the hatred and bigotry originates from the LGBT community when others disagree with their lifestyle and philosophy.
Ah, so the LGBT community shouldn't be concerned about the millions of dollars Chik-Fil-A has spent advocating against equal rights too? Gotcha!
@D – No more or less than the rest of us shouldn't be concerned that President Obama has taken a public position against traditional family values. Gotcha back! đź™‚
I have to wonder....even though they are "standing up" for their beliefs....I would bet there's a lot of dirt in their closets....
There's "dirt" in everyone's closet...including yours. No man is perfect...nor business.
So the president of the company made his comment. Do you not realize there are other companies that are run by people who feel exactly as Mr. CAthy does, but they are too afraid of the public backlash so they say nothing? He never said they wouldn't serve gays, he was just stating his belief. I have no opinion one way or the other – to each their own as long as they do not flaunt it in front of everyone, whether straight or gay.
Just stating his opinion ... and spending millions of dollars of the company's money in political advocacy ... but that's harmless, I guess, right?
I don't like relgion OR gay marriage. I dislike religion more and think companies should stay out of it so I won't be going there again.
Dan do you not realize this company has been open about religion for quite a while and it was pretty clear about it from their policy of being closed on sundays...which they are losing quite a bit of potential profits from so i don't think they will care if you do go their anyway but just dont be ignorant they have never tried to hide their companies religious beliefs and those beliefs are what the company was founded on
"Cry loud and spare not. Lift up a standard for the people."
I agree with you Angie. Unfortunately today everyone has replaced the True Standard with their own standard... which is really not a standard at all.
The article is unclear. It quotes the president of Chick-fil-A as saying â€śWe (I assume that is the owners of the company) are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unitâ€ť. However, it does not cite any policies or actions of the company that has people upset.
Yes, poor reporting of them to not mention all the money that company has spent advocating on this issue. That's really what people are unhappy about.
Who cares. Who even eats there anymore? If they want to appear dumb let them light their own hair on fire. They should worry about their own sins.
Good for Chick-fil-A for sticking to their guns! The liberal media and Robin Meade all want you to believe that if you don't support gay marriage, there's something wrong with you. Think for yourself don't listen to them.
There is something wrong with you...and it has nothing to do with the liberal media. Why do you discriminate against people based on who they love. And if you point me to Leviticus I hope you're okay with selling your daughters into slavery and have never worn polyester or eaten shellfish.
Chik-fil-a milkshake:: 730 Calories, 27g of fat!!! JESUS CHRIST!!
So...if you support Traditional Family Values...you are all of sudden an evil person filled with hatred?
@Bob If you are trying to use the government to impose those values on others who disagree, yes.
If you're actively working or financially supporting efforts to block gay Americans from receiving the same kind of financial benefits and rights that other couples in this country enjoy...then yes, that's a hateful thing.
I love Chick-fil-a! And I applaud them for taking a stance and stating what they believe. For all those bashing, I guess you can't deal with diversity like you say you can.
Denying other people basic rights is not the same thing as "diversity".
Of course Chik-Fil-A has a right to do as they choose with their profits. Just as I have a right not to give them any of my money and publicly say why. If that makes someone go out and eat there more, then fine. You'll die before me from fried food induced hyperlipidosis . That, my friends, is what we call a win-win...but I will not wallow in schadenfreud when you pass on. I will weep for those who died with their hearts and minds closed to those who just want to be free to love who they want. Repent now, ye judgemental unkind Christians...