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. B-RY

    There is absolutly nothing wrong with these statements what so ever.Not once did he spew any form of bigotry or hatred defaming any part of the GLBT community. He never said that they would refuse to serve anyone in the GLBT. He clearly stated that he beleives marriage to be between and man and women only and that he will stick by his beleifs. Nothing wrong with that whats so ever. If anything the GLBT is the bigot here for not tolerating others beliefs if they are not of their own.

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

      @B-RY He donates to groups who use that money to ensure the government keeps gay marriage banned. Imposing your beliefs on others that disagree is wrong and goes far beyond a mere belief. A true Christian would believe that, regardless of our earthly law, all that matters is God's laws.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Coffeeclue

    I travel a lot and see many Chick-Fill-As along the way. To this day I have not visited one. When I go to a restaurant, I want good food. Being non-Christian, I just feel wierd going to this place. I feel like an outsider. There are plenty of other chicken joints I can go to without having God shoved down my throat.

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

      According to their bible, all men are not created equal.

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

      God shoved down your throat.............What color is the sky in your world?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • aztekman

      Exactly, if people have an issue with Chick-fil-A. DONT GO.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Smith

      You should try it. I frequently go to Chick-fil-A and I've never heard God mentioned there. They present their business just like any other fast food restaurant, but they're closed on Sundays. Oh, and they tend to deliver better food faster than McDonalds or Burger King.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      Since you've never been in one of the restaurants, how do you know if God is being shoved down anything at all? Aside from being closed on Sunday, the only way it's different than other fast food places is that the service is almost always great. Their chicken happens to be delicious, too.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3N1Amen

      Interesting how you can comment on something you don't know ...if you've never visited one! I can guarantee you that it will be one of your best FAST food restaurant experiences! Have you EVER been to any fast food restaurant where a server comes by your table asking you for a refill??? Very clean. When they say..."my pleasure" when you thank them...they mean it!!!
      Try it...you will like it! No one mentions God when you visit. They don't have to...you can feel the love of God already in that place!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gonfis

    Hoorah for Chick-Fil-A a great place for family dining. Now you won't accidentally run into any of the hollywood elite's and their self assumed superior morals. They preach tolerance provided you agree with them. What a bunch of pretenders..................Go Chick-Fil-A. How does 2% (according to the 2010 census) of the population get so much attention? Oh yeah I know, they congregate in the pretend part of society, acting.

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

      They are disproportionately highly educated, informed and fully understand avenues of dissent within the government.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SV

      @Gonfis How does a population of 2%, as you say, get so much attention? Because that 2% have families and friends like me that support them, that's how.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MaxNatoma

    "Biblical marriage" included polygamy. Do they support that??

    July 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Johnyy Pal

    Obama also opposed gay marriage until very recently. Where was the outcry against him?

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

      He evolved!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MasterWooten

      Everybody knew Obama was pro-gay marriage. This was just a stunt!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edith

      It was loud and clear. You weren't listening.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tanthonyS

    Proud of you for standing up for your convictions.
    Proud of myself for standing up for my convictions: we will no longer spend our money at your restaurants. You do not support American families, as I see it.

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

      They have selective opinions on what makes up a family. My husband and our two adopted children have never eaten there because we have known about Chik-Fil-A for some time.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. khamsomphoui

    The only hate that I can see, is coming from those that don't agree with true family values.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gigi

      Ture family values is code word for anti-gay! It started with the moral majority in the 80's.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gigi

      True family values is code word for anti-gay! It started with the moral majority in the 80's.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ray

    another redneck southern company. if they are so religious, maybe they should stop serving divorced people as divored people are an abomination according to the bible. they will NOt see another cent from me!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sherrod B

    They have my full support. Who is to say what marriage is supposed to be. Only the neo cons.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Maria Rowe

    This company took a stand for what they believe is the truth..What is wrong with some of you people!! Where is free speach!! This country was founded on Godly principles...This is not HATE!!!!!! I read no HATE in this comment..Wake Up!!! Thank you CHick-fil-A...You never condemed anyone you never said you hated anyone in this article..So whats the problem..They are not against people...Get it right and get over yourselves..I have a question for people that think they can live and do what ever they choose..So are you people okay with child molestation????Are you okay with adultery???????So you are okay with murder?????So we should allow everyone in any society to live the way they want...So no moral code...really...Well check things out around this country... You have to be blind,deaf and dumb, not to see that we are headed in a destructive path...Wake up oh sleepers...You cant have it both ways..Pretty soon you will want to allow people to marry there dogs..Because its there right!!!! Really

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edith

      The gay struggle has always been about two consenting adults. Equating their love to pedophilia and other disgusting acts does not help your argument in the least. Two consenting adults.

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

      Clearly there's not an undertone of hate in your comment. Comparing supporting gay marriage to supporting child molestation doesn't give your comment that connotation in the slightest!

      As an atheist, I fully support Chik-Fil-A's right to make the the decision that this is a policy they want to espouse. It's obviously a -horrible- business decision and they are making the decision at a great expense to their organization.

      While they have every right in the world to contribute to this charity, myself and people like me have every right in the world to belittle them for doing so and choosing not to patronize their establishments. I've had them blacklisted for over two years now. It's unfortunate, because both their customer service and the quality of their food is stellar compared to the rest of the industry.

      You also may want to reconsider blasting people who choose not to purchase anything for them in the same rant where you praise Chik-Fil-A for standing up for their beliefs. Just sayin'.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    "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." - So, each and every employee at their 1,600 locations has only been married once? I beg to differ.

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

    I'm finding that as years pass, I'm tolerating gays less and less. It used to be you rarely saw their influence on TV. Now, every show I watch has some gay influence tied to it. As far as I'm concerned, gays have gotten far too much power and voice and it's about time they're driven back (or even out of the country). It's *not* a racial thing. It's simply wrong. Return to the Bible. Restore and strengthen traditional marriage between men and women. Stand up for Chick-fil-a, a company doing the RIGHT thing. Time to kick these sick, gay devils out of the country.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      The new gay presence reminds us all of how insignificant your opinions are.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Seriously? It's comments like yours that give Christians a bad rap. Hold your toungue next time you feel the urge to say something foolish.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. flick

    Who can say they are surprised to see this stance from a Christain based company? As a gay man I could care less that a company is opposed to gay marraige. Lots of people are for and against it. As an American I defend their right to their opinion The problem would be if they declined to serve me when I decide I want their food.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joxer the Mighty

    I have to agree with some other posters. Why is this news?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      The article doesn't really touch on a key element that was brought up in previous stories on Chick-fil-A. It's not simply that the owners hold these views, they give some of their profits to groups working against gay rights.

      That's their legal right, of course.

      But people should be aware of what it is they're supporting with their money. That's why this needs to be addressed in news media.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. steve

    I did not know they are a Christian enterprise. Good to know. Now combined with the fact they are discriminatory, I will make sure I never eat there again. In fact, I will spread disgusting rumors of what I found in the chicken I bought from all the local ones.

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