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. K

    Good thing KFC just came out with their own real chicken nuggets. Love their steak fries better than the waffle fries anyway. Down the road Chickadee...

    July 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. frallow

    If I required every owner of every dining establishment to be in lock-step with my politics I wouldn't be able to eat anywhere.

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

      The gay struggle is a human rights struggle. Whether or not a restaurant owner believes in higher taxes, aid to foreign countries or a fence on the border with Mexico is different than human and civil rights for the legal citizens of the United States.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CyberSpy

    So I take it they don't serve Kosher food?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SMS

    I'm sorry, but when did "not supporting" become bigotry? It was just a few years ago gays were asking for acceptance. they seem to have recieved it. Now they want us all to support them? I'm at live and let live, but I'm not going to go out of my way to promote values I don't believe in, NOR SHOULD ANYONE have to. Why is it that people feel that anyone that doesn't support an agenda must be against it. Chick Fil A (which we don't even have here) apparently wants to support family values. It's in their culture, much like not being open on Sundays. they aren't askign anyone to stop being gay, they just aren't encouraging the lifestyle.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lovecomesfromabove

    The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.
    That is fiction.
    Christian = Christ like. To actually "do" what Yahshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) said.
    Yahshua rested on the 7th day and kept the Sabbath (7th day of the week) holy (set apart, different from the other 6 days) and told us to follow Him and keep His commandments.
    Sunday = the 1st day of the week, and the day set apart by the catholic establishment called the vatican. Which really is all about sun worship.
    So, who do you follow / worship ? The one who made the days and set the 7th day apart ? Or... do you follow the god of the vatican who says, SUN – DAY is the day you should set apart.
    The answer is clear and all they who are OF THE TRUTH, shall understand. but none of the workers of iniquity shall understand.
    Praise Yah for the truth!

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


      July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      Yes and no, the original sabbath is a Hebrew commandment, not a Christian one, Jesus wanted Christians to threat everyday as a holy one and not just the 7th or final day of the week. Everyday is the Lord's day.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooClose2DC

      Hmmm...someone knows what day God started and rested. I really don't think there is anything in the Torah, Bible, Quaran that says which day God rested. Humans have decided to name a first day and for some the first day is Monday and for others it is Sunday but God never indicated the first day of the week.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Col. Jessup

      Close but not quite sparky. It was the Jews who said to keep the 7th day holy originally – not JC. And it was the Christians of Roman Empire (pre Vatican) who moved it to Sunday, to jibe with the ruling beliefs of Romans at the time. Handle it!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • scodyw

      Resting in the 7th day is a Jewish tradition, not Christian. Christians come together on Sunday, as a day of remberence of when Jesus rose form the dead. Read the bible, not just other peoples footnotes form skiming it

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. USA

    In the past people were bullied into being silent about being gay. Now people are being bullied for supporting traditional marriage. All I see in the same bullying behaviour, just a different target.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lobster

      Karma is a b... ain't it?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim tom

      Oh, please. Marriage has been a changing thing throughout history. You're just picking the version you like and calling it "traditional."

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lee Cooper

    I am exhausted with religious groups deciding what God supports or does not support. Their interpretation of the Bible is ignorant and self-serving. A business who discriminates should lose business and I firmly believe that the God that I believe in does not punish those who do not fit a certain mold. The bigger insult is to retract a statement with little regard for the people you are hurting. I wonder what other groups of people Chik-Fil-A considers damnable?

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

    I thought that we live in a society where freedom of speech and religion is law. while I do not agree with this companies beliefs, it is their right to say what they think. if you don't like what they say, then don't eat there . I do not live where there is one of their restaurants;so, I can't eat there. if there were , I would probably go there anyway. I have many friends that I don't agree with their beliefs, but I still like them. tolerence is how we all get along.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Miguel Caron

    It's a free country – they have the right to express their ignorant outdated opinions just as you have the right not to eat their greasy tasteless chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Matthew Ebersole

    Having biblical standards means hating the sin, and not the sinner.

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

    May the wrath of God run your company into bankruptcy! ;)...let humans be free on the choices they make and whom they desire/love!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      Uh, yeah, let humans be free on the choices they make. Just so long as they agree with your choices, right? That's known as hypocrisy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chris

    Gays complaining again....are you going to complain about theres NO Rainbow Nascar,, or Rainbow football Helmet?......i have gay friends but there Nothing like these Idots who complain about EVERYTHING... and yes they do eat at Chic Fila.....so those Who complain,,,please complain some more...

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

      Rainbow NASCAR: Jeff Gordon. Rainbow Football Helmet: Hawaii's "Rainbow Warriors".

      I guess there is.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lobster

      we will not only complain (because complying leeds you nowhere), but will boycott and campaign against them, all within our rights, and you can't do jack about it.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JeffS

    How is this racist or bogted or inciting hatred? They're not syaing they won't hire, or serve food to, or deny service to anyone. The guy is stating his belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. This country, and ALL of its citizens, need to learn and understand that people have different opinions and that differences are a good thing. And those people that don't agree with your opinion are NOT racist, or bigots, or hate mongers. You know that they are??? People!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shari Spence

    Why is it, that if I believe marriage is as the Bible states, I am a hate monger? I never said I hated anyone, I only stated that I believe the Bibles definition of marriage to be the one that I agree with. Never was it stated that Chick-fil-a HATED anyone, they just have a different opinion than that of the Gay population – If I disagree with someone, it does not mean I hate them, it only means I have a difference of opinion. When did a difference of opinion become hate mongering? there is opposition in all things in life – opposition does not equal hate, it only equals a difference of opinion, and every American has a right to their opinion.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      Well said!! Amen sister!!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cliff

    I love it. I will start patronizing their establishment!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
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