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. JP

    It's like the race card. Whenever you don't agree with someone, call them a bigot. That'll get the support you wish for.


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

    I stand behind Chic – fil – A's stance. Don't try to bring God down to your level. Love the person, but hate the sin. One man, one woman.

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

      You and others that think like you are what is wrong in this world. It may not be your personal choice but who are you to push your views on others!! You make me sick!!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sck

      Don't lie to me and tell me you "love the person, hate the sin." God commanded against lying, so don't try to bring God down to your level. Just say "I think gay people are icky and love the taste of inhumanely raised and slaughtered chicken" and be honest about it.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      If there was a God, he would be a sick individual indeed according to you. What sort of monster would make love a sin?

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

    People keep talking about Chick-fil-A forcing their beliefs on everyone. Where is that in the article. He just stated his belief. What's wrong with that. He's not telling everyone else to believe like that. He's not discriminating by not letting gays eat there. He's not telling gays that they don't have the right to feel how they feel. It's not like people eating there hate gays either. If you don't like just don't eat their. Get over it.

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

      reality is that it is an attack on the Bible. I know, I know, Thou shalt not kill, steal and commit adultery is so passe. You are spot on right.....he is saying what he believes in and denying no one anything. Nice comment.

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

      A radical christian is a christian that plots terrorist bombing attacks against LGBTs

      July 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danielcrew

      I agree with this. So the guy said what he believes – you're allowed to do that in America. He didn't say gays can't eat there, and he didn't say if you don't believe what he thinks, then you can't eat there. I don't agree with what he says, but it won't stop me from eating there.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mac

    I quit eating there 2 years ago. I dont support radical Christians anymore than I support radical Muslims.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnyy Pal

      What's a "radical" Christian?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • CandeeBR

      Hate to say it but, I have more fear of a radical Christian than a redical Muslim. I have never eaten in one of their restaurants and now I never will.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AM

    Why is everyone that is not FOR gay marriage accused of HATE??? Does everyone not have the right to their own beliefs and values without being accused of the terrible things I've read so far??? I can assure you, Chickfila is not about HATE. But some of the reactions I've seen & read so far toward Chicfila are...

    July 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ohhh,,,so tired !

    I think the chicken will taste the same.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken


    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

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

      so glad we dont live in a theocracy... or do we?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rwroten

    Come on folks. This is not a hate thing just a statement of one's values. Since when has tolerance meant agreeing with everyone's values. Tolerance is respecting others whose values are different than your own. Non-agreement is not hate. Chic-filet is not hateful and they were quick to clarify that with the statement that followed. The many responses to this whole matter has been hateful and shows that many Americans aren't very tolerant.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vic Christian

    Beleiving that a specific action is sin does not indicated hatred or bigotry. If that was the case, we as Christians would hate everyone that gets angry, lusts, lies, is lazy, drinks, commits adutry, etc. That would include everyone including ourselves. It seems that the only hatred I see is against Chrstians. Read the comments!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Awakenevil

    FAP FAP FAP – Who cares honestly. if they dont like gays, and you are gay, dont buy there. Simple as that. The whole GLBT community needs to really stop acting like they dont promote hate and crying that they want to be equal with everyone when they always have to have it there way or the highway.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fidgetwidget

    Chick-fil-A is now at the top of my fast food list. Why? Because they have decided to stand by their beliefs rather than cave to political correctness. And before you fly off the handle, think about this: If the owners of this company said that driving Fords was against their beliefs and that they were going to continue to drive Chevys, would there be an outcry? Probably not. I approve the owners' lack of hypocrisy. Chick-fil-A for dinner tonight...

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

    It is amazing that we are supposed to set aside our religious convictions and vote for someone based on their track record, not their faith, and yet people can't just eat good food despite the faith of the owners. Guess this "ignore the religion" thing only works when it is convenient for YOUR beliefs. Can anyone say double standard?

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

    OK, what is the problem. I have a lot of gay friends and a brother who is gay. Why can't that owner belive in his own religion. He did not give any one any hate. He just said what he and his company belive. The gays belive they should be able to marry a man and the christians belive they should not. I truely don't understand all this hate about it. Should we all change our beliefs because of what the gay people want? I don't belive in gay marrige but I also don't care if you do. I should be able to belive in what I belive. That is not hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JC

    What storm? Where? Why? Because a company finally has taken a public stand on something and stood by it regardless of public opinion? Bravo. I have never eaten here but will now if for no other reason than my respect for standing by their position. If you disagree with it...don't eat there. But, it is there right...just like the singer from the Dixie Chicks....she took a stand and it cost them big time...but I respect her right to take whatever stand she wants.

    Reality is not everyone is going to agree with everything from everyone....stop being silly. I don't see a lot of Muslims hanging at the local Catholic Church nor black people hanging at the local KKK meeting....isn't that part of what makes the U.S. great? We can believe what we want to and somehow make it work?

    Ever wonder if the reason it seems to work less and less is because actually being allowed to believe what you want to believe is far less acceptable than it was at the time of the Founding Fathers?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. greg

    They are free to be bigoted. I'm free to not go there. It's bad for your health anyway.
    Interesting that they owners think it's moral to be against loving relationships but it's ok to serve fried food. I'm sure they are against the health care law as well though anyone who goes to CF will certaintly need it.

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