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. jazger

    ooo. loks like i'm haveing Chick-fil-As for lunch to day... yum!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Eddie

    I am a Christian and Chick-fil-A definitely does not meet with MY approval, because I find their embrace of hatred and discrimination to be immoral. I would never patronize a company run by such ignorant, judgmental people who use the Bible to further their dislike of gay people.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      then stay the hell away

      July 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott B

    I've been boycotting them for quite a while over this. I have no problem with them having whatever beliefs they want, but when my money is being used to discriminate against a group of people, that crosses a line.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Susan

    Kudos and thank-you to ChickK-Fil A for standing strong for Christian moral standards!! This country needs many more like you who are not ashamed or afraid to take this stance. We have always loved & patronized your business and will continue to do so!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ginger

    I stand by Chick-Fil-A. When Mr. Cathy expressed his beliefs and the beliefs the company is founded on, he did not bash gays or say something that was hateful. I believe as Mr. Cathy does that God created marriage to be between a man and woman. I have gay friends and it is not for me to judge them. I love them and see them as Christ does. Just because I believe something someone does is wrong does not mean I hate the person. I believe lots of things people do are wrong like gossping, lying, sleeping around etc but I accept people for who they are and love them. Differences of opinions will always exist when it comes to morality issues because we all use different standards to go by.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sam

    I love the fact that a big company isn't afraid to stand their ground for something they believe in. Wether you agree with the bible or not, there comes a time when you have to stand firm for what you believe is MORAL, and personally I have to agree with the CEO.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      And what if your moral code runs over the feet of someone else that just wants equality in society. What then? Because that's exactly what we're talking about here

      July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. babs

    @ novak:
    "Libs are tearing this country apart"? really? "christians" are the ones that want everyone seperated.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Zeke83

      Sorry babs, but your wrong. We don't want to separate everyone, only men from other men.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      That's about the size of it

      July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Teacher1

    I am a Christian and I have gay/lesbian friends. I do not agree with what they are doing, but I still love them even if they believe that way. However, I see nothing wrong with Chick-Fil-A closing on Sunday; nothing wrong with the CEO stating their mission statement and beliefs. If someone disagrees and decides not to patronize the restaurant, that's their business. If I want to continue eating there, that's my business. If a gay/lesbian restaurant CEO proclaimed they stood for that and stated that in a gay/lesbian press release, I might decide not to patronize that restaurant. That again would be my preference and this IS a free country. We need to respect each other's preferences, no matter if it's pro or con for something different of our beliefs. Respect Don Cathy's statement and if you want to take your business elsewhere, so be it. It doesn't make him a 'hater' just because he has a different opinion; it's just his belief. Respect others' beliefs.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Exactly! He has a right, he is within the law, yet so many people seem to want to violate the rights for which this nation was founded.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ELJames

      What if they decided they had a problem with African-Americans...Hispanics...Asians, etc.? The Bible does condone salvery in both the Old and New Testaments. Freedmom of Speech is great as long as that speech agrees with your beliefs. In a just society there can be no place for ignorance and prejudice. And please, do not give spout "love the sinner but not the sin!" How hypocritical. I must beleive that this eating establishement would not turn down the money from a gay customer...right?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Nobody ever said they couldn't take that stance. Just like everyone else has the right to call them out for being bigots. That's how freedom of speech works. Your freedom of religion stops when you start trampling on other people's rights.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You can't say they're your friends if you don't support them. I hope your gay friends don't read that because they won't be your friends for long. But I'm guessing you don't have any friends that are gay.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alan Cohan

    I agree that Chick Fil-A and its ownership have the right to back their religious ideals. I also believe that I have the right not to shop there if I disagree with them. I would guess that Mr. Cathy believes that Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc, are
    going to go to hell with the gay members of America. If you don't support his extremist Christain believes don't spend your money there. Boycot Chick Fil-A


    July 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Alan – why do you call a person who believes differently from you an 'extremist'? He is not espousing blowing things up, killing people over faith issues, or even standing on street corners shouting out Bible versus? He is simply stating what he and his wife believes in and what he values. He offers employment to people who share his beliefs and has plenty of people who want to work with his company because they are like minded believers. You're welcome to open up a store, hire who you want, as long as you don't violate laws because we live in America.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      boycot all you you want

      July 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk


      July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lisa

    Why is it okay for people to speak their mind in support of gay marriage, but not okay for those who are against it to speak theirs? Just as everyone feels that us Christians are forcing our beliefs on non-believers, the supporters of gay marriage are doing the same thing! The judgement is only for God to do, not any human. As a Christian I love veryone, gay or straight, but that doesn't mean I support gay marriage. Can't we agree to disagree as we do with so many other topics?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • cleekk

      Well stated....

      July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      That would be fine, but then some people want to pass laws banning gay marriage. That is not agreeing to disagree.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neil


      July 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Lisa – What you don't understand is that the LGBT community Understand that not everyone will be for gay marriage. We understand you have the right to have your own opinion. But our problem is, you don't have an opinion. You stand behind a flawed book of beliefs because your brainwashed in believing that is what is right. Have a real opinion.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Louise

    I vote with my wallet. I do not go to Chick-fil-A nor will I eat it if it is brought into a meeting. This has been my policy for as long as they have been in my area. I am a Christian and my read of the bible is very different than theirs.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      And that's great! It's your choice. Just as it's his choice and his wife's choice what they believe! This is a private business not a Country Club, Boy Scout troop, or federal agency. Patronize whatever business you want to. Vote with your dollars. This company won't last more than a year or two based on their philosophy.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      you have the wrong bible than

      July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DB Cooper

    Really? This is what Chick-Fil-A is concerned about? They serve garbage, just like their politics. Keep serving your garbage and keep your nose out of politics!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      This is not what they are concerned about, this is what the media asked the owner about and he stated what he and his wife believe.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kayla

    God Bless Chick-fil-A for standing strong on their beliefs!! My family and I will always support them! A family starts by a man and a woman.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      There is no god. At least not as you want to define it

      July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. grammarsoft

    This is awesome! I can respect their principles. Hopefully the lines will be a lot shorter...

    July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      I don't think so

      July 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Then you're as discriminating as the owners

      July 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NoName

    Chik-Fil-A doesn't serve family values – they serve fast food, deep-fried chicken, nothing could be further from a "family value" than that. Does Walmart serve communism because everything in their store is made in China? This is called a marketing campaign, not a social policy, probably because their sales are slipping and they needed some kind of buzz. Regardless of my opinion on gay marriage, when a company asks me to stand by their beliefs by spending money at their establishment my response is no because fundamentally Chik-Fil-A doesn't represent the whole of my belief structure, my belief's are more complicated that for or against gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
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