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. Nate H

    Is Chick-Fil-A just philosophically against gays, or do they refuse to hire them? Because if it's just their beliefs, then who cares? It's bigotry and prejudice plain and simple, but it's America and they have the right to believe that as long as they don't hurt others. If they refuse to hire gays or discriminate against gays that work for them, well that's against the law (and I bet there are gay people who work there and poor Cathy has no idea). Society is becoming more and more accepting, so he'll feel pretty bad in ten years when people equate him with racist hold-overs from before civil rights.

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

    Who's up for an sit in to protest? Wear your best chaps and nothing else.

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

    I support the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

    I guess I hate and I'm a bigot, if that's what the worlds definition of "hatred" and "bigoted" is.

    Personally I call it love. Love isn't telling someone how good they are. It's telling them the truth.

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

    I am totally amazed how this is construed into hate speech. Just beyond belief to me. Apparently you have to support something and if you don't, then you are a hater. So if I don't support communism I hate all communists? This is the logic, and it isn't logical at all. Totally emotional responses not based on an objective viewpoint on what this person had to say.

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

      Bob you are surprised by this from Americans?

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

      It's not that Chick-fil-A doesn't support gay marriage. It's that they donate millions of dollars to groups who actively pursue to take away our rights. It's understandable that we do not our own money to be used to attack our own rights. There are other chicken joints in the world and we have a right to make an INFORMED decision about which ones we patronize.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deenie

      Wunderland...I am in total agreement with you!!! I didn't see any evidence of hate in their response either. I think that it is wonderful that they spoke what they believe and sticking by it no matter what others think!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bruno

    Who's up for an as-sless sit in to protest? Wear your best chaps and nothing else.

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

    Chik-Fil-A!! Yay!! My love for this company and their products has just tripled. I've always loved their chicken. I was always bummed yet respected them for closing on Sundays. Even though I'm a foxhole christian and don't practice any particular religion, I do wholly believe that marriage is between a man and woman. I also love the Boy Scouts. Stand up for what you believe!

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

      a christian who likes going into the woods with little boys. go figure.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jenkoosh

    Love his "devotion" to "the biblical definition of a family unit." Usually, that involved polygamy. Way to go, Dan.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. carl47

    To All you a s s holes outthere who are saying i will never go back,don't they will not miss you,and their bussines will pick up

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

      you have never been know to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary

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

      you have never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary

      July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason Robert

    The Pro-Gay movement is become so ridiculous now. This AIDS thing is not working fast enough.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey, there!

      I'm anti-Jason Robert. When will you go??

      July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MasterWooten

    I will dine at Chick Fil A at every chance I get.

    It is now MY restaurant!

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

      great, so all the anti-gay folks with have heart attacks at an early age and the issue resolves itself...

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

      will have

      July 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sck

    Crap food and crap, bigoted beliefs. Two reasons which are good enough on their own to have me never going there.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're stupid

      Why is it if someone doesn't agree with you they are a bigot but you clearly don't agree with their stance and you feel that makes you right? Seriously, time to be an adult and realize we wont always agree and that is perfectly fine and healthy in a society.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      If i believe that a donkey should not bang a horse, does that make me bigoted no. Looks like you are the bigot here.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohhh,,,so tired !

      How are they bigoted? No body says to have to like everything !

      July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alex_Paxton

    Fine. If one doesn't agree with Chic-uh-Fill-ay's position on "family values," fine. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head saying they have to eat there. We got bigger fish to fry in American society, today. This is totally stoooopid.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Spring, Texas

    I will always be a customer of Chick-fil-A. I support their stance. Just ate lunch their now I feel the need to go back. 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. atx

    Disagreement does not equal hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      No, but spending boatloads of money on advocacy sure does.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MasterWooten

      To militant fundamentalists it does and that is the only way to describe the pro-gay movement in the western world. For them its their way or your Hitler. The gays are a powerful militant group partially because unlike blacks, native americans or illegal immigrants from Mexico, gays are usually white American born men who like most white middle or upperclass Americans have aenough resources to influence media, courts, government to give them what they want when they act up.

      Imagine blacks or Mexican ilegals had money, white skin, no immigration problems and were likely to be close friends, even family members of members of the American power structure? Blacks and Mexicans would have long since "Overcome" whatever difficultiies with acceptance they had in America.

      This is why I consider the struggle for "gay equality" to be a sick joke when referencing REAL struggles for justice and equality in America. Gay Americans generally don't live in slums were never slaves or segregated and are unlikely to be deported to a third world country.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      And gays do not spend on advocacy? your point.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dplandry

    It's a Christian and family run private organization and they believe that marriage is between a man and a woman as it should be. It's not hate, it's the truth.

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