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. GonzoG

    Chik-Fil-A has the right to take what ever stance it wishes. In this particular case, I will support their right to speak their mind–and I will take my business across the street to Popeye's, KFC, and BoJangles'.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3N1Amen

      Ewww...nasty food!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PHinMiami

    Chick-fil-A, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." -Matthew 7:1
    .
    'Selective Christianity' at work here, or just plain 'phony' Christians.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're stupid

      Thanks for quoting scripture. However, you chose the wrong one. Are they judging if the bible also states a man shall not lay down with another man? I'd say it's more believing the bible and their religion and less of being judgemental.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      The meaning of that verse is to not judge others by a standard that you would not want to be judged by.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      It also says not to eat shellfish. Why aren't you out picketing Red Lobster? Oh yeah, I forgot – the bible's a smorgasbord. You only take what you want.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. khamsomphoui

    edwardo69 let it go... Mike doesn't want to talk to you. He knows you are gay. So go take a cold shower and get rid of some of your filthyness

    July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lance

    "... in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators."

    Key point to remember - when you think you are punishing Chick-Fil-A, you are punishing the franchisee and THEIR employees, too.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JL

    I think most people know who the real bigots and bullys are. Verbally abusing and boycotting a restaurant that you admittedly enjoy just because they do not have exactly the same beliefs as you.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • irufus

      That's basic free speech. If said CEO has the right to bash gay marriage then we have the right to bash Chik-Fil-A

      July 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj90210

      While I do not support verbally abusing any establishment, I reserve the right not to spend my hard earned money at a company which turns around and donates it to causes that hurt my and my LGBT family...

      July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveGuy

      Michael Cole-Schwartz (second to last paragraph of the article) is a just typical one-issue liberal, calling the company "openly discriminatory", and "stuck in the past". Mikey, try to understand the comments that Mr. Cathy made, if you are able. First, he did NOT say anything about discriminating against anyone in any way, rather he merely had the b@lls to express his opinion in an honest way, I.e. not pandering to you for the sake of not wanting to potentially alienate customers. Second, "stuck in the past" is nothing more than Mikey's viewpoint. Many would argue that Mikey is advocating something that is not, and never will be, socially acceptable to a large percentage of the population. Just because Mikey wants his group's point of view to appear to be completely mainstream does not mean that it is. How gullible do you think people are that we can't see through your whining little tirade??? Sounds like YOU are the bigot, Mikey!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marc Davis

    Last time I checked, we still had freedom of religion in America. It is not hate to express your religious beliefs. Each person must make the decision if there is a God or not and then whom they will serve. Remember, the Company has never been found to treat a customer with anger or rudeness for their religious beliefs. So, make your decision about what you believe, and if you believe it you will share it with others. If you are not willing to share it, then you must not really believer in the belief. Also, lately in the news are stories of people killing Christians not Christians killing non-christians. Think about who the hate mongers and mean people really are.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • smitvict

      The hate mongers are the Chics. Gays don't give a damn about their chicken, but the evangelicals certainly go out of their way to hate the gays.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    I love it that they stand behind their values on true marriage. I will continue to back Chick-fil-a. It is nice to see a company stand up for the truth. They are not spewing hate, just stating the facts. Animals were made male and female for a reason. I don't hate anyone. I have known gay people over the years. I don't hate them, I just don't approve of their lifestyle.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • cubie

      animals don't get married

      July 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj90210

      Uh, last time I checked the world population of humans was not in jeopardy. When will you breeders finally take responsibility for your actions and let the LGBT community, most of whom do not contribute to the over population problem, live in peace and with equal rights?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveGuy

      It's amazing to me how many people are accusing Chick-fil-A of hate mongering. There is nothing whatsoever in the interview with their CEO that intimates hate. Mr. Cathy simply states that he supports the traditional family structure, and not gay marriage. That is his opinion, and it is his right. I happen to feel the same way, although that absolutely does not mean I hate gays. I have gay friends and business associates, and we may agree to disagree on this topic, but it's no different than a friends who are members of different political parties agreeing to disagree on their political viewpoints. Nowhere is HATE implied here, and it's a pity that many people do not seem to be able to discern the difference between not agreeing on an issue versus outright hatred. Seems to me that most of the bigotry is coming from the "gay camp", in being intolerant of those who disagree with their viewpoints, as exemplified in all of the mean-spirited comments directed at Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sierra79

    The fact is they are a private company, and as long as they serve 'everyone' in an equal manner at their restaurants, I don't care what their personal philosophy is. You have to respect them for closing on Sundays. Also, their customer service, cleanliness, and food quality, is second to none.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. khamsomphoui

    I rather die of a heart attack, then of AIDS.

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

      if yoo caitnt spel, haw kin i respeck yoor opinoon, sweathart? i wood rather bee gay than dum.

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

      Lets hope you do......... SOON!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj90210

      Well, if you are str8 and live and Africa, your chances of dying of AIDS are much higher than dying of a heart attack! What an ingorant comment!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    Did Chick-fil-a hurt some people's opinions? Well I think anyone who admires Gay couples offends me...does that mean they hate me for it? Get over it! My opinion can offend everyone..I don't care if your feelings are hurt. I will visit their establishment more often!!

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

      Hey Rick – redneck illiterates offend ME...... so – we are even!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joshu

    I personally disagree with chick-fil-a's stance on gay marriage but I don't think it's a hate tirade. People are blowing this completely out of proportion and that is fault with the growing gap between liberals and conservatives(I'm liberal but I'm willing to work with both sides) Both sides are guilty of this partisan bs screwing with the country, however I do think the republicans(I'm looking at you tea party) are most guilty and instigated this mess. That aside I'll continue to eat from chick-fil-a because the food is excellent.

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

      "Dave

      The biblical definition of the family unit? Which one...polygamy? or daughters getting their father drunk and seducing him? Or St. Paul, who was not a fan of marriage in general?"

      Out of context much?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. indorri

    I love all the comments accusing marriage equality advocates of being "bullies" and "bigoted" because we react to the official proclamation of behind the ACTIONS (y'know, that thing the anti-gay side always harp on about) of the company.

    Like we're the ones donating money to campaigns and organizations ensure Christians or Chik-Fil-A patrons can't marry their preferred partners.

    Deceivers and hypocrites, the lot of you.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Johnny L

    43 States do not allow gay marriage, and the law of the federal govenrment (DOMA) also prohibits it. So why so much ire at a company which is in line with the majority of the governments of the nation. They follow all the anti-discrimination laws of the land, so where is the hate? Bob's comment at 12:25 Pm is right on.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SPW

    I will continue to eat Chick-fil-a. The have a right to their beliefs and if you don't want to eat their chicken over it, that's fine.

    I'm not a Christian, I don't hate gays and I very much support a change in our marriage laws.

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

      you are not a christian..... just a PIG .........LOL

      July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jared

    It concerns me that so many people want to flip the "hate" switch when there's a disagreement in views. I can disagree with someone and not hate them. The people who are so quick to shout "hate" at everything in disagreement with them needs to take a time-out and truly examine the situation.

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