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. Jack M.

    I love how gays are always throwing out the hate word. I heading out to Chick-fil-a to get me a delicious chicken sandwich. You gays keep hatin'!

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

      some str8 people seem to be very threatened by gays. hmm...wonder what that's all about? hehehe!

      can u post some more bitter stuff on here, my little angry sweetie?! the more...the better : )

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. anon

    I'm fascinated by the Chik-Fil-A supporters who say those who now plan to boycott the business are hateful bigots. . . so I guess you weren't among the "traditional family" crowd that were calling for a boycott of Oreo a few weeks back when they posted the rainbow cookie? Ah, hypocrisy. . . .

    July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. redrocksne

    I hope they go under....there's a lot of us that luv chicken!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lmpc

    I respected Chick-fil-A's Christian policies in terms of how it treats its employees but now that they have offered up their philosophy about gay marriage, it appears that they don't practice the "love thy neighbor as thyself" philosophy that I believe Jesus preached. I along with others, will no longer patronize this company now. Can't support a company that doesn't understand we are ALL God's children.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 3N1Amen

    nteresting how you can comment on something you don't know ...if you've never visited one! I can guarantee you that it will be one of your best FAST food restaurant experiences! Have you EVER been to any fast food restaurant where a server comes by your table asking you for a refill??? Very clean. When they say..."my pleasure" when you thank them...they mean it!!!
    Try it...you will like it! No one mentions God when you visit. They don't have to...you can feel the love of God already in that place!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Adam

    You have to do more than disagree with someone for it to be called discriminatory. Or else why wouldn't the gay community be guilty of the same thing?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're stupid

      Adam, there are people that don't see down a 2 way street. Many in the gay community feel that those that don't agree with them are bigots and intolerant. But in return they don't agree with the others beliefs but instead of that making them bigots and intolerant, it still makes those that don't agree with them the bigots. They want everyone to be accepting of it or they are intolerant. To put it simply, they are right and if you don't agree with them you are wrong.

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

      I'd say that spending boatloads of cash advocating against equality counts as "more than disagree with someone", wouldn't you?

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

      Yes, they have done more. They and their kind have elected a parade of anti-gay politicians to stop avenues of dissent, thwart life-changing military opportunities and demean this subgroup as much as possible. Their America looks different than the promised America that we all learned about in the 7th grade.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sheila

    We all have to stand before God one day, so please make sure that you believe with all of your heart that Jesus Christ is your Messiah. If you don't believe you may not like the outcome.

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

      no. no we won't. stop believing a silly book

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

      What if Islam is the right religion after all? They certainly have the majority on this planet. Oooops.......

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      How do you know that? Did someone come back from the dead and give you and update?

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

      So the reason to become a Christian is to avoid going to hell? Sounds pretty selfish to me....

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

      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
      - Stephen Roberts

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HB

    Bummer. I really like CFA, but this does them in for me. Christians don't own marriage; it is absurd to think they do.

    CFA...you are fired.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're stupid

      Christians don't claim to own marriage. They believe in a religion that has existed long before you or anyone in your ancestry have been around. They have every right to believe it's wrong just as you have every right to believe it's right. Grow up and stop your crying that you aren't getting everything you want. If you don't like their stance, don't eat in there. Regardless, you don't have a say in what they believe in.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ChickenOfHate

    Can I have a hate burger to go with my bigot fries?

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

      How is this hate? You can still eat there if you want. Service will not be refused to anyone.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jenn

    I find it funny that everyone is saying this company is discriminating against people who are gay, that Im aware of, they serve food to everyone and what was said was just an opinion. That is not discrimination. I dont understand how people get so upset about an opinion, there is not one single person in this world who has not voiced an opinion about another person, so would that mean your filled with hate? People need to think about what discrimination and hate really me before blowing someones comment out of proportion.

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

    freedom of speech is not an act of hate. whenever I feel liking eating from Chik-fil-a, I will do just that.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dawn

    Just as Chick-fil-A has a right to use its money and influence to espouse the beliefs of its leadership, I have the right to withhold my patronage from a company whose beliefs are founded in ignorance and bigotry.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chad W

    So Ben and Jerrys expresses beliefs and it is fine, but when a Christian business does it.. NO WAY!!! Talk about a double standard!! I have a choice what ice cream to eat and I have a choice on fast food. Something tells me that both of these companies will be fine. Grow up people.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • scavok1

      Please show me where Ben & Jerry have donated to deny civil and legal rights to a group of people. That is what Chik Fil A did.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Danno

    Their chicken sucks. That's a more important reason not to go there.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MacK

    Chick Fil A is free to believe whatever they want,just as I am free to NEVER buy from them again.

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