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. 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?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Johnyy Pal

    obama has been against gay marriage for his entire life until 2 months ago, yet not a peep from you complainers.

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

      Strange because I voted for Obama in 2008 based on his openess towards gay rights. I must also mention that he openly supported gay rights in the past in various ways prior to becoming a senator. What Im saying here is you really dont' have a clue what you are talking about.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ChickenOfHate

    I guess it will be good for our obesity epidemic if the church people start eating grilled chicken...even if their motivation is hate and intolerance.

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

    As shame to think of all those millions sent to "pro-family" organizations (whatever the heck that even means) instead of someything that could, oh I dunno, actually be HELPING people.

    And they dare call themselves Christian...unbelievable.

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

    I stand by Chick-fil-A!!! We recently stood our ground on this topic and the Presbyterian (USA) took everything away from us. It's a matter of principle and not accepting everything going on in the world. Good for you Mr. Cathy!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Johnyy Pal

    people are getting dumber by the day.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ahh..DUH

      wish there were like buttons on this bulletin board... lol

      July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rdiviaio

    This is no secret, everyone knew where they stood. They have always been a very christian organization whose beliefs come from the Bible. Why is it such a big problem now??? Every other religious denomination gets to base their beliefs on their book and we have no problem with it and make all kinds of exceptions for them. For some reason Bible believing christians don't get the same courtesy?

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

      Nobody's saying you don't have the right to run or own an organization which espouses selective Zealot Christian ideals. What people are trying to say is it is un-American to do it ,since this country was founded on freedom and the recognition of all faiths/beliefs/lifestyles could contribute economically to make a better society where all men had equal rights and a voice in government. Chik Fil A is just another corporation with a political agenda to imprison American's with laws that suspend equal rights to other tax paying citizens because they do not believe the same thing. This is why our wise founding fathers tried to leave Religion out of politics. They were hero's Baptists are 0's in that respect.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wondering

    I am just wondering why those who follow the bible judge others, even though it states that people are not to judge. And yet Christians still judge. And why not let others do what they will it hurts no one else.

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

      you dont judge people you judge sin,where would we be as a society if there were no moral code to fallow.we would have to allow everyone to do any sick thing they want to do..you okay with that?you got children?"

      July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      No, Maria. I'm not ok with the assumption that morals are something that can be defined for everyone by YOUR religious beliefs. I'm not ok with denying a segment of our population the right to marry the consenting adult they love because it makes you and your ilk squeamish. I don't have children and I'm hoping against hope that you don't either.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ahh..DUH

    Come on people...now it's a hate crime to have a point of view? OH no!...now, I'm a hater cause i didn't agree with someone that has a point of view contrary to mine....oh my! better arrest me...doubt anyone would have a problem with a muslin family business only selling to men and excluding any woman who had an opinion...oh no...I made a joke...I must be a hater...I am bad... Oh, oh...i bet you could have a problem with the word "Chick" in their name too! I mean isn't that a derogatory word for a woman? We should get mad, should we? Get a life people! Isn't there something more important in your lives? YOU CAN HAVE ALL MY MONEY CHICK FIL A...Where do i send the check.

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

      It's not the expressing of the opinion that's an issue. It's the millions of dollars spent on advocacy against equal rights that's an issue.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ahh..DUH

      So then where's the line between equal rights and being able to run a business with personal morals. You don't have to give them your business. Yelling at them and calling them haters doesn't make you any less of one. The only way to fix what people call hate is to put into a law that says that no one can have a personal moral so that everyone can be happy. That's impossible without a communist governmental control. Do you guys really even know what you are asking for when you complain about this "Hate" issue? Give it up...you can't control everyone...unless of course you're trying to be Hitler.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I feel like a broken record here but... if you don't agree with the company, don't buy their products. simple problem, simple solution. If you are that concerned with what some far away exec thinks about, or spends the companies profits on, then just don't buy the chicken. I can assure you the kid behind the counter and the people you interact with in the restaurant couldn't care less.

      That being said, if you do decide to boycott chick fil a because of the religious beliefs of the founders, please continue to shop at walmart which outsources american jobs and likely supports child labor.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ChickenOfHate

    The real irony here is that it tends to be liberal minded people who eat healthier and spend more money. I suspect this isn't the greatest marketing ploy.

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

    I'm glad,I will always go to Chick-fil-A....they have standards and values....The rest of USA needs to get some too

    July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Low standards and low values.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tom

    Christians are again being persecuted, this time by progressives!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      I think you're mistaking "not always getting your way on everything" with "persecution". Just sayin

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Christianity as victim is not at all believable. That chik won't fly.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike


      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Derek

    There's a difference between having a spiritual backbone and bigotry. Are there not any other Christian organizations those donations would have been better suited for?

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

    The mere goal of avoiding being offensive to anyone by being pollitically correct is in and of itself offensive.

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

    It will be fun to go by and watch all the overweight, bible-thumpers devouring their chicken. At least when they have their mouths full they can't be preaching their hate. 😛

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

      Sounds like you are intolerant to me Gayman.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      @ Mike I believe Gayman was singling out your "Hate filled Bible" not you personnally. Beleive it or not the rest of the country looks at you as a Man/Citizen first then eventually your religion is recognized only as a small part of who you are because frankly most of us don't care you are free to believe what you want untill your leaders push your crap on others and now you have capitalist creeps reaching out with their companies to push your agenda as well. So really it is not you, it's your hateful and intolerant doctrine we dont really care for. Your probably a nice guy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
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