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. Mark

    The only hate I see is from the Gay community. You hate someone because they simply disagree with you.
    The rest of will support God and Chick-fil-A.

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

    Should christians be bullied into hiding their beleifs? It sounds like the pro-gay marriage crowd could be accurately defined as a hate monger and intolerant group to me.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    While it is their right as an American company to support whatever organizations or beliefs I can not understand why they would alienate any group that would be a potential customer. I am not a flag waving advocate for gay marriage however the roots seem to dig deeper here...supporting organizations that preach hate against the LGBT community. While I'm sure the location in Topeka, KS is booming with business from Westboro Baptist I can no longer in good conscience support them and their "not so" hidden agenda.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pastor Evans

    Keep standing Chick-fil-a!!! Praise the Lord!!! No matter what people say, God will bless you for honoring Him and not compromising for people!!! Man of God!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ChickenOfHate

    I haven't bought from them in years because of their intolerance. Folks – speak up with your wallets if you are against hate, bigotry, and intolerance.

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

      Is it intolerance bacause thay don't agree with you? Sounds like you are intolerant.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. onedownzero

    Hmm. No middle ground here, eh? It's either support gay marriage or you're a hate mongering bigot? This kind of vitriol is why nothing substantive gets solved in this country. Everyone's too worried about putting down and demonizing those they disagree with instead of engaging in meaningful conversation.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rojier

    Way to Go Chick!.. Go have a burger king whopper you left wing nuts!

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

    Why is it if I don't support gay marriage I'm prejudice and people who don't support traditional biblical marriage aren't prejudice? I support people and I believe the bible to be absolute truth. It's a pleasure to see a company that is willing to stand on it's own beliefs no matter what adversity it brings. Thank you Chick-Fil-A.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. world upside down

    How dare you oppose anything and choose other than what you are supposed to support. Why you are so un-American and oppose the grain in which you are programmed to follow. If you don't agree then you must be the enemy. If you are against then you are a hateful person and any new name that can be mustered. One can wonder which majority is actually the haters here. And wonder where are the closed minds now. Threats do not change minds. Boycott all you want. I don't like to stand in lines anyway.

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

      What a damned deceitful strawman.

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

      It is now time for lunch and Chick-Fil-A is now my #1 place to eat!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will

    Chick-fil-a serves trashy southern food to southern trash, so they're just reflecting the values of their customer base. Let them have it.

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

      Awesome statement will...NOT. I guess where ever it is you are...you think you are all that...Nothing but an elitist loser

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbie Williams

      Apparently you are just jealous cause there's NO Chick Fil As up north... HA HA HA HA Ha

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lala

      Ironic you must make a slur yourself in your hate-filled rant. but you don't sound too intelligent.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      Wow. . . lol

      July 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cajunman

      Name calling? really?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • besty

      iam not trash my children are not trash maybe you are for saying something like this. not everyone agrees with what he said and its not right for you to say people are trash because they eat at chick fil a. my husband puts his life on the line everday in afganistan so you can be free. and say stupid stuff like this.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      When Southerners call people "elitists", it's coded speak for "U GOTS LOTS' OF FANCY YANKEE BOOK LERNIN"

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Name*robert

    Its about time a major beloved firm takes the right position. Thanks, Dan, the reality is the majority is with you.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      Actually, according to recent polls, the majority of Americans do not agree. I don't think it's much of a gamble, though. I'm guessing the vast majority of Chick-Fil-A customers zealously support this position

      July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hate?? Really?

    I find it amusing that Cathy spoke about his belief and now all of a sudden he is a "hater"!!?? Really? So if I disagree with you then that makes me a hater...what sense does that make? Did you people even read the article/interview? If you believe that article was all about hate then we weren't reading the same thing!!!!!

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

      It's not a problem when you disagree. But when you start spending boatloads of money and advocating to deny the people you disagree with their basic rights, THEN it's a problem.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Name*Larry

    I will buy more because you have a right to your beliefs. Gays do 'at want others to have opinions different fr theirs

    July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Funny how some who claim to be tolerant are viscious when people don't agree with them. Good for Chick-Fil-A for standing by their beliefs. And for the record, being gay is NOT the norm. Stop thowing it in our faces that is is. It's accepted, but is not now, and not ever will be the norm. Like religion, if you are happy with your lifestyle...good for you, that's what America is about....stop trying to persuade the rest of us it is the natural way of things

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

      FYI: there's no such thing as "normal". You FAIL!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Binoy Thomas

    There is nothing wrong what cathy said. He is standing up for his beliefs. May God Bless his Family and Chick Fila. I will always support and promote this company

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