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. Rhonda L

    It amazes me that people would get upset and threaten not eat Chick–Fil-A because they have stood up for their beliefs on traditional marriage, but deem it okay for all taxpayer money to pay for abortions and keep silent.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debbie Williams

    If Chick Fil A was a muslim outfit, would we even be having this discussion???? NOOOOO cause apparently, everyone is afraid of Muslim bashing. Get a life! I won't stop eating Chick Fil A. And anybody who likes the best sandwich ever created, shouldn't quit either. What a joke of a story. Get some better news.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      That's the best sandwich ever created? Darling, you really need to get out more.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HaveSomeTea

    Dear Chick-fil-A,

    Thanks for hating gay people and thanks for helping fatten up America. You do this country a double disservice.

    Dear America,

    Thanks for jumping on the Christian bandwagon, getting fat and dying early.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • John L.

      Oh please, where do you see this evidence of hate? Just because you don't really agree with something or prefer the other doesn't automatically mean that hate is involved. He was just stating his beliefs. I don't see why so many people are angry about this, he didn't go out saying anything hatefor or derogatory about gays.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John Schaeffer

    Good for Chick-Fil-A; its about time someone expressed their opinion and not be afraid of all this political correctness crap. I will be going there more often now.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill Henry

    Thank you Chic-filet for standing up for our beliefs. I wish there were more companies in the world like this. We have lost all morals in our society and need to get back to the word of the Lord

    July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jon O

    They can support whoever they want.

    And they can see a decline in profits as those of us who are on the right side of history boycott the place.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick

    Won't be eating there again.

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

    Sweet! Now I can eat at Chick-fil-A without worrying about a bunch of gay people being there cramping my style xD!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ChickenOfHate

    LOL – the rotund church people will last about a week eating healthy grilled chicken sandwiches. Ha ha ha ha...

    July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Question

    Hey Chik-fil-a staff, what if one of your children turns out to be gay?

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

      The Chik-Fil-A near me on Hwy 290 in Houston is completely overrun by illegal immigrants and their 8.5 children.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • man_cluck

      they will call you for advice

      July 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter

    "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."

    Really? No one is divorced who works at this place? No one?

    Come on.

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

      lol come on now peter, use your brain, he was talking about the few that own the business (including himself of course).

      July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      First wives? Is he implying that he plans on having a second or third? Or that he has them currently? Who says something like that?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bread

    The thing to remember is god doesn't hate because there is no god. Hatred stems from people who believe there is a god and that only their god has the answer. Wars of both weapons and words are fought and millions have died based on nothing more than fantasy. To get to the roots of religion, modern or ancient, all one must do is look at the financial gain or political power sought by the proponents. Some things never change. I would love to believe there was an omnipitent being that loves me but I choose reality, which simply can not be based on something as abstract as an unseen god. Science I can see. My family's love I can feel. god? not so much.

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

      Should we continue to stomp on Gods greatest and gayest creations?

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

      the problem with today's society is that so many (as represented by posts on this board) think that they are God.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Martin

    as soon as someones beliefs contradict the "popular belief" they become "haters" or "ignorant"...I, however, will be on an all chicken diet for a while 😀

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

      It's not the contrary beliefs, per say, it's more the money spent on advocating against basic rights for some people.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ian

    come out, come out, whoever you are....!

    too funny! post more angry comments, ladies! the more the better : )

    sorry, i don't read them (i have a life), but it might make you feel better : (

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

    LGBT... eat chicken!

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

      G's like corn....L's like fish.......

      July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
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