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. Josh

    Of course we need to let businesses run things their own way. Congratulate them for standing up for their beliefs. We surely can't show disdain or disgust if a business owner believed that only white customers should attend their restaurant. After all... This is a free America. A Christian Nation. Chik-fil-a never impressed me anyway. Now I hope they go under.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Josh

    "... the biblical definition of the family unit."

    No one is attempting to change the biblical definition of a family. Only the LEGAL definition.

    Only the bible thumbers would not understand that difference.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. charliewaffles

    YEAH!!! More waffling on fries and none on "traditional" values.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mandor

    There's no real need for a media storm. If you find their stance incompatible with your own values, don't eat there anymore. If you find their stance admirable, consider eating there, or eating there more often. That easy.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ChickenOfHate

    I can just see the glutenous church people waddling up to the menu. "Gosh, you mean they ain't got a Heart Attack burger and mega chili-cheese fries??"

    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ChickenOfHate

    I wonder if Chit-Fil-A has ever done a market study to find out who eats more chicken – Democrats or Republicans. I don't think it would take a rocket scientist to figure out who eats healthier.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Harry Pelham

    I simply love how these Sodomite's do not have any respect for Christian Folks Beliefs! If Ya'll don't like it then don't eat at Chick-fil-A take Yo Sodomite $$$ and spend them elsewhere simple as that! Let us Good Decent God-fearing Law-abiding American Christian Patriots and our Families enjoy them thar delicious Chicken Sandwiches and Salads rightly in peace I reckon!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      Please forgive Harry. His hood's on a little tight today, and it's cutting off his oxygen.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Denise

    If you read the article CORRECTLY, he stated that Chick fil a supports marriage between a man and a woman. There was nothing said about hating anybody who is gay!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brad

    its funny how freedom of speech, and when someone freely speaks and it's not "politically correct" even obama backflopped when he supported gay marriage, just so he could get the gay vote.. since he's done NOTHING in 4 years cept blame Bush for EVERYTHING wrong and everything HE COULDNT DO as promised.. Imagine if it were the other way around. and everyone blamed obama for all that's wrong, they'd be automatically racist.. because WE ALL know that anyone that disagrees with Obama, is not using their brain or stating the issues.. they are just racist cause a black president can DO NO WRONG!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conservatism: A mental disorder...

      "since he's done NOTHING in 4 years cept blame Bush for EVERYTHING wrong and everything HE COULDNT DO as promised.."

      Brad, you have the mentality of a six-year-old...

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

      Um, that went off on a bit of a tangent.

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

    Wrong is wrong, and always will be wrong, right will always be right. Love doesn't mean saying what's wrong is right or vice versa. It just means respecting everyone and treating everyone the same, which is what "true" Christianity is. Not condoning unrighteousness because of peer pressure. God bless you.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      So, if wrong is always wrong, then why was slavery condoned in the bible ever?

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

    Hey Chick-fil-a staff, what if some of your children turns out to be gay? Your own kids are going to hate you. HATE PROMOTES HATE!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juanito

      Because someone disagrees with another, you label it as 'hate'? You apparently don't agree with Christians, so do you you're not guilt of hate as well?

      According to most who think that not supporting someone or something = hatred.

      To those who profess as being 'opened minded'(as many of you boast), the mirror is a good place to start working on hate.

      The opposition is to the sin, which is offensive to God, not the sinner, which God paid an extremely high price to redeem.

      I applaud Chik Fil A for their position.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Phil

    I was a crew leader at a Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House in Georgia. We were never told to deny service to any person, even when someone blew cigarette smoke in my face. Chick-Fil-A has one of the best service reputations in the industry, and I know that gay persons have worked for them before, so those that claim bigotry or discrimination either don't understand those words or really don't get the true issue.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      Chick-fil-A's proceeds go toward groups that campaign against gay rights, such as Focus on the Family, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council.

      While I'm glad you and your fellow workers never knowingly discriminated toward any customers, the company's earnings do fund discrimination. Sorry.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      The problem isn't with their business practices (which are legally required to be 'equal'); it's with them spending boatloads of money on advocating on social issues.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ec

      That's nice, but the company is still owned by bigots and many people won't support such an organization.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JWH Atlanta

      With all due respect, I think you missed the point. The point is not that Dan Cathy is a hatemonger or that Chik-fil-A discriminates vis a vis its customers or employees. The point is that when the Executive of any public-oriented business takes a stand on a controversial issue, to a publication that is a mouthpiece for the far right, then he places his business in a very political firestorm. You may say that he is exercising his free speech right, but his speech is intended to offend a part of his market. Then it becomes the offended people's right to speak out against what is said and the Company that apparently endorses the offensive speech. Mr Cathy should stick to frying chicken fillets and improving their customer service, rather than going out of his way to offend some of those customers. In my case, an ex-customer.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Roberto

    I think I will be getting a delicious Chick-fil-A sandwich today!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andy

    If you don't go out of your way to support gay, then you are a hate monger!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      No. But if you regularly donate toward groups campaigning to continue discrimination, as Chick-fil-A does, THEN you are a hate monger.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thenextstep

    GO CHICK-FIL-A.......... Hang tough............ We LOVE you

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