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. Paul

    What kind of person rejects a tasty chicken sandwich for rectal intercourse?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.

      Think a lot about the mechanics of gay love, do you Paul?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wren

    I work at chick-fil-a and I'm gay. Am I going to be fired?

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mom of 2

    The comment made by Mr. Kathy did not say anything about him hating the gay community, he just simply stated his beliefs. Last I checked this is still America and freedom of speech is still alive and well...Christian beliefs do not agree with the Jewish community or the Muslim community does that mean that Chick-fil-a hates them too? No, it just simply means we don't agree...

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      Chick-fil-A gives part of its proceeds toward groups that campaign against equal rights. That's the real issue. It was revealed in the past, which is why he was asked for his beliefs on the matter in THIS interview.

      What he believes privately is one thing, but the company uses its income to promote hateful organizations, and people that might be eating at Chick-fil-A have a right to know what it is they're ultimately funding.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brad

    Politcally correct does NOT equal morally correct..
    I'll eat where I want, when I want, if i'm hungry and if it's convienent.. I don't care who wears fur, who supports who, who defends what... people complaining and boycotting etc.. should find something actually "constructive" to do with their hatred against someones actual STAND on something

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      He does not simply state his private opinion. Part of Chick-fil-A profits go toward funding groups that campaign against equal rights. That's the real issue.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cj28

    Cant people have their own opinon anymore! So what if cathy isnt for gay marriage its not what he believes quit hating for his beliefs!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      His personal beliefs are not the real issue. Chick-fil-A gives part of their proceeds to groups that campaign against equal rights, such as Focus On The Family, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council.

      It's extremely unfortunate the article neglected to include that extremely relevant information.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Megan

    I am not mad at the company for their values but I am upset about them spending 2 million dollars towards trying to stop marriage equality. That is a lot of money to be wasted on something so ridiculous. We all know that one day gay marriage will be legal just as the blacks are no longer slaves and minorities get plenty of benefits. I am a Christian but I also proudly support gays and gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chick Fil Cee U Next Tuesday!

    They have every right to be hateful horrible people. Member of the KKK too? He just joined the ranks of the hate mongers out there that claim to be fighting for Christian values, but are so far from being Christian themselves. Gives me a reason NEVER to support them again. I'm sure they will get a boost from other hateful monger horrible ignorant people that claim to the christians (but aren't really christaians, just hate mongers.) I also have freedom of speech MR. CATHY and ' I hope you die of heart disease eating that slop you call food' please can go F–K yourself. Your such a rich jack a$$ you probably never eat the slop you servce to the ignorant masses that you have literally eating out of your money grubbing billionaire hands- you piece of crap. Jesus hates you Cathy, and your crap chicken.

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

    Now that Chik-Fil-A is pandering to the sausage gravy lovin' t-e-a folk you can expect their menu to change drastically. They're probably going to be chopping up those cows on their advertisements so they can make 3/4 pound heart attack burgers for their new gluttonous clientele.

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

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

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

      Can you tell me where in his comments he said anything about hate? You're the one that is filled with hate!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      The article does not give the full story. As previous articles pointed out, Chick-fil-A gives part of its proceeds to groups that campaign against equal rights, such as Focus On The Family, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council. His words in this interview do not indicate hate, but the company's actions do.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Thoughts-

    Chick-Fil-A is one of the only fast food spots that you actually go through the drive-through and feel like the person at the other end cares about taking your order, getting it right the first time, and if that was not enough they finish that experience off with a "my pleasure" comment upon thanking them. You get both a yummy treat and a smile on your face after leaving their restaurant. Maybe other companies should follow their treat everyone with respect and kindness approach. Just because the company supports traditional marriage – they do so respectfully. At least they are honest which is more than others can say who state their views based on what they think "others want to hear" and "what is popular at the time". Sometimes, what is right is not always what is popular...supporting what is right often gets the raw end of the deal...but it is still the right nonetheless. I am sure so many who claim in the article that they will never go back to Chick-Fil-A again because of all of this WILL GO BACK because there is no denying that they have great food and above all GREAT CARING SERVICE.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      They also give money to groups that campaign against Civil Rights. While the staff might be warm and friendly, and the food might be enjoyable, ultimately part of their profits goes to fund hate.

      I agree with you that sometimes doing what's right is hard.

      In this case, what's right is to take a stance against hate, even if it means not eating somewhere you enjoy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marissa

    Mr. Cathy has a right to free speech and a right to stand up for what he believes. I saw no hate in his comments. This is America, where we are supposed to tolerate different beliefs, including Christianity.

    Bravo, Mr. Cathy!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      "I saw no hate in his comments".

      His words were carefully chosen, but actions speak louder than words. In Chick-fil-A's case, the relevant action is that they give proceeds to groups that campaign against equal rights.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccs

      very true. he has the right to do as he wishes and I have the right to not give him any of my money any more.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom-ay

      would it be okay if he said that about jews? or blacks? or muslims? or left handed people? or blondes... or people who wear green day t-shirts?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      Very true, Marissa.

      We should defend his right to free speech. All that is left to do is decide whether eating at Chick-fil-a is the right personal decision or not.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. selfevolved

    Why is this news to anyone? Like the article says, we already knew they were extremist Christians (closing a profitable business on Sunday is extreme). Extremist Christians == hate. No one had to wait for him to actually say it, to know.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Since when does Christian, even Extreme Christians == hate? Extreme Christians love and do a lot of good. But they don't approve of man/man or woman/woman relationships. They don't HATE them. They just don't approve of them. Every Christian I've ever met that opposes gay marriage doesn't propose stop people from having that right, but they openly don't approve of it. They also disapprove of Girls Gone Wild Spring Break trips where girls take off their tops on beaches, but they aren't doing anything to stop it because people have rights to do what they want. Chick-Fil-A's stance supports what they as individuals and owners believe in. They are not spreading or advocating HATE, just their disapproval. Jeez, people need to lighten up.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Derek

    How would you feel if it were the KKK they were throwing money at instead? Because the groups aren't that different.

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

      you just compared Chick-Fil-A to the KKK? hahaha who are you?!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ludwig

    Chick-fil-A can take any stance they choose. I can also take any stance I choose. I choose to not support Chick-fil-A anymore. Money speaks louder than words.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Imminent

    Why is it when someone doesn't agree with gays or their points of view, they are attacked for it? Why is it when someone doesn't agree with straights or their points of view, they are attacked for it? Get a brain people – you can't expect or demand everyone agree with your points of view on this. Why can't you hypocrites on both sides just leave the other alone? Are you all so insecure about your tiny place on this planet?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      Answer: when their "disagreeing" involves spending boatloads of cash on advocating the denial or basic rights of others. Simple enough, yes?

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

      Well said!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
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