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. Diana

    Only those who are ignorant will call this hate. For just becasue someone has an opinion on something does not make them judgmental or a hate mongerer. If more people could just be honest we wouldn't have such things as calling people haters or racist just because of thier beliefs. It makes me wonder how many Americans will end up in Hell, because they are too stubborn to open thier hearts and minds to honesty. HONESTY is a Noble, Moral value.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Diana, I don't think you should be able to marry the man you love because of MY beliefs, and I will spend millions of dollars lobbying for laws that will make it impossible for you to ever get married. How's that sound to you? Hey, it's just my opinion, not anything hateful, right? You'd be ignorant to be so close hearted to justmental about my HONESTY. ...Right? Bet it doesn't sound so noble when it affects your life.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Well first off, there is no hell, but that's a whole other argument. This is about intolerance. If you believe gays and lesbians can't be married because of your beliefs, bingo...wake up! You expecting someone else to do what you want based only on your beliefs, THAT is intolerance, and it IS ignorance

      July 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott B

    Also, if the people that think God defines marriage really cared about the foundation of our country, they would be arguing to take marriage out of the government's hands. It should be civil unions for all. Marriage should just be a church thing and have no legal status at all.

    They don't though because they want to turn our country into a theocracy. No different from the Muslim extremists they hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Really?

    Why can't a person who owns a business who is like minded about his faith and beliefs be allowed to work with other people of like minded faith and beliefs? It's not that a gay person would not be allowed to eat in his restaurants. For all those who say 'Wrong!', think about it if you ran the government and could create laws banning his freedom of speech and freedom of religion because you thought it was wrong. I can choose to buy my paint from a paint store full of satan worshipers or take my business elsewhere. It's a free country – Thank God. I am free to believe in tuna fish, hire people who believe the same things, and not believe in what I want as long as I follow the laws.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Scott

    It all depends on what you believe in and the standards set in your life. There was nothing hateful in the statement issued. I love the fact this organization is not backing down with the social media pressure. I wish we had one close by!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Which only proves how skewed the management is there

      July 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tired of PC

    Truth is hate to those that hate the Truth...

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith in SoJax

      So whats the truth ole wise one?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Breeze

      The truth is that anyone who tries to prove their FAITH is the one, true truth and everyone faith is wrong if they don't believe what you believe-is just plain stupid. Smart people understand that since we are dealing with faith and not fact, there is no need to impose you beliefs on others because logically you have no idea what you are talking about. People of faith try to make emotional arguments sound logical, and they have no idea how ridiculous they sound to anyone who understands the difference. You have no proof that any God ever existed, or it it still exists, or even if there is more than one God. No idea at all, you just have faith. So don't make it sound like fact, and don't try to tell other people what to do.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Peter

    My advice for Americans is to drop the emotion so you can think clearly about this issue. Do you not want a country where people can practice their own faith? Take that away, and you are risking your own freedom, too. Do you not want a country where if you disagree with something, you can say so? Take that away from Christians, and you will lose it, too. Stop and think through what people are actually saying. Not every statement of fact or opinion is hate. Sometimes–usually–it's just rational disagreement. What you are seeing is that the pro-gay community is using noise and emotion to shout down opinions which make them feel threatened, and a lot of society is buying into their emotion and going along with it. Use your brains, people, the part on the left side!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Arlyss

      You make a good case for people thinking logically. I doubt that will happen. Logically, though, as you say, people should all be free to express their opinions, whether we like them or not. As long as CFA does not discriminate in its hiring/etc. of people, I think this is something of a non-issue. I also think people need to think through what causes marriages to fail. It's not WHO gets married as much as what happens after people get married. Within a particular marriage lie the issues that can make or break a relationship. People are blinded way too much by emotion on all sides of this issue.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Breeze

      If you had a brain you would realize that you are the one making an emotional argument-one that fuels hate. Patrice your faith freely but do not hurt others while doing so. Nobody wants to take away your faith, but that has nothing to do with the logical arguments for or against gay marriage. Separate your faith and make a logical argument. If you use words like "the Bible" "God" or "Jesus" in you argument, you are not making any logical sense. Search your own left side, because you are not making any sense.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      It's no longer opinions or faith when people are making laws against what others believe. if I want to marry my boyfriend how does that effect you? It doesnt. It only goes against another's beliefs and those beliefs come from a book. That book creates judgement. So how does who I love effect you as a person?

      July 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jendher

    Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.

    Chick-Fil-A – food for hypocrisy.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ed

      What does divorce rate have to do with this article? Just go back to sleep.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith in SoJax

      ed, thats really easy. It demonstrates that the "conservative Christians" that want everyone to live by their rules are hypocrits. That hardly makes them unique (since virtually all humans are hypocrits on occasion), but those of us that want to be free of their instinctual repression of others use that hypocrisy to illustrate that the vociferous Christains do not deserve special privledges to force their beliefs on the rest of us through the expansion of Government. Lets get this clear...I am not advocating they change thier beliefs...I'm advocating they mind thier own business and quit trying to use Religious freedom as an excuse to build a repressive Theological government.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      nobody said you had to eat there

      July 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Martin

    It is hate, for anyone who is asking. Their beliefs are worth no more or less than a gay couple's belief that they are to be together. I think the ignorance of religion is one of the most, if not THE most, problems of this world. You have churches that out of their way to protest, who label others and show distrust in them, and above all, religion is one of the leading causes of war.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Nothing to add here. Martin is completely correct

      July 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Keith in SoJax

    I think its great they admitted thier beliefs. People that are uncomfortable supporting businesses that use theological texts to judge others shouldn't purchase from them (thats where I fall). Others that disagree with me are welcome to spend there. So Chick-Fil-A divided thier customer base into those with similar beliefes and those with different beliefs (and the majority that simply don't care). Now they either reap the benefits or the losses. Most likely it won't matter since Gays and Lesbians are only abut 5% of the population. Mistreating them rarely has any consequences.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Robin

    I read that article, and nowhere did I see him bashing gay people. He just said that they support traditional marriage between a man and a woman. How is that hate? Why is it if someone disagrees with gay marriage, they are automatically labeled a 'hater'?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ed

      It called liberal talk. If you talk about blacks they call you a racist. If you talk about gays they call you a hater. It's the only way liberals can feel better about themselves.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith in SoJax

      Robin, its very simple. If you do things in your life to prevent someone from having the same benefits that you have, you are repressing them. Especially when giving the other person equal rights causes you no harm whatsoever. This is a very ugly chapter in Christianity. Considering the treatment the Romans gave the Christains, you'd think one of the most pervasive traits in Christianity would be compassion for the minority. Now that they are the majority in this country, they are obsessed with gaining more power effectively mimicing their Roman oppressors. Its just UGLY. And the Christain agenda is partly to blame for the complete shut down of effective Govt in DC.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Breeze

    It means that some people cut off their noses to spite their own faces. Don't mix business with religion-don't mix religion with anything. Practice your faith but do not condemn others because you have faith, and not fact. When you pit your faith against fact, you loose and you look like a fool for making such an unintelligible argument that you cannot possibly win.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • carl47

      you are one sick M/F

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Skeptic

    Chick-fil-A – chicken for gays.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. C. Shades

    Interesting historical anecdote! After Obama enacted the Business Re-Education Alignment Tax Act of 2014 all of these issues were firmly put to rest. The crippling burden of the democrat's taxes on a list of non-supported social and religious beliefs led to a uniformity of thought and behavior in the marketplace. Three cheers for the Beloved Leader!!.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. TownC

    Hooray for Chick Fil-A!!! A company willing to take a stand for traditional values. Just wondering why boycotts of businesses of that don't believe in traditional marriage, like Home Depot are not reported? Not believing that gays should be married does not make you a bigot! I can tolerate someones differing opinion, but that doesn't mean I have to accept it. Judging from the comments, the bigots seem to be those intolerant of Chick Fil-A 's position.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • smashy

      So then does not believing in interacial marriages make you racist? Or how about flat out not allowing black people to marry each other. That's not racist? Because if not allowing gay people to marry isn't bigotted, then that must not be racist. Simpleton.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Breeze

      Sure, let's bring back all the traditional biblical values, like slavery, incest and human sacrifice.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Christians have evolved over time. But now they pick and choose what to believe out of their book because there are laws against parts of their book. For instance. They were for slavery. Now there are laws against it. They suppressed woman's rights. Now there are laws that increase woman's rights and make them equal. See the trend. These people are not supporting their faith. They are supporting hate. I know there was no hate in what he said. Well that's because you support hate and you only see, hear, read what is written. You have no ability to think for yourself.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JM

    Just as Mr. Cathy has the right to feel as he does and lead his company in his preferred direction, I have the right to express my opposition by simply not frequenting Chick-fil-A and buying their products. My minimal patronage won't be missed by Chick-fil-A and my conscience will be clear as I won't be supporting what I believe to be a business with limited and out-dated ideas. I'm fine with that.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
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