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. MIKE

    No more burgers I am switching to Chick Fil A

    July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. swohio

    Admittedly I've never been to a Chik-fil-A...but now I may try it. It's good to see them stand up for Godly principles and not cave to the ever-growing crowd that espouses sin as though it's a virtue.

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

      Yes, go enjoy your deep fried Jesus sandwich, bigot.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArtVandelay

      *facepalm*

      July 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ChickenOfHate

    If you are an ethnic minority – Hispanic, Black, Asian, etc – you might want to think twice about eating at Chik-Fil-A. You can bet they harbor the same intolerance for you that they do for gays – you know you read their hate on all of the other CNN blogs day after day. Heck, a McChicken is only one dollar!

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

      I'm Latino and I have found in Chick F.A. the more friendly welcome, nice enviromental, besides an excellent food....And I support 100% their stances about the marriage.....It's Adam and Eva.....No Adam and Steve......

      July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cowabunga

    I would ask the cows what they thing and stand with that.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    I do believe that Chick-Fil-A's owners have a right to express their beliefs. I'm glad they were so open about it, and now I can feel good about never patronizing them again.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      When "expressing your beliefs" involves spending tons of cash advocating against basic rights for other, that's a bit of a problem.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hunter

    I have never eaten at Chick-Fil-A simply because they are religious extremists. I don't buy Koch brothers products either because they are evil to put it in a nutshell. Abstaining from buying their products is all I can do, but at least it's something.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    "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."I f this guy is not full of hate I don't know who is. He certainly contradicts himself.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. xx4zu1

    It's actually a very intelligent business move on the part of Chick-fil-a. The Conservative Evangelical's are a very loyal and blind group. If you can convince them that you are firmly on their side they will provide you with a very solid base of customers. Granted you will alienate a portion of the population but their blind loyalty will be more than enough to sustain a very profitable business. The Churches have figured this out long ago and now businesses are beginning to follow suit. I know several business that market in this exact same way even though they don't share the same beliefs. All you need to do is, get one of these customers, please them and act as if you are on board with their mentality and by the following Sunday you will have 50 more customers. Then the business owners laugh themselves all the way to the bank.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BandWagon

    You people are so angry!! How did "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" become "We hate gays"? I didnt read that anywhere in the quote. Nor did I read anywhere that they want you to conform to their beliefs so I am confused as to why this family is getting shredded? I keep reading about hate and intolerance, but the only place I see it coming from it the angry mob hurling anti-Christian insults... Cant we all just get along?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      It wasn't the statements, but all the money the company spent on political advocacy that tipped people off to the bigotry.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pika

    I didn't know gay people ate chicken? I thought they ate sausage.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Love4USA

      ...and packed fudge.

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

    >>"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. <<

    And just how many wives are included in that biblical family unit?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ChickenOfHate

    Why are church people overwhelmingly obese? Isn't gluttony one of the Bible's big sins? More teapocrisy?

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

    I would like to see where in the statement he said anything about hate!! He was asked a question (one that the interviewer had to have known what the answer would be) and he answered it according to what he believes. I get so tired of everyone spouting about people's rights until it disagrees with their own opinion. Mr. Cathy never said he hated gays but people just want to put those words in his mouth. What a double standard. I applaud Mr. Cathy for putting his personal beliefs and values before the almighty dollar!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sweetmelissa40

    just because they stand up for there belief in god and the bible does not make them haters as christians they would be praying for all of these people to show their love

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kafir

    Has trolling become an online olympic sport?...with too many contenders?

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