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.
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Twitter comments were also divided.
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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I actually support gay marriage, but the guy was just stating that he doesn't believe it. He didn't say he hated gays or that they would be discriminated against in the restaurant. Some people just enjoy being offended.
He doesn't just say that, he uses the money the company earns to fund organizations actively devoted to fighting against equal rights.
It's funny isn't it if an atheist, muslim, or gay says they don't agree with the belief of a Christian the response from the public is 'way to go stick by your beliefs' but if a Christian say that they don't agree with the athiest, muslim, or gay, then they're a bigot. Wake up people each person has a right to stand by what they believe right or wrong.
MIKE, You are 100% right ! Sure glad someone else sees the light.
And some people, like you, obviously have no idea what its like to be discriminated against. Try walking a mile in someone elses shoes- and see if its so easy to say that.
HIP HIP HOORAY FOR Chick-Fil_A. A company that wont compromise on it's principles to make a buck.They have as much right to their opinion and beliefs as the the gays but to hear the gays tell it,only their opinion matters..
This is a terrible article.
It leaves out the EXTREMELY important fact that Chick-fil-A gives a portion of its profits to groups that campaign against equal rights.
It's NOT simply that the owners hold an opinion, its that they use some of the money they take from customers to fund hate groups.
Move on damo............get over it
So what? there are companies that give money to groups that support gay rights. Maybe it's time that the non-gays stat boycotting them. The gays do not want EQUAL rights.the want preferential treatment . BULL COOKIES
Their sandwiches are so good, though.
Ate there once. It gave me explosive diarreah, vomiting, fever-–but I was lucky. I heard most people that eat at this place die of food poisioning shortly after visiting- or at the very least get violently sick. Most of the time, you will leave with a parasite or flesh eating bacteria- but know this, if you eat at Chick Fil A, you will die. Hopefully they will close all of these stores soon for the sake of good christains everywhere. God bless you all, do not eat at this horrible place.
Slander is not pretty. My office mates and I eat there at least once a week; no one has ever gotten sick, we don't have parasites, and from what I can see we are all still walking, talking, and breathing. No deaths yet over the past 2 years. The have great ice cream, by the way. It isn't called 'Ice Dream' for nothing!
It's called FREE SPEECH people. Why is it that only LIBERALS have the freedom to speak their beliefs??? such a double standard!! Way to go Chick-fila!!!
I'm all for the biblical tradition of marriage. There's multiple wives, wives telling their husbands to sleep with the housekeepers to have children... It's a freaking free-for-all. Not sure what bible those guys are reading, but the Sunday morning one is as good as 50 shades of grey if you actually READ it. LOL. (Okay, not as graphic, but dang).
Please leave C-F-L alone. You've got Starbucks.
Good for Chick-fil-A!! The morals in this country has been thrown out, and seems like anything goes now. This is a shame, without morals we might as well do without religion, is this what people want? My faith will not change ever!
Take a look at the JC Penney stock prices since January if you think that promoting gay marriage is going to help your business. They've dropped 50% not to mention that Standard & Poor's have rated them as "junk" stock. Might not be a good idea to promote gay marriage or take ANY position one way or the other.
Hurrah for that company. It is a private enterprise and has every right to adhere to its family values. Why don't "alternate values" folks start their own restaurant - put your money where your big mouth is!!!!
I'm not saying that it is hate and they are a business, not a government company so they can run themselves in a religious way if they want. The part that gets me is that they don't support the actions of these people but they are willing to take their money. So no, I wont be eating there not because I am full of "hate" but just because they don't align with my moral values either.
Sadly, the internet has made using the word "hate" all too common and I am beginning to wonder if people remember what the word really means.
And for the people who are constantly posting about what the Bible says, I think you should re-read some parts. The ones about not judging others. We all break rules in the Bible and if you want to stand by parts of it you should try to stand by al of it.
Good. We want to see your true colors. No more of my hard-earned cash going to businesses run by openly religious morons. Religion poisons everything.
So we have to agree with what others think or we are the bad guys? I don't support gay marriage either. So what? I have friends that are gay. So what?