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. gherrriey

    It's so sad to see people use the "Freedom of Speech" argument. Yes, Cathy has the right to say what he wants, but his freedom of speech does not protect him from other people reacting to him.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mario

    Companies that encourage the oppression of others deserve to go out of business. I get so sick and tired of so called christians hiding behind their bibles while they promote and celebrate the oppression and genocide of an entire group of people.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sonny

    Amen for Chick-fil-a!! Pray God will bless your business even more for the righteous position.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ian

      Jesus didn't get married, and neither am I.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jerry from Philly

    I guess that Freedom of speech is not allowed if your a Christian Business owner. If the gays are so offended, why don't the Gays open up their own fast food stores. Last I heard, Chic Filet does NOT discriminate against gays. What's the problem

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      The problem, Jerry, is that their company is spending millions on political advocacy issues to deny people equal rights. capiche?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick Lewis

      He has freedom of speech and he freely stuck his foot in his mouth, angering people who would give him money. The fact that you think this is a violation of his free speech means you don't understand what free speech is and what it protects. A clash of ideas between citizens, untempered by the government IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF FREE SPEECH!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JadeStarrz

    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 all of it.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. matthew

    It seems that it is the LGBT that is hateful and not conclusive of other ideas. Why do they have insist that everybody have to have their own way of thinking. The LGBT people are the bigots!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      We're also the ones who paid attention in english class. Nice attempt, but you can do better if you just FOCUS.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dude2011

    I'm just happy that I can now enjoy a chicken sandwich without having to look at dem dere h0m0's

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark Anthony

    : Since Profanity isn't permitted on this Page... I shall borrow a line from "All About Eve"... Starring Bette Davis: "Mr. Cathy... I wouldn't worry to much about your Duplicitous Empire... You can take your Empire... And put it where Pseudo Morality ought to be"... And that goes for anyone else who patronizes that Wretched Landfill of a Corporation...

    July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Anthony

      : Correction: ... "Your pseudo Morality ought to be"...

      July 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Craig

    Chick Fil A as a company has done nothing wrong. They were asked a question and they answered it . Not everyone has to agree with gay marriage. I do not agree with it. I am also against abortion. Does that make me a bad person. More people need to stand up for good old fashion values. If more people did the world would be a better place.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      Ah, you seem to not know about the millions of dollars they've spend on political advocacy. Might I suggest some research?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Old fashioned values like honor killing your children? Beating one's wife into submission? Sorry, Cletus, but it's the 21st Century in most go the world. I think you might be comfortable in Afghanistan.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick Lewis

      Craig, The problem is that now with Citizens United on the books, these businessmen can funnel unlimited amounts of the money they make from we the people to advocate for policies that discriminate against we the people and we the people aren't ever going to know. Maybe Chick – Fil – A isn't doing that, but we don't know. If they put themselves in a position where they knew that question will be asked and had an answer, we can also assume that they put their money where their mouth is and react accordingly. Don't like it? Then take the secrecy out of campaign and other political contributions and let we the people support those who support us.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ian

    if marriage is so holy and great, why didn't the Lord Jesus Christ get married? certainly there are those who suggest he did, but that it just happens not to be included in the bible. those peeps are rewriting the Word.

    i'm thinking Jesus had the right idea. very smart dude!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jwl

    Nobody has the right not to be offended at any time.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Weasley

    People are quick to site "tradition" in support of Mr. Cathy's statements, but tradition has been used as the scapegoat of the intolerant throughout history. It takes no courage whatsoever to fall in line with your peers, and exceptional courage to stand against them. Mr. Cathy has shown no such courage.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Question

    Eat more chikin. Promote more hate!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rickbull

    Have you ever noticed that those who label others as "haters" are the ones who spew the most hate?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Charles Peirce

    I submitted two comments. One as Christian Liberal and one as Charles Peirce. I wonder why the biased CNN crew posted the Peirce comment but not the Christian Libderal comment?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
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