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. truth2285

    Read his statement. I saw no hate.

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

      The "hate" is evidenced by his company's expenditures of millions on political advocacy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Depends on their hiring policy.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • isadore

      OMG...a company standing up for their values and not caving to the social morality. Good for you, Chick fil A!!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jennifer

    chick-fil-a has as much of a right to their beliefs as I do...while i strongly disagree with their stance on the topic, it is their right to do so. They aren't promoting violence in any way, just their opinion (which most members of my family have fought for them to be able to do). As they stand stongly behind their opinions, i do as well...and choose not to spend my money at their restaurants. It's that simple.

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

      It's refreshing to see someone say what they believe and stand up for it. This is something most are afraid to do anymore. I will continue to be his Customer and maybe more often.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • mem

      Well said, Jennifer. I feel exactly the same way.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NFL1

    Separate but equal didn't work then...doesn't work now. Welcoming lgbt customers is one thing, but how about lgbt workers?? Do they get fired? How are they treated? Do they have the same rights and benefits as other workers? Only the church is allowed to discriminate according to the government and laws...

    July 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandy Greene

    That's hate???? He just said that they believe what the Bible tells us is a marriage is between a man and a woman. He said nothing about hate. If you ask me whoever wrote the article is full of hate. God loves the sinner not the sin! We all sin. No one is better than the other. We make our choices and we will all have to answer for them some day. God is LOVE!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim tom

      You seem to be confusing the article with some of the comments. This article does not take a stance on the issue. It just says it has created a hullabaloo.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Macmb

    If gays can get married, why not poligamy, bestiality and incest?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • D


      July 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parkerman

      Exactly, if one is ok than why not the others. Everyone has a line to draw in the sand and this is just an opinion, it is not hate. I love Chic-fil-a.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Macmb: Oh stop. I remember the same nonsense arguments about black-white marriages from people like you not that long ago.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIg Gay John

      Macmb...geee lets think this over.

      Beatiality would be considered animal abuse as the animal can not consent and you would be imposing this on them against their will.

      Incest – becomes a matter of public saftey as the closer the familial bond the higher the risk of birth defects, which in turn affects all as they will require care BEYOND the familial unit. You can marry your sister, just dont breed and if you do, dont look for my tax dollars to cover it.

      Poligmy – well all in all if you want 10 wives and can support them properly, than by all means, have 10 wives. This again becomes a soical issue as a lot of the women that have been involved in those kinds of relationships suffer some form of abuse.

      Also please note that poligimy and incest have all been legal at one point or another in society and they found that those relationships "caused issues" that could impact society negitively and made the laws accordingly.

      Really cant stand when straights try to pull the, "What's next, accepting pedophiles, beastiality, etc... No those practices should not be acceptable (to anyone with a brain), since there are NOT two consenting adults of legal age.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TakeThis

    I'm sorry that Chik-fil-a thinks gay marriage causes more harm than the 830 calories and 36g of fat of their classic #1 meal (more with a non-diet drink!)

    July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • gun-toter

      If you weren 't an idiot " ; you would also ; know that it does .

      July 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      gay marriage causes exactly *0* harm

      July 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Texas

    Have all the Christians forgot "Judge not, lest you be judged?"

    July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    It's too bad that the fringe groups in this country cry 'hate' every time someone stands up for their beliefs. If you don't like the stance they take, don't go there. But quit crying out 'HATE' at every one that sticks to their convictions in life. When you do that it shows just how intolerant you are of someone else and THEIR beliefs.

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

      Well said Mike....

      July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CL

    While I support the rights of my many gay friends, I still define marriage traditionally as between a man and woman. I support civil unions with all the rights that a marriage would afford, but to me the definition of the word marriage should not be changed. The fact that Chick-fil-A says that they support the traditional definition of marriage does not mean they hate LGBT people. It's not an either-or kind of statement that they made. This heated reaction from the public is at the same level as if they said they would not serve LGBT people at their restaurants. People need to keep things in perspective.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. amadeo122

    The god the owners of chicken filet believe in is the same made up god that protects the rich over the poor, the god that sent chicken filet, bush and their supporters on a war against iraq under false pretenses. The anti gay, the anti immigrants legal and illegal as well, the same god that carries weapons and preaches hatred instead of humility and turn the other cheek, the god that wears gucci and drives camaros, the god that taught them to amass riches and hold on to them as if there was no tomorrow, the god that didn't write that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24)...... their god has nothing to do with the one in the bible, actually I have never met one in my entire life that has read the bible, they recite it like parrots but never learned it or understood it. ..... they better pray that the god in the bible does not exist because if he does, they will fry along their Chicken Filets in Hell.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • gun-toter

      NO " ; all the quuers " ; will be , burning in hell ' ; what is there , about this ; that you don 't understand ?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pazke

    I already had so many reasons to dislike Chick-fil-A – what's one more? The only thing they had going for them in my book was that they serve Coca-Cola products instead of Pepsi. I'll admit that once or twice I used their drive through for a beverage. But it would be a lie to say I'll boycott them since I never went there anyway.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. C. of S.

    "the biblical definition of marriage"

    So they support polygamy? Does this definition of family include the slaves?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Conscientious observer.

    Not wanting OTHER people to marry because they are gay is like getting mad at someone else for eating a donut when you are on a diet.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Loren

    The response of the LGBT community to Mr. Cathy's remarks is why the best analogy to their tactics is the Nazi Party. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is vilified and they attack every aspect of their lives. No one is permitted to have a different view from them.

    As for myself, I don't believe in gay marriage, because marriage has meant one thing for centuries, a relationship between a man and a woman. I do not, however, contest that, if a State so chooses to, it may provide the same legal protections offered to married couples to people who also choose to make llifelong commitments to each other even though they do not fit the historical tradition of marriage. I know that some will call this separate but equal, but the reality is that this relationship is not and cannot be the same as that between a man and a woman. Recognition of this difference is not hatred, nor bigotry, but rather recognition of reality, and no attempt to say make it otherwise will make it otherwise.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fornosticate

    Can't we all agree to get a long? I'm glad we still have the freedom to express our beliefs when asked. If this ever changes, I vote to only allow comments that I personally agree with.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
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