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. Fornosticate

    I hate people who hate people.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      If there's 2 things I can't stand it's: people who are intolerant of other cultures ... and the Dutch!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. epluribus

    Viva Chic-Fil-A!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Libs are Fun

    I don't understand you libs. You say Chic-Fil-A is a hate company. Yet you spew disdain in almost every word posted. Have you libs ever heard the word hypocrite before? Religion is not the primary source of hate, liberal ideology is. Liberals oppose the diversity of thought.

    I usually stop by Chic-Fil-A once a week. I'll now stop three times a week.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • We_are

      So you're fat AND stupid - be proud.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • bram

      wow. you are very simple minded. we "libs" do not spew hate, but disdainment for hate filled people. but please, do stop by chick-fil-a 3 times a week. shovel that fast food garbage into your probably swollen american face. clog those arteries. the fast you & your ilk die off, the sooner we can enter the rest of the civilzed world/

      July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • But

      And I'm sure we'll watch your waistband grow and then when you need perpetual hospitalization you'll thank the "libs" for allowing you to get affordable healthcare even with your preexisting conditions.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Moose5768

    Amen, Harry

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gurgi

    Sooo, what right does everyone else have that gays don't have? Not a single one.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      The right to marry another gay person?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparkle

      The right to marry someone they love. Btw, conscientious stupidity is not a virtue.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      And don't pull the "marriage" stuff. They have the same right to marry someone of the opposite s3x as everyone else has. So gays have no leg to stand on, they are not denied any right that everyone else has.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • dkm

      you really don't know what you are talking about. Inheritance is just one issue (yup, we get taxed if we inherit from our partners). The list is actually quite long. Study before you spew.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick

    WOW, AWESOME! This is my new restaurateur of choice when I'm on the go and am hungry!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sparkle

    Religion has no place in business and politics..

    July 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rebecca

    Bye, bye Chick-Fil-A..........

    July 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Scott

    CFLA's honesty about where they stand as a company is refreshing. They are a private company and have every right to run it as they see fit. If you don't agree with their stance go eat somewhere else.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kevin

    "When you spend your money, promote dialogue, and push for laws that marginalize a segment of the population for bigoted reasons, yes, that's hateful. ""

    Spending your money ,promoting your dialogue and PUSHING for GAY MARRIAGE LAWS to marginalize a segment (Traditional Family) of society. So Gay/Lesbian people are haters.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. usleer

    I did not see anything hateful in Mr. Cathy's statement. I also support, and don't see anything wrong with, standing up for Christian beliefs and traditional family values.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TakeThis

    Thank you Chick-Fil-A! Now if only I could find a restaurant that believes women should be quiet and obey their man and blacks should sit in the back of the bus, then I'd be set for life!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Graham

      That is terrible to say. i Dont support gay marriage but why is racism need to be brought back in to this! that just immature and arrogant.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. of S.


      I'm pretty sure TakeThis was being sarcastic and pointing out the similarities with prior fights for civil rights.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BostonGuy

    Isn't it funny how almost everytime you interject "god" into a conversation it creates problems and many losers on both sides?

    How about this... to create harmony with our fellow person, we all keep our religious beliefs to ourselves and simply live by the morals we as humans have developed over the millenia?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. curtish

    Guess I will have to start eating more Chick-Fil-A!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thomas

    Open marriage supporters have Oreo.
    Biblical marriage supporters have Chick-fil-A.
    And people like me who don't care how someone else chooses to live THEIR life has both.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
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