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. Ryan

    Ok, watch Chic-fila-A stock. If it goes up (+5 -8%) i bet it comes out with new Christian view ads. It goes down, (-5-8%) i bet it either goes up for sale, issues an official apology, or chic-fila-a is cheap is crap for like 3 months.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jesus

    Jesus humanity is stupid. WTB armageddon already.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. ckerst

    This is just another good reason to stay away from the franchise. The food tastes like crap and the owner is an extremist.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • ed

      Typical liberal, don't like something, call them names and make personal attacks.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Is he really "a person who favours or resorts to immoderate, uncompromising, or fanatical methods or behaviour, esp in being politically radical" because he believes in something different than you? I think it's wrong to murder and I won't my change my belief on that. I'm uncompromising on that. Am I an extremist? Is anyone who doesn't believe the same as you an extremist? That's what the North Korean and Muslim Extremists believe. Perhaps you're in the wrong country... He isn't saying gays can't believe in what they want, he is only stating his wife and he don't support the idea of gay marriage.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      If he was black, would you add the N-word before extremist? Why cant you allow free speech and respect his right to believe in what he chooses? Isn't that why the first non-native Americans came to this land?

      July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Name*Penny

    Good for you! I wish more people would stand up for what they believe instead of conforming.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. morestuff

    Wow. Look at all the haters coming out and attacking Christians! Even to the point of avoiding a business! I have many gay friends but they all know that I believe their choice of life style is wrong. I have friends that abuse drugs and alcohol. I believe that is wrong too but I do not hate them. What is this HATE toward Christians when they simply state what they believe! I may be wrong but I was taught that This was the definition of intolerance!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • I like turtles

      being gay is not a choice, that is where you are extremely wrong.

      it has been damn near proven that being gay is not a conscious decision made nor is it determined by how a child is raised.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @morestuff Here's the difference. I don't agree with Christians, but I'm not trying to get laws practiced to ban the practice of it. I would be appalled if anyone tried. On the other had, you are trying to ensure the government bans gay and throws drug users in jail because you don't agree with them.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Yes morestuff, and you Christies have set a wonderful example to follow with your arrogance that your beliefs should overrule other's lives. And you wonder why you're disdained? Are you really that clueless?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lwingate

    Freedom of speech. I admire them for their beliefs. No hate, just fact. They didn't say gay people that are married (???) can't eat there. I don't believe in gay marriage either, doesn't mean I hate them. Stop shoving GAY in our face.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Then stop shoving CHURCH in ours

      July 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. runabout

    Nope, they don't

    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      YES they do

      July 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cm

    Last I checked it was okay for people and businesses to support whatever organization they choose. Give me a break, when we disagree we call someone a "hater." Last I checked second graders who call names couldn't post on CNN. You can choose not to support something and not hate it. Grow up people and find a adult argument.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. KM

    My thing is that this company is a christian company. they are closed on sundays. it is no surprise that they support traditional christian beliefs. people are freaking out and i get that – but its not a surprise. their chicken is delicious. their restaurants are clean. the employees have BRAINS and are always polite. so if i eat at chick fil a it will be because of their delicious chicken, cleans restaurant, and literate employees, not that i am saying "i agree with your traditional marriage values"

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    Who cares anyway? The food is garbage and it is another dumb statement from a religious nut job. What do you expect?

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Charles

    I am a Gay American, who believes in equal rights for all. I also respect the opinions of everyone. Chick-fil-a has a right to believe in what they want to believe just as I have the same right. This is what makes this country wonderful. I may not agree with them but I respect them. Instead of being hateful just don't visit their facility if you don't agree with them.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Howard

    You cannot pick and choose what statutes in the bible you want to practice and be a true christian. We all know murder is a sin, but if I beat someone near death without killing them, have I avoided sinning? People want to follow the "10 Commandments" with tunnel vision and act like there are no other rules to follow as christians. If the bible says for man not to lay with man, we can't just ignore that part for our own benefit. I don't believe in gay marriage Does this mean that I hate gay people? Not any more than me saying that I don't believe in telling lies means I hate politicians or lawyers or anyone else that lies. It simply means that I choose not to participate in the same practices as a gay person. You don't have to have the same moral values as another person to love them as a human being. I commend the president of Chic fil a for being man enough to admit what he believes and stand up for it.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kelsey

    For heavens sake this is just ridiculous. Why don't businesses stick to making money instead of becoming involved in social commentary. Nice back step by the companies VP of PR by the way – trying to cover tracks a little too late...

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. JIMBOB

    Male-female marriage has a natural 'checks and balances' system, and is the foundation of modern society. While there are a few gay relationships that approximate this, the majority are like those of a former coworker of mine had. He's a fiftysomething gay man that has been in a relationship with another gay man for years, but when they were younger and 'hotter' they had a don't ask-don't tell aspect of their relationship: you can bring a boy home, but he can't sleep over. They're both men, men sometimes have an inherent desire to 'roam', but in a gay relationship there's no one that keeps this in check (as a woman typically does).

    This is not what marriage is about. The coworker was a great guy. Like most gays, he was not actually militant about this whole topic at all. The GM issue is just another attack on the biblical values that laid the foundation for civilization, and a greedy grab for benefits and insurance by those partaking of sham 'marriages' (a grab that will be funded by the rest of us).

    I applaud chikfila for upholding their values and doing many charitable works.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. mikeM

    I will go to Chick-fil-A even more.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • S-Hawk

      Because they came out with this? Then you're as discriminating as they are

      July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
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