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. Gurgi

    Sooo, what right does everyone else have that gays don't have? Not a single one. 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 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • dicerotops

      Gay couples don't have the same rights as married couples do, including hospital visits, property rights, and parental rights. They have a leg to stand on in protest.

      That being said, as much as I support gay marriage, I also really love Chic-fil -a. Given they won't miss my twice a month meals, I'm going to keep going there. They make quality fast food.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Your argument does not hold water. hetero couples not married have the same limitations.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • evilo

      your definition of freedom is askew. gays are denied the right to marry who they want to, something that we exercise freely. freedom means that you are allowed to do what you want (without harming others) even if it goes against the popular opinion.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Evilo, your argument does not hold water. Hetero people have the same limitations. A hetero male cannot marry another male, same as the gays. My original post stands as accurate.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elwood

      Seriously? I had the right to marry the *person* I fell in love with. Gays do *not* have that right. You could've made the same argument back in the day you weren't allowed to marry outside your own race. ("Blacks have the same right - to marry someone of their race - as I do!") Bigotry was wrong then, and it's wrong now.

      Either give gays the same marital rights under the law or get the government out of the marriage business. Civil unions for all!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Elwood, you do not have the right to marry the person you fell in love with, if that person is the same s3x as you. Again, your argument does not hold water.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elwood

      Gurgi: Are you going to dodge my main point? It used to be the law in some places that blacks could not marry whites. If you fell in love with someone of a different race, the *law* said you couldn't marry that person. And yet, you had the same right as people who fell in love within their own race, so did that make it OK? Did the argument of those who said otherwise also "not hold water"? If so, I guess we'll just have to "agree to disagree" as to who's all wet here.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Elwood, I did not dodge your main point. You are using an "apples to oranges" comparison. My original statement is accurate, gays do have the same rights as everyone else. They are wanting "more" rights than everyone else has. You cannot disprove that statement in any way shape or form, and neither can they.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrick

    This calls for an all-day gay Kissathon at Chick-fil-A stores.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 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 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cj90210

    I find it really interersting to read all the comments about how 'bad' the gay community is for boycotting Chick-Fil-a because of their ani-gay position. Where were all of you when the so call Christian community called for boycotting Disney and other progressive companies when they support equality for gay people? What a bunch of hypocrites – free speech goes both ways... PS: I bet this company donates lots of $$ towards other anit-gay causes but just hasn't been very public about it!

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

      They do. They've spent millions on stuff like that (so far)

      July 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. worlds gone crazy

    which part of Chic fillet's stance is hate?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      The part where they spend millions of dollars advocating to deny rights to some people?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CJ

    The company also makes donations to anti-gay organizations like Exodus International... through their stupid Winshape Foundation. I've known this for years and made the choice a long time ago not to eat their food. I am a gay Christian... yes, people it is possible... goto: gaychristian dot net.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zach ID

    OH MY GOD NOT SUPPORTING A MOVEMENT IS NOT HATE! It's called disagreeing with popular cultural stances and is totally acceptable. The gay movement is just a loud minority who bullies people who disagree with them.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elwood

      Yeah! How DARE they speak out loudly against injustice and bigotry? How dare they call you a bigot just because it's true?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TakeThis

    Do stand behind their belief that you should kill millions of chicken??

    July 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Silver

    We have become Sodom and Gomorra. If you speak out against that which you believe is un-God like you are condemned. You must let everyone live there life as they choose. Why is it that if you don’t agree with gay marriage that you are chastised? What you do in your own home is your business. It should not affect me or concern me. The press makes it even worse. Why is it that if I do not accept gay marriage you are a bigot? Where does that come from? If you are Catholic and do not believe in abortion are you a bigot? This is why out of control. They are forcing us to accept things we do not want to accept. You could start to argue that the Devil is at work here trying to bring all strict Christians down to a level where he can pounce on them. Fine, if you feel the need to boycott Chick-Fil-A then go a head, more nuggets for me and I am not going to hell!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mole

    No one has to eat there if they do want to.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter

    I don't care what the owners think.

    But they can't discriminate in hiring practices. Do they?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Groo

      Their President never said he had a problem with gay people. He said he believes in marriage between a man and a woman and the biblical definition of what a family unit, and didn't agree with gay marriage. That's all that was said.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Sweet! No more gays at Chick-Fil-A. Even more reason to eat there.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ziggy Pop

    I admire Chick-Fil-A for taking a stance on what they believe, no matter what others believe. If that is what you believe, stand by that and don't be wishy-washy. I wish our politicians would do the same.
    This is NOT hate to those who want gay marriage. Grow up and get over it. Damn!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob-O

      Amen to that. I do not judge the gay lifestyle, or those that support it, that is up to God. They will have to answer to him when they are seated in the judgement seat.. Any good Christian who reads the Bible can find in Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, and Romans 1:27 that the Gay lifestyle is against God's Law...

      July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lemtech

    I'm gonna keep eating more chicken. I love chic fil a. I support them 100%. In fact I'm gonna eat there twice as much now that all the weirdos aren't gonna be eating there anymore.

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

      lemtech wrote: "I'm gonna keep eating more chicken. I love chic fil a. I support them 100%. In fact I'm gonna eat there twice as much now that all the weirdos aren't gonna be eating there anymore."

      Uh huh. So glad the executives' decision has not caused any spread of hate.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      By all means, enjoy your heart attack. Eating gobs and gobs of artery-clogging, flab-feeding fried chicken will really show those liberals how wrong they are.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AEli

    I support the LGBT community because I've never had a reason to treat those involved in it any differently than I do of other racial/religious/socio-economic communities. People are people. I support gay marriage, because I don't feel I have a right to decide who someone should pledge their life to. You love who you love.

    ...But I also personally choose to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Those are my beliefs, and I have a right to state them, as does someone who doesn't feel the same way.

    I frown upon anyone who mixes business with social politics, but aside from that I can't find where Mr. Cathy's expression was hateful or bigoted.
    Do I think what he said was bad for business? Yeah. Do I think it's possible he could be as awful as people are implying? Of course. But until he straight out uses the F-word or goes all Fred Phelps publicly, I'll continue to look at him as a man who said what he believed.

    We all have that right and can do so without judgment or hatred. Don't be so quick to condemn someone whose thinking is different than your own. Life tends to be a bit less annoying.

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

      AELi you are a quiet voice of reason in a raging storm of ignorance. Thank you for your well thought-out and expressed thoughts.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
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