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. djwakefield

    It is rare that a business, or any public figure for that matter, is willing to stand up for absolute truth in a culture that denies the existing of such truth. The backlash Chick Fil-A is receiving as a result of their stance on marriage is of no surprise, because the world has been hating what is good ever since the beginning. For those interested in a brief biblical description of what is happening here, take a look at Romans 1:20-27 and Romans 3:23. However, in spite of all this, God has made the provisions necessary for reconciliation to Him through Jesus: Romans 5:8, Romans 8:1, and John 14:6. Something to consider while there's still time...

    July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rich

    True, nobody has to eat there. Vote with your feet, people… and your wallets. BTW, the bible does not condone bigotry. Nor does it define a “traditional family unit”. It astonishes me how people distort religion (whether it be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, whatever) to justify their own hatred and narrow-mindedness.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jessica

    I love Chick-Fil-A. Why is it so wrong for a company to say that it does not support gay marriages but it is ok for other companies to say that they do? I will keep supporting Chick-Fil-A. It's awesome that nowing the backlash that they would get they still stand by beliefs! May God keep blessing them.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dizrat

    YEEEAH!!! "Eat Mor Chikin"

    July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chick Fil a Food Poisioning

    Never mind their ethics- you wouldnt eat here if you see how many heal code violations at their filtly disgusting restaurants and the food quality. WOULD NEVER EAT HERE, unless you like salmonella poisioning!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rob

    I'll never understand why Rethuglican, conservative, right-wing, religious fanatics think they can force other normal people to accept their deviant views and lifestyle. They love to tell other people how to live their lives, while their own lives are in shambles. The Christian (esp. Catholic, Mormon, Evangelical, and Southern Baptist) Taliban in this country are going to face a violent wake up call soon if they keep trying to spread their hatred, intolerant views, and intolerant actions on normal Americans. And it is patently unfair that gays and their loved ones should be devastated by discriminatory actions, while the bigots and their families go about enjoying their lives as if nothing is wrong. It's time to start making bigots pay for the discriminatory actions they take. When they have to pay a price, they might start to rethink their actions. I would urge anyone reading this to take WHATEVER ACTIONS POSSIBLE to harm Chick-Fil-A personnel or property, Dan Cathy, other members of the Cathy family, or their loved ones, to make them pay for the harm they are doing to the people they discriminate against.

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

      WOW! You need an anger management class. And, a dose of reality.

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

      Rob – you just crossed the line. You would encourage people to harm people/property with views you don't agree with? I just reported you – see ya!!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chelley

      You are advocating people commit harm against those who don't agree with you and you can't see the hatred in that?
      SHEESH, you are ten times worse then the people at Chick fil A. They aren't suggesting people hurt gays, they just made a stand for their beliefs and now you want them wiped off the face of the earth.

      Thank you for clarifying the mind of those who support gay lifestyle.

      I hope the FBI reads your comment and pays you a visit.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You are not normal ,you are weird!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jinla

    What's the big deal? Mr. Cathay is a Christian owner of a company speaking to a Baptist magazine. What else would anyone expect? If you don't want to buy product from anyone who differs from your LGBT marriage views then don't and leave it at that.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cashmeremafia

    Who cares what they think? They're not making policy, just chicken sandwiches LOL As long as they don't deny service to anyone for any irrational reason, that's their business.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sdr65

    Not news to me and I have not spent a dollar there in 10 years. In a way, it's kind of a good thing the statement was made / people become aware. But it is free enterprise, and if you want to spend your ckicken dollars there, go ahead. I won't.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      I thank God for people like him..not afraid to take a stand for Biblical teaching..last day people will try decive other saying whats bad good..whats good they say it's bad. So I go with what Bible says...

      July 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    Wow, so nice to see these people figuring out how the free market works. You don't like a product of the people who make it, don't purchase that product. Congrats and welcome to Capitalism!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hvtgeorgia

    I personally support gay marriage, but I also love Chick-Fil-A, and do not plan on boycotting them because of their decision. Chick-Fil-A is the exception, rather than the rule when it comes to fast food. They offer great food, superior service, they value their employees, they go above and beyond to provide extras such as movie nights, father/daughter and mother/son special events, camp outs, etc. They have remained firm about not being open on Sunday because they value their beliefs more than their profits. So while I personally do not agree with this particular part of their beliefs, I feel they are still the best fast food restaurant and feel others could learn something from them.

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

      I don't care what the owners think.

      Question is: Do they discriminate in hiring practices? Illegal if they do.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Curly

    So funny watching gays go after Chick-Fil-A. "Chicken nugguts filled with hate"? ROFL. Is there any organization you won't go after? If they support Christian values, they're "hate mongers", yet when they don't support gays, gays start...wait for it...hate mongering. Gays...a group of people who will never, ever be appeased no matter how many concessions they win.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Meghan

    Our company buys lunch for our weekly department managers and supervisors meeting. Chick-Fil-A was one of about six or seven take out places we brought food in from. Granted we only spent about $120/month with them. At least that's $120/month they won't have to spread their hateful nonsense.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • geelolickers

      They're not spreading hate. They were asked what their stance was, and they answered. Gasp! Not everybody agrees with you 🙁

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

    Chick-fil-a's belief is not hate. IT'S BELIEF...PLAIN & SIMPLE. I can believe one thing without hating the opposite of it. I have a cousin whom is gay and when we see each other, I hug him, tell him I love him, and we laugh and talk the whole time. But I do not support his life style because I believe in the bible. I don't know of any Christians that hate gays just becasue of what they do. But I have met some gays that spew out hate about a Christian just becasue they do not support them.

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

      PraynWarrior: Depends on their hiring practices. The executives can think what they want, but if they discriminate in who they hire, that is where the problem is. Do they?

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

      Very well written.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennifer

      it's impossible to believe "in the bible", as it implies you believe in everything it which it says (which you don't) agree or disagree, but don't hide

      July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • robc

      I'm a gay man and I am in support of Chick-Fil-A's right to feel and believe how they do. I think everyone has a right to feel/believe as they wish, and that includes all feelings/beliefs...even the ones we don't like. I applaud Chick-Fil-A for standing up for what they feel is right.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nathan gildersleeve

    eat more beef..

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