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.

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

"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.

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

soundoff (4,679 Responses)
  1. geelolickers

    "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,"

    That's the quote that's getting people worked up? haha! They are a FOOD COMPANY! You EAT there, you don't get married there! Geeze you people need to chill out!

    What does a food company's stance on gay marriage have to do with anything? It's an opinion; there's no "discrimination." Now if CF decided to not sell food to LGBT people, that would be discrimination, and you'd have something to complain about, but even then that would be their choice. Go ahead and take your business elseware; go ahead and boycott every company that has leadership that disagrees with you on anything; you may not find anyplace to eat, but at least you'd feel powerful, right?

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

      Great comment.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Obama Mama

    I have never eaten there. But just wanted to comment people comment and know more about a food place than who they vote for.

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

    Saying you "disagree" with extending rights to people holds more weight than just an "opinion". There is no difference between what this fast food chain "believes" and any restaurant in the past that "believed" in opposing integration. being against equal rights is all the same. Taking a side when you sell fried chicken, is actively opposing equal rights. There was no reason for these people to assert their backwards beliefs on this issue. in 50 years they will look archaic and foolish.

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

      Those that opposed integration had policies which directly affected minorities ability to eat in their establishemnts. That is very different then what is happening here. No one is being denied admission here. Your suggestion that the actions of 50 years ago equates with the beliefs and words of Chick Fil-A is an affront to those who fought to integrate the kitchen counters 50 years ago. You can vote with your feet (Chick Fil A knew that people would and rather than lie about, they put it out there) but don't say its the same as segregation.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jonathan Nichols

    I keep seeing responses of people claiming CFA is full of hate for not supporting gay rights. Just becuase you don't support something doesn't mean you hate it.

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

      Please review how to spell "because".

      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. terrab

    I'm always amazed how people who want tolerance and understanding can be so intolerant when someone has a different belief.

    "Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," – How is Chick-fil-A a hate monger? Because their founder has a different belief? I don't see them saying they don't serve gays or gays aren't people. Gays get the same EQUAL service there as anyone else and are treated no different. How is that hate mongering? How are their nuggets "filled with hate" when they treat everyone EQUALLY?

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

    Ok...I get that you have opinions and have the right to have them and voice them to whomever you want. But to voice them through a company that sells to, employs (at least 2 at our nearest location), and markets to gays (as we are humans who need to eat) it is wrong in all aspects. Chick-Fil-A takes my money and then insults me and attempts to tilt public opinions with bigotry remarks. Not to mention giving money to politicians and organizations who work to take away my rights as an American and a human being. Dan Cathy is no Christian....he is a hate monger. I hope they know how many customers they have lost and that we are working to make that number more than they can ever imagine. Do you think God would approve of them taking gays money and then telling Gays they don't deserve rights?

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

    Good job Chick-fil-A!!!
    To those that’s going to boycott Chick-fil-A, do you really think they care…???

    July 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank Jimmies

    Then don't buy there!
    But I, for one, appreciate the fact that at least one company out there supports their values, and sticks with them. Despite what the value is, seeing as they have some is something that's hard to find these days.
    This shouldn't be 'news' to anyone, and I will continue to go there. Probably more often.

    Fun fact: Marriage is a religious concept. If you want to fix the issue, get government out of marriage. Simple.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      Or religion out of government.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lifeknoxhard

    I have heard that one of the cows in their advertising is gay, and he is refusing to do more ads!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim in Florida

    Everytime I think of left wing twits like you I think of high taxes, substandard services, long lines at the doctor's office, bigotry against people who hold religious beliefs, race card players, class warfare advocates, Federal destruction of anything resembling a decent education system, psuedo intellectualism, dead people voting, illegals voting, government handouts to people not qualified, ya know, stuff like that. Well, its lunch time, guess I 'll head down to Chich a Fil for a sandwich – that is my choice – don't worry Palin Twit – I bet they will take your EBT card.
    BTW – oh ye who are quite ignorant of history – this country was founded with a Tes Party in Boston Harbor

    July 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jorgath

    I completely and respectfully disagree with the leadership of Chick-fil-A on this subject. I will not spend money at Chick-fil-A. But I approve of them sticking up for their opinion, and I will defend to the death their right to say what they believe.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Jimmies

      Thank you.
      I'll be continuing to eat there, though 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. alkoholic

    Does this mean they won't be using any gay chickens in their meals??

    July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ian

      sadly, probably not...only straight ones.

      you will not read about jesus eating there! if he did, show me the verse and chapter.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cattu

    Why is it wrong to say what you feel is true in your heart but to be called bigoted for saying it. We are getting to a point in our society were we can not say what we feel with out some one saying we are wrong or bigoted. What happened to freedom of speech. It is a dieing thing. This is what makes hate between all.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      You are free to say what's in your heart, and other's are free to call you bigoted for it. this is America.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charles

    not a big deal.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bullygirl

    What a sad state this country has stooped to when a US citizen cannot voice his moral beliefs when he is ask. He did not say he hated gays or displayed any hatred for them. The man was ask and he simply stated what he believes. The problem here is not what he said-but who he is. If this had been a reporter randomly stopping people on the streets of any major US city and asking this same question-would the ones that answered the same way Mr. Cathy did, have caused such a firestorm that this has created. I'm not for Gays-I'm not against Gays. I have several gay friends. I accept them for who they are and the way they believe and they accept me for who I am and the way I believe. My thoughts are: Don't try to make me think your way of life is right and I won't try to make you think my way of life is right. You will know who was right and who was wrong when you meet your maker. We all may be in for the surprise of our lives.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172