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. Daniel, WA

    I love the spewing hate about spewing hate

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

      They need to stop putting pickles on my chikin sandwich

      July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kevin

    Mr. Cathy? Feminine name. Better check his credentials

    July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. YouAreAHypocrite

    Every time i read your post, i think does this person realize how full of hate they are are too?

    July 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CJ

    I will still eat there from time to time. I do not agree with everything the owner states.
    Their food is ok and they have good service and polite employees.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mukka

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Whether I agree or disagree dude has the right to voice his opinions. Certainly uglier and more horrible things are protected by freedom of speech. Certainly more important things are going on than what this article is about. Put your passions into more important things, like saving our children from horrors worse than death. A horrible drought in our own country that can seriously affect our citizens on so many levels. Get out of peoples bedrooms and take a look at what is happening to our country. Get a grip people.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • WildMontana

      Free speech is fine and so is my right to not patronize his company. This will eventually come down to a war of economics and not necessarily words.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • rsolot

      Exactly! I will exercise my freedom of speech by expressing that I don't have to buy from bigoted people! You can utilize your freedom by criticizing others, but I just won't be giving my money to those who hate as per poilcy.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Penobscot

    Guess I know where I'm eating tonight.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Suzyq

    What happened to tolerance? Tolerance is 2 way street! Conservatives have the right to their beliefs and convictions just like liberals! If you are for it fine, if you are against it fine....whatever! Stop calling people haters because they think differently! There is nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe to be right!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Myto Senseworth

    I wish there were more companies that would take a stand. We would live in a much better country.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sivick

    Well i'm never eating there. It's not like they're the only chicken around, and given the choice i'd rather eat at a company that doesn't hate people for who they love.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alfredo

      They do not hate...they simply disagree. Get over it and eat where you want to eat.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amy

    I am just glad this is not Taco Bell or Arby's public stance because then I would actually have a problem.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Film Professor

    Great Chicken Sandwich, and the Christian stuff is fine with me, but not the hating gays stuff. Would hate to have to find an alternative, but they need to get the politics out of the drive thru

    July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    Ill stop by Chick Filet on my home and grab me some chicken in support of a fine upstanding "RESPECTFUL" business that supports MORALITY! and rejects "SODOMY!" If that makes me a bigot. ASK ME IF I CARE!!

    Thanks Chick Filet! You another customer now!

    July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. geelolickers

    @ rob,
    Somebody answers when asked about their stance on an issue (that really has no consequences on whom they sell food to); you call it spreading hatred. Then you call for physical harm to these people and their families. I've read a lot of CNN comments (contributing to my lack of faith in humanity), but this comment tops the charts of stupidity. Congratulations, call Guiness.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Informed

    Ah, yes, the true face of religion, spreading hate and fear whenever it can. It's all it has left to try to control the masses. Religion's days are numbered, each day it gets harder to fool most of the people all of the time.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kaira

    The left scream “hate” when someone disagrees with their ideology. I’m glad there are still people that are not afraid to stand up for what they believe despite the backlash from the liberals.
    The only species practicing perverted behavior between one gender are the humans.........because Satan does exist!

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