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. JC

    How does Mr. Cathy's statement lead those who differ to statements of intolerance and hatred? Get a dictionary people, then read what you post and see who it is that promotes hate and intolerance.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marlon A. D.

    Everyone is right to point out that nowhere does Mr. Cathy say anything about hating anybody. We can't know if he hates gay people. What we do know is that Mr. Cathy believes that some, 'other' people are undeserving, ineligible, or unfit to recieve the same rights and privliges that he enjoys. Mr. Cathy credits his Christianity for his personal view. Christian? That's not for me to say. I can say that it hardly seems American.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Guest

    As with any business, if you don't agree with what they stand for then don't be their customer.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kit

    All of you who are bashing Chic-fil-A, you are picking on the wrong one. They are just trying to live, as is their right, to trust and believe in what God, Jesus Christ if you will, has established as right and wrong. So when you meet Him, and you will, tell Him how hateful and bigoted you think His ideas are and by the way don't forget to thank Him for the eyes you have to read this. You folks really need something to be happy about. Way to go Chic-fil-A!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Informed

      If we believed what JC said, then we should all become Christian terrorists and kill all those who are not Christian. Those were his words.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • kt@the beach

      @Informed: Sorry, wrong religion. JC said," Love thy neighbor as you love thyself." Try again.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason H.

    Perhaps those of you who post negative comments regarding Chick-fil-A's stance on gay marriage should do some soul searching and think about what the word "Tolerance" means.. Look up hypocrisy while your at it.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Informed

    Religion, what a waste of time and resources.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • michaeldw

      This is what I don't get. I really dislike religion, but I also don't condone gay marriage. Since marriage is that of a religious practice, and it was written thousands of years ago (or so they say) then why get mad at them? OH GOD I'M GAY OR LIBERAL AND SOMEONE DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME BELIEFS AS ME! /Hatebash.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • damoe54st

      Amen to that! lol

      July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • CV


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

    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.

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

    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.

    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 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. basketcase

    As much as I personally disagree with his views, I don't see it as a reason that I can't enjoy good food every now and then, and honestly the statement quoted here isn't particularly offensive. It's fking fried chicken, I don't really care if the company is owned by a couple of bible thumpers. If he was advocating genocide or something horrific like that, I might be persuaded to avoid it (although it would be pretty tough to resist) but his personal opinions and a comment as tame as that aren't going to stop me from enjoying some good food.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Texan

    Facts are always facts... when someone talking about facts, how it becomes hate... When people feel facts are hate, they are the one hating fact.... So who is the haters here???? Come on news media please don't give too many advertisements for hate.... There is thousands dying in Africa and Asia daily and do something for them....

    July 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. damoe54st

    Not sure what the problem is here. Some chump expresses his opinion and while I don't agree with it, it is just an opinion. And everyone has one. But IF the bible says that the marital unit is one man and one woman, the bible also says you can sell your daughter into slavery, or we should kill everybody who works on a Sunday?. Does Mr Cathy practice that as well, or is he like most religious fanatics that he only takes what he wants from the bible and disregards the rest if it isn't convienient for his narrow minded ways? I've eaten at that place once and cannot for the life of me figure out why people think it is so good. It's just chicken, deep fried, on a crummy roll.

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

      What I question is his statement "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit." last time I read the bible, i saw all kinds of family units, usually with multiple wives.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Just because someone does not believe in your lifestyle does not mean they hate you. The left has been trying to spread that fear mongering message for too long now! As someone wrote on here... I know many Christians that do not spread a message of HATE against LGBT... however the LGBT community does. So who is really hating?

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

      More deceit. The "left" (though this also includes some on the "right") does not seek to deny Christians/straight people/whatever the ability to marry.

      Marriage equality opponents (who include people on the "right" and the "left") do.

      You're equivocating between advocating against someone's rights and criticism of said advocacy is wretched at best, and downright deceitful at worst: an attempt to paint the victims as "bullies" and the bullies as "victims".

      July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ladytee

    I will continue to support Chick fil A and their Christian based values.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. janetlaw

    Quit eating fast-food loooong ago. Put a chicken in ther oven, people, and save yourself money and calories....oh, and processed crap and hate-mongering too. Its not that hard.

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

    I don't agree with the gay lifestyle, but, that doesn't mean I would wish harm or pain on them in any shape or form. People are people regardless.. I do however applaud Chic-Fil-A and their stance.. They stand by what they believe, what they believe to be truth from there Christian beliefs...and won't be swayed by political correctness bull. If only our esteemed politicians would show such balls, our Nation would be sooo much better.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lau

    I would just like to say that someone standing up for their beliefs does not make it hatred and intolerance. Although I do not agree with Chik Fil A's statement and I am for gay marriage, I do believe everyone has a right to their beliefs and we shouldn't label it as hatred or intolerance because they express that belief. It becomes hatred and intolerance when it is used to cause hurt or malice. I do not believe Chik Fil A has done this, they have merely stated their beliefs and stood by it. Why is that wrong? The gay community does the same thing and it's not labeled as hate or intolerance.

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