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. springthecat

    So, which came first? The chicken filet or the egg McMuffin? I expect an equally civil and intelligent conversation as what I've been reading.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      the egg Mac mufin obvisily came frst you must b a hatter off egges

      July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Martin

    If beliefs are tied to business's like this is it safe to assume that they would indeed inflect there beliefs in their operations and employees, how many minorities are silently discriminated against when the drivers of the corporate systems apply personal belief to a business environment, if you have a personal bias fine keep it to yourself but when your a public representation of your business if you choose to voice your beliefs as a company outlook you have basically said that your a practising bigot and your company is being used as an extension of your own hate.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. J.T. Marsh

    You know the only "hatemongering" is not the Chicken place but the people that don’t like what one persons opinion or companies stance is. I got news for you people they are a Christian based business. As in run by Christian values. "Most" churches also disagree with gay and gay values. Is that bad?? I don’t know why it would be.. Its what a person believes. We do live in a free county. I don’t support Gay marriage but I have friends that lives that life style. So ill eat my Chicken at the mall then ill go shop at J.C. Penny’s with they gay ads and buy clothes for my kids. Know why? That’s my freedom and my money. I have the freedom to agree or not to agree. I respect there business and personal choice as much as I respect J.C. Penny’s. You Religious people and you pro gay people that are enjoying your right to express your beliefs should also respect the right for other peoples to express there beliefs. If we only had one way to beleve or express it would not be freedom would it?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rell

      Very true! I completely agree.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NJ

      Along those lines, J.T Marsh, I hope the racists out there put together a "White Power" based business of their own. 'Bout time we could see the haters for who they are.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathyvarealty


      July 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. patrick

    It's silly for anyone to care who anyone else marries, biblical or not. That said, chick-fil-A makes a mean chicken salad and lemonade so i'm going to continue to eat there.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lynn

    I support Gay marriage, but I also support a person's right to personal opposition to it. What I do not support is any government's right to make laws on it. If I boycotted every business led by someone that did not hold all my beliefs there would be few places left for me to patronize. Opposition to Gay marriage does not always translate to hate. Each person must act as their conscience dictates.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Man, the LGBT community is not a tolerant group are they?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlon A. D.

      I think you'll find it universally true that marginalized groups enduring intolerance tend to become rather intolerant of the intolerance they're forced to endure. Think much, Mike?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NJ

      Perhaps if you had a daughter who was gay, and she was beaten for it, you might be less tolerant of intolerance.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bigotry-fil-A

      not when our civil rights are trampled

      July 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David1234

    The bible says God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NJ

      More importantly, Jesus said,
      Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

      Also, Judge NOT, lest YE be JUDGED.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bluey

    What a pack of hypocrites you pro gay marriage people are. He didn't say anything about hating anyone, he stood by his belief as believer of the Word and that's it. Get over yourselves, I'm sick to death having your lives shoved down my throat every time I read the news or turn on the idiot box! Anybody who doesn't agree with you is labeled a hater. Not the case...we just don't think you should be able to get married..so buzz off!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • killyourself

      kill yourself

      July 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ladonna

    If you don't like their beliefs don't eat or work there. Problem solved. No everyone move along .... there's nothing to see here.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NJ

      Right, ladonna! And if they tell people they hate black people, or women, that's their right too, right? O wait.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike in NJ

    Mmmmm, Hate-Nuggets! I think I shall pass.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MJ

    I'm not chicken to stand again the Chick

    July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry

    The stance on marriage had NO effect on their food. It always seems that liberals can have opinions and never be questioned. But let a person of faith and a conservative speak out and he is vilified. I am proud of Cathy for expressing his opinion. It does not mean that he hats gays. Get over yourself. Allow other people to have opinions without calling them names. Buy your chicken somewhere else. My guess is that receipts to CFA will not go down much just as tem being closed on Sunday does not hurt them.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Margaret

    t is not Chick-fil-A's christian stance that is at issue for me, sticking to what you believe is important – But actively giving money to organizations that are preventing people from living they way they believe to be right is the real issue. I would rather they not spend my money in that manner, so they no longer will receive my money. And they have not since I found out about their practices of their preaching last November.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MJ

    I'm not chicken to stand against the chick

    July 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. i love my country

    when we have people that will stand up for there religion we have you the [ quot ] athiest to show us how mutch hate can spew out of your mouthes

    July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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