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. Mingaling

    You are right, having your own believe does not equal "hatred" towards people who were born certain ways, but spending millions of dollar on organizations which oppress equal right does translate into "hatred".

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

    I'm a Christian, but I don't agree with this crap they are saying. Obviously someone jumped over John 8:7 "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”" So why judge someone when it's NOT your right to do so? All the more reason why I don't go to their sponsored stuff or to their restaurants. I'm glad I'm Canadian, I don't have to deal with ignorant "Christians".

    July 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      So basically, you are saying that if someone molests a child, you should still invite them into your home for dinner. Are you kidding?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • I cant believe its not butter!

      Not only that but you get free health care! But dont worry as long as Romney doesnt win we might achieve free health care and gay rights! Cudos to you Canadian Christian

      July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • nottolate


      "Obviously someone jumped over John 8:7 "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”" So why judge someone when it's NOT your right to do so?

      You're no Christian if those are your sentiments. Obviously you just jumped right over Matt 5:13. Christians are called to point out sin when they see it. Otherwise they are essentially good for noting. Your citing of John 8:7 then amounts to eisegesis.

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

      1) he didnt judge
      2) he merely stated the Biblical truth as stated in the Old and New Testaments.
      3) Telling the truth is not hatred, calling people names, attempting to blackmail them financially for stating their belief , putting down people because God "offends" you-that is hatred.
      But you know what? Love is extended to all and not just the "pure/chaste/obedient" people. Let the man have his opinion and you have yours. If you want to boycott, by all means do. But you have NO RIGHT to censor anyone whose beliefs differ from yours. Atheists, agnostics, other non-Judeo-Christian or Muslim faiths DO NOT HAVE THE ONLY CLAIM TO THE 1ST AMENDMENT.

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

      You're ingorant if you think there aren't Christians in Canada.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      There aren't ignorant Christians in Canada?!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • PraynWarrior

      Wow Krista! Time to re-evaluate your idea of being a Chistian. Words like "crap" and "ignorant Christian" to express yourself tells me you are casting a few stones yourself!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AndreaH

    It should not shock people that the Chick-fil-a restaurants are against Gay Marriage the other things against the bible, it was started as a Christian restaurant and has been since it's start. There is no reason to be shocked. It wouldn't be such a big thing if it was started by another religon.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoeSchmoe

      You're right. Nobody would protest Chick-fil-a if they served halal meat and gave money to Muslim charities.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rmatangi

    The Chick-fil-A statement did not contain one iota of hatred. The only hatred I hear is coming from the people that disagree with Chick-fil-A. I think that would be the same groups that constantly demand "tolerance' for their "lifestyle choices."

    July 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      Are you male or female? If you're female, you shouldn't be voicing your opinion, it's what the Bible says. Kinda contradicting yourself a little there. Plus if you're male, you're supposed to live Christ-like (we all are really). Yet you aren't. No judging here, just making a point that what you said is very...amusing.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      are you being purposely dense? They have contributed 3 million dollars to anti-gay organizations that actively try to suppress gay righst and take rights away form gays and their families. Gays are raising 2 million children in this country-they are affaceting children! fortunately, the tide is turning-in a few years, Chik Fil La will start to hurt and close their stores

      July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missknowitall

      Krista, dont be daft. That is not a valid argument and neither is the one about child molesting. I dont see these peoples' outrage over other things. They have time to tweet their displease. Well, I hoped they tweeted the Russian and Chinese leaders about their support for a man who is killing his people because they dont have same rights! Oh, thats right they are toooooooo busy trying to take away MY RIGHT to say I dont agree with them. Oh Boohoo, grow up.Not everyone is going to agree or love you all the time. Shake it off and keep going. True Christians do, they simply are told to shake off the sand from their feet and move along. Not to legalize their right to be awed and tolerated by all.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sharonrob2

    Awesome. They've got my business. Love that they aren't allowing the culture to impose its values on their company standards, regardless of the whether or not they're Christian. Most people are anti-gay marriage, but most won't admit it outloud. That doesn't make the bigots.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      Sharonrob-thats why youre 40lbs overweight-stop eating there for health reasons if you insist on being a bigot against millions of gays and their children-fat pig

      July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Synthetically Thought...

      Actually, statistics show that most people are in favor of Gay marriage. Studies are showing more folks are tolerant of other's life styles as long as it does not affect them personally. It is only the extreme right Christians that fear anyone who might be different than what their church wants them to be.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. xfiler93

    I plan on eating their more and more.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • clevercandi

      You plan to eat "their" WHAT???

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

    Time for Bojangles to go nationwide. Best fast-food chicken on the planet.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ted

    If you don't like the way a business does business then go someplace else. It's obvious they don't want to cater to the gay community, so fine, go someplace else. I'm sure their customers don't want to hang around a bunch of blazers either.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. asdf

    I bet their employee uniforms are poly-blend. Hypocrites.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Peace2All

    I have had the opportunity to work with private companies, who's owners were evangelical christians. In my observation, everyone was expected whether it was through slightly overt, or even inferred verbal direction or actions that everyone needed to tow-the-line about the bible, jesus, etc...

    I literally interviewed the employees. Fact is... they didn't like it, at all. Management tended towards abusiveness, more so, (in general) than non-christian companies.

    Bottom-line they were awful to deal with in general, and had to turn attorney's on them 'always' to get them to pay. Never had a problem with secular companies in paying.


    July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. staceycochran

    Time for Bojangles to go nationwide. Best chicken on the planet.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. josh hinkle

    to me during all this about the head guy of the chick-fil-A is just looking for attention. he is just looking to push people's buttons on the issue of Gay marriage to see how many people would support his restaurant vs the people who are upset over his comments about gay marriage. he is the type of person to start something and then in the end, his comments can really hurt him and the hard workers of his company and the many stores that people try to make a living in.

    im against this because of his lack of respect towards gay marriage and im considering boycotting chick-fil-a because of the guy who makes ugly comments about gay marriage.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oh Well

    Boy, do they come out of the woodwork when you mention the word Gay!

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

    Why do people call it hate when someone stands up for what they believe? I admire Dan Cathy for his stand. It has nothing to do with hate but everything to do with living what you believe. I had a cousin I loved dearly who was gay and died of aids. But I didn't agree with his lifestyle. I have members of my family who live differently than what I believe but I still love them. Should I stop buying from people who promote gay lifestyles? That is stupid -sometimes we need to agree to disagree.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Free Soda

    I could care less whether they support the family or gay marraige or whatever they want to support or condemn. If they keep making awesome chicken sandwiches and waffle fries I'm a gunna keep goin.

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