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. Timothy

    I have no problem with Mr. Cathy's position on "christian values", that is his right as an american. However, do his "christian" beliefs also mean that his company has the option to discriminate in hiring and promotions against those who do not fit their definition of "christian"?

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

    Oh good grief, the people that are saying they'll never eat there again, don't eat there anyway. LOL They're just making a political point and already know Chick- fil- a's stand on things, pfffttt. Chick- fil- a has long lines out of the parking lot just about everyday. The more these people try to break another American company, the more people go. Now I'm craving a chicken sandwich. 😀

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

      ME....TOO.....THIS TOPIC IS MAKING ME HUNGRY....THINK ILL HOP ON DOWN TO CHICK-FILET.....

      July 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • maestra730

      You are absolutely right. Chick-fil-A food tastes great, and American is a fast-food nation. Bunch of gay-rights zealots spouting off about nothing. Everyone's sick of listening to them.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      I'll see you next week Chick-Fil-A.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • phelonius

      on the contrary, i have been a weekly patron of Chick-filled-hate and had no idea about their religious affiliations or short sided political views. had they kept those unfortunate opinions to themselves, they would still enjoy my business. however, i will no longer be choosing to do business with people who openly defy reasonable social policy (despite my absolute adoration of their chicken sandwiches and bbq sauce). and i certainly will not allow my hard earned dollars to go to a corporation who spends part of those proceeds on such a hateful cause. if you want to throw millions of dollars at a cause, choose one that actually helps people. what a ridiculous business move.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian D

    Mr. President, you will be accountable on the last day of Judgment for your leadership of this country. Any Bible historian knows what happened to the militant people of Sodom and Gomorrah as they sank into utter moral decay. Lord grant repentance to our country so they we don't go the way of many civilizations of the past that deviated off the moral compass they once held. Too many have it wrong today. The Christian continues to love the sinner and hate the sin. The sinner takes out his hate on the one that doesn't agree with his set of morals because men love darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.

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

      Do no put words in God's mouth.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • recovering

      The words you choose to use give le to the claim to "love the sinner"...fundamentalists of every creed call the lies and hatred they spew Truth", while any questioning proves the questioner to be an apostate.

      Frankly, I am appalled at the presumption. To say you know what the Lord thinks is to commit a far worse sin-you are claiming to know the explicitly unknowable. And it shows that you are twisting God's word to force it into supporting your own, personal, hate-filled agenda.

      Why, exactly, did you choose to address your note to Mr. President? The President of the United States is not mentioned in this article, at all.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grant

    I understand the frustration of the lgbt community, but to say they have "discriminatory practices" is just untrue. If they were to deny gays a chicken sandwich on the principle that they are gay, that is discriminatory. The CEO expressing his opinion is, well... Free speech

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

      Excellent point!

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

      You put that very well. I'm an Atheist, but the man has a right to his beliefs, just don't push your beliefs on me. I think the gay and lesbian community are becoming a little too sensitive – and I truly don't care what kind of lifestyle anyone lives, as long as there are no victims. The so called "Rev. Phelps" is another story – I believe he is a "closet gay", along with half of his flock.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cubuff70

    Seriously, nowhere did I read that Chick-fil-A hates LGBTs or plans on boycotting them. In fact, just the opposite, they said they would serve anyone, regardless of race, color, creed, or religion. Unlike not being open on Sunday, this opinion will have no affect on how often they serve their customers. It's just an opinion and those are like a**holes: everyone's got one so get over it and let's eat some chicken! 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. iheartyou

    I have no problem with this company running their business according to their "moral values". What I do take umbrage at is their hypocrisy. Where are Mr. Cathy's comments about divorce? And children born out of wedlock? And adultery? These things are hardly "the biblical definition of the family unit". Why his public stance on only gay marriage? And I suppose then that he supports men marrying their cousins (as they do in his "holy" book). And he has stones ready and waiting for any man who feels he has to kill his wife for not being a virgin on their wedding night. etc. etc. etc.. I also assume that he hires no Jews or Atheists and that he has NEVER lied, misled, or misrepresented his company on tax forms or in any other way. Listen here Dan Cathy – you are certainly free to feel the way you do and run your business as you see fit (within the law), but can you at least not be a raging hypocrite about it. It may garner you more respect. But then again, I suppose that is asking too much. Most loud, outspoken, judgmental, "christians" are raging hypocrites – it's almost like they're proud of it or something. I find that a lot of "christians" pick and choose parts of the bible that fit into their current form of bigotry at any given moment.

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

      Thank you. This is not a Christian belief–at least not among my friends who called themselves Christian. This is the belief of certain people who also happened to be Christian.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DJCowboy

    While I don't agree with their beliefs, they aren't spreading hate. Not anywhere in their statement did they say, "gays aren't allowed" in one of their stores. I'm sure her beliefs don't reflect all of their employees either. People tend to forget that freedom to express yourself and your beliefs is a two way street, you're going to run into people who don't accept your beliefs so that means they shouldn't be able to express their own?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. andy

    hey they got the best darn CHICKEN ....period!!!....ill continue to give them my business.....this is AMERICA, the last time i checked.....FREEDOM of SPEECH!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael Doody

    Do we now expect that every company in the country will have to take a corporate stance on gay marriage? How about a stance on free range chicken. That really has an impact on their customers. Serves them right if they lose business. This announcement is a self-inflicted wound that has nothing to do with values of any sort for Chic-fil A. Stick to selling chicken.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thgraham

    Being gay myself, I do not plan on altering my decision to eat at Chick-Fil-A. The fact of the matter is that he has a freedom of speech and regardless of what he says, the reality of the situation is that Mr. Cathy is a "nothing" in the realm of the political world that makes decisions. He has absolutely zero relevance in the gay marriage debate.

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

      Nice to see some common sense for a change.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Richard

    Are you serious....its freakin food idiots. How bout worrying about real issues like the millions of people who are starving hmmm? Just another stupid story.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. I cant believe its not butter!

    And no one would say a God hating word if this was the Muslim owned business. But as a Christian I think people hold us to higher standards, because we sometimes sound so condeming. I do not agree with the comments made by the owners, but I do agree with them letting this go to the political arena, while they keep helping charities, so while all of you condemn Chick-Fil-A they have done a hell lot more of good than you have.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Calvin

    Thank God -I'm heading for Chick Filet now!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. clevercandi

    Never did like the place anyway.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Orlando Allan

    So....before we dine out, we should interview the restaurant brass to ensure they share our religious and political beliefs? I imagine many of us would starve. And, how in the world is this news worthy - who really cares?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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