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. Tony

    Way to Go Chick-fil-A. it is nice to see someone standing up for the true definition of Marriage. We have already lost the real meaning of the word Gay to its modern twisted definition of perversion. I will support Chick-fil-A 3 times more than i already do to make up for anyone that exercises their right to go somewhere else to eat. God Bless Chick-fil-A...

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Piers Morgan, Supervillain

      Yup. Clearly they are doing God's work, for it was Jesus that said "go forth and hate, and kick thy brother and ostracize those that are different. Find reasons to justify brutality toward your brother." That's what I read in the Bible alright.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. beanbowa

    Bravo Chick-fil-A!! It's nice to see people who can stand behind their beliefs and not buckle to pressure to appease the trending popularity game. I love their food and will continue to support them and will encourage others to do the same. They have freedoms like anyone else to have their opinions and feelings and to voice them.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MasPoco

    More chicken for me. No I won't have to wait in line behind the gays for some good chicken!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steven

    We are a Gay couple and have been together for 30 years. To think that this company spends their money to support taking our rights away and not allowing us to share in the same America that straight people do is a shame! We will never spend any of our money at this place again. I can totally understand and support their right to do this....and my right is to not give them my support or money from now on.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chrissi

    AMEN...Sandy Greene. GOD created marriage to be the way HE intended it to be...between one man and one woman. The truth is not hate! It's just the truth! AMEN chick-fil-A I will continue to support your business!!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Disciple


    July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan Cameron

    Don't they use chickens from factory farms and serve incredibly unhealthy food? Its "christian" in word only with the verses printed on the cartons, but their actions are hardly thus, and this gay discrimination only further points to the hollowness of today's modern christian.

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

    looks like I know where I will be going for dinner. Good job chick fil a. I firmly stand in support of someone who believes in marriage & how it should be.... one Man & one Woman.

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

    14 dollars a week, no more, sad, 2012 ?

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

    "you have NO RIGHT to censor anyone whose beliefs differ from yours. "

    And yet CNN does it all the time if they perceive to to be against the gay agenda

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Boinky

    What I like about Chik-fil-A is the fact that I will never be served a gay chicken. Now that is priceless!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim Hahn

    They don't have Chick-fil-As in California, though they are hoping to put one in Mountain View. I don't think it will fly. There will be protestors out there every day until it closes, should it be built. Having Christian values is OK, but using your customers money to actively restrict the rights of those same customers isn't very Christian. They may be pulling out of the political firestorm, but their foundation is certainly not. When you feed your family at Chick-fil-A, you feed that foundation too.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RjTx

    Mr. Cathy has a right to his views and a right to espouse them. However when a business espouses strong views about anything, they risk the chance of losing some of their customer base. I have never eaten there, much, to me the food is bland and mediocre. However my wife likes it quite well. She says she will not go there anymore and I know she will not. She hasn't been in another retailer for 14 years, so I'm sure she will be just as devout about this commitment.

    I will not go there either. This type of hatred and intolerance under the guise of a supposedly loving faith is all too rampant these days, and real people of faith must stand against the style of Christianity (or any faith) that preaches war, hate and violence and espouses intolerance under its label.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shay Dawkins

    Jesus would support LGBT rights if he were here today and I prove this from multiple Biblical Scriptures in my published book, (www.thegoodnewsbook.com). Jesus's only commandments where to love yourself (God dwells within) and love your neighbor as yourself. Chik-fil-a's anti-gay Christianity wasn't Jesus's Christianity nor is it my Christianity.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Williams

    Where is the discrimination against LGBT??!! They have just as much right in this great country of ours as the LGBT"s or have we all forgotten that?! It is not discriminatory to not agree or have or practice the same beliefs as others! That is what this country was founded on! The one sided politically correct agenda in OUR country now makes anyone who speaks out for gay rights a hero and and those who disagree and believe in traditional and or biblical values a criminal! I believe in biblical values and family, I do support gay marriage, if you love someone and want to share your lives, by all means get married! But, do not infer that those who do not believe as you do are discriminating simply because they disagree with you! Freedom is for all of us not just those who agree with todays social and political trends!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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