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. longtooth

    I do not belong to any church, and am not gay, and I don't care what you believe or who you sleep with. This company does not exclude anyone for any reason. To try to shut them down because an owner expressed his personal beliefs is fascism. I will try to find a Chick-fill-A and have lunch there ASAP.

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

    I applaud Chik Fil A !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is GREAT that they have not given in to these sickos! I will be dining their more frequently knowing that they stood up for what is right!

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

      Choke on it.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. trisha

    How is their comment hate? They didn't say they hated gay people. They are just stating their belief. I wish more people would stand up for God. He is coming back soon. I pray for all the people who have not accepted jesus as their savior. Gonna be a horrible wrath for all people left.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lux

      LOL jesus aint coming back ever sheeesh and I dont care they got good food even if their beliefs are stupid, i suggest for all those who wont go there anymore go ask the owner of the next fast food place you go what his beliefs are on gay marriage, abortion and god in general before u eat there

      July 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah

    So that's why their chicken sucks. Just kidding though I do hate their food.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Phaedrus

    Though I certainly think Chick-Fil-A is wrong in their opinion I can't find a problem with them expressing their views publicly. If they can handle whatever fiscal failout there may be, all the better for not being hypocrits about the whole thing. I didn't see hate anywhere in the article, just an archaic biblical point of view.

    However... if Chick-Fil-A proves to have taken what I think is probably the next level of this story... that of not hiring someone because of se-x-ual orientation... then I think there would be reason for extreme public outrage. I did not see it in the article, nor have I even heard of incidents of this nature. But... I'll wait for it.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Can people stop with the "I can't believe gays are intolerant of intolerance" line? Hide behind religion all you want, God knows you people did it when it came to justifying your prejudice against blacks and women.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Puckles

    What in the word do chicken sandwiches have to do with Gay marriage? Will someone please tell me?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PK

    Chick-fil-a should be more concerned about making their chicken not soggy and gross instead of how two people live their lives.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Luis

    I just wanna write that I support Chick Fil A and their believes all the way. Not supporting gay marriage doesn't mean you hate gay people. Now gays and lesbians organizations want you to believe that if you don't support openly gay people or lesbians is because you hate them, and that's not it. I admire Chick Fil A because not vey many companies stand firm on their believes,

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

      You mean, like they used to? You know, refusing to serve people who didn't have the same color skin as they did?

      Yeah, thank goodness we have gotten past that, and now accept people as they are.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      If it's not hate, what exactly is it? Enlighten us. (Bigots don't know they're bigots. They're like the ghosts in the Sixth Sense.)

      July 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mikey F

    How longs will it be before people realize ALL religions are based on segregation and bigotry? God doesn't exist anyway. 500 years ago everyone thought the world was flat. It's just a matter of time until people realize their God is a figment of their imagination. If you go to Chick-Fil-A, great, if not, that's cool too.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bribarian

    Finally, someone is standing up to the agenda of this trashy media.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. emas kcihc

    This is wonderful... so many refusing to do business with this company based simply on what some guy says. I think I'll launch a boycott of Chik-fil-A in my town as well.

    I really hate the fact I have to wait so long in the drive through. If I can get enough people to boycott my local restaurant, I shouldn't have to wait as long and may get my delicious sandwich and fries and still have time to eat before my lunch is over.

    Thank you for fighting for something worthwhile!

    July 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jonboy

    http://www.conservapedia.com/PepsiCo,_Inc

    Pepsi supports and sponsors gay pride events all over the country. So how many of you conservative hypocrites are going to say that it's their own business how they want to spend their money and are going to go out and buy a case right now? Conservatives are KING of the boycott for beliefs, unless it's something they agree with, then it's "Jeesh, no big deal."

    July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Swimmer

    At the end of the day, the real losers in this battle are the chickens.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DICK

    Only in America would people come to the defense of a fast food place. Seriously. GET A LIFE YOU FAT SLOBS!!!
    It's processed chicken parts. This is fight you've chosen??
    You are pathetic. And when you're dead from Diabetes in a year, we will all be laughing at you..

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