Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage
How do you feel about Chick-fil-A and its president's views on same-sex marriage? Share your comments below.
July 19th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Guilty as charged" was the response from Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage. There was a social-media uproar about Cathy's statements, but many of CNN.com's readers expressed support for his right to say and believe what he wants.

Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage causing a social storm

Omekongo Dibinga, an iReporter from Washington, was one of those voices. He says the Chick-fil-A exec "did nothing wrong."

"We shouldn't be surprised that an organization that sticks to its Christian principles would have issues with gay marriage," Dibinga says, adding, "We can't get into this mentality of thinking that everybody who is against gay marriage is homophobic in some way, shape or form."

A lot of our readers had similar things to say.

Dan: "I'm gay. I don't care. If I ceased buying products from companies that did things I didn't like, then I'd be Amish. I don't make political choices when I eat out (though, for the record, I actually don't like CFA's food or any fast food for that matter). I go out to eat to fill my belly."

But a few readers were not happy with Chick-fil-A.

Joe Brown: "How backward and ignorant ... how sad. No more Chick-fil-A for me. I am not in the stone-casting business as a Christian."

Norm: "I knew they were like this and I shouldn't have been eating there before. Now this just gives me the extra boost to avoid them completely."

Others said they loved the restaurant even more after this news.

Bobington: "I am going to go eat at Chick-fil-A tonight."

Greg Tanner: "Chick-fil-A! Yay! My love for this company and their products has just tripled. I've always loved their chicken. I was always bummed yet respected them for closing on Sundays. Even though I'm a foxhole Christian and don't practice any particular religion, I do wholly believe that marriage is between a man and woman. I also love the Boy Scouts. Stand up for what you believe!"

Many defended Cathy's right to say what he said.

Steveds: "Someone asked him his opinion. What, is he locked into only chicken-related discussion because he runs a chicken place? That's (absurd). Agree with his opinion or don't, but let's leave the defenseless (and delicious) chicken out of this! Will anyone please think of the chicken?"

Another reader was sympathetic.

Jon: "Mr. C. is not trying to force you to do anything. He is merely stating his moral standards in public, standards which you refuse to accept. That is not hate. That is not discrimination. That is intolerance, but it's intolerance of evil behavior, and that's laudable. If you are offended by that, then that's your fault. Admit it and stop spewing hate."

For a lot of our readers, the issue is not so black and white.

i821776: "You can look at this both ways. Chick-fil-A has a right to be anti-marriage equality, and we as customers have a right to no longer go there and give them our money, whether you support the decision or you don't. Chick-fil-A has a right to 'run their business their way,' and we as customers have a right to choose how we look at/complain about how they run their business (that is how the economy works, after all ...). I agree that labeling Chick-fil-A as a 'hate group' is going a bit too far considering (it isn't) going around causing bodily harm or mental harassment. That being said, I disagree with the CEO's choice of supporting biblical marriage over equality for everyone and may have second thoughts if ever deciding to eat there again."

The following commenter even admires Cathy despite disagreeing with him.

James PDX: "I am very proud of people who stand firm in their beliefs despite harsh criticism from others. It's just a shame that Dan Cathy's beliefs are stupid."

There are other ways of looking at marriage, too, according to some commenters.

Karen: "Also, as a divorced and remarried individual, should I be upset? Uh ... no."

A company can believe what it wants, says another reader.

Roy: "The one thing I can't stand in this country is when a privately held company exercises its right to free speech! What is America coming to? Next thing you know, they'll be demanding freedom of religion and freedom of the press! Where are our founding fathers, like Stalin, when you need them?!

One reader wants to vote with his wallet.

Jeff: "He has a right to his beliefs and I have a right to take my money elsewhere, which I will."

Many readers said that tolerance has to work both ways.

ck: "Mr. Cathy is just politely stating his religious beliefs. I don't recall him gay-bashing or making any hateful remarks. Remember, what is in the heart of a man comes out of his mouth."

What's your take? Do you eat at Chick-fil-A, and will you continue to do so? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. California

    And CNN, This is anything but "complete coverage" on this issue.

    Why is CNN following in NBC's below tabloid footsteps?

    August 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chad

    I think it was wrong for him to make a company statement about it. Can you imagine how his gay employees now feel? I think its irresponsible to run a company like that but its his choice. There are no chik fi las were I live in NY so i dont have to worry about them anyways.

    August 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • California

      It was a PERSONAL statement and not a company one.

      ALSO it is a privately owned comany.

      August 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      It was NOT simply a personal statement. CFA as a company engages in anti-gay activism around the US and world. It's vile, and those of us who are LGBT, or have LGBT friends & loved ones, will stand up to it.

      August 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Not to worry Chad, I also live in NY, and called Chick-Fil-A, inviting them to come to our state and open many franchises... even though NY is a liberal state, there are still some Americans here.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Keep in mind Chad, any LGBT employees he has are welcome to find employment elsewhere (as are mine).

      I wasn't "elected" to the position of business owner, and I don't run a democracy in any of my businesses. If an employee doesn't like what I or my businesses represent, they're welcome to find new employment... no hard feelings.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • scendonp

      Amen TJ, glad to see some people are thinking with a level head in this situation.

      You are free to stand up for your beliefs, as are the rest of us. That is what is great about this country. You are not, however, free to force your beliefs on me or anyone else. If Dan Cathy wants to contribute some of the money HIS company earned to further his beliefs, why is that wrong? Regardless if you believe the same way or not. It's HIS money, HIS beliefs. That is like you telling me I can't contribute my money to muscular dystophy research. Granted, where he chose to send his money is a bit more controversal, but essentially it is the same thing. He can contribute his money however he chooses because it is HIS money!!

      August 9, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Is very interesting how the liberal left can state their beliefs no matter how vile (i.e. Jon Stewart's comments toward Sarah Palin) w/o causing a fuss, but when a business man and owner of a private company voices his opinion w/o using insults or profanity the liberal left has to get nasty. Just who is intolerant of others' opinions?

    August 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • chad

      because he is belittling human beings when u say u dont support marriage equality. I think its a bigger issue than just an opinion. He has also just basically dissed all of his lbgt employees and customers by saying what he did. It is a big deal, regardless of " the left" or "the right" has to say about it. This is a issue about common sense and being a decent human

      August 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Intolerance of bigotry is a fault I am proud to plead "guilty as charged" to.

      August 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. trudeetru

    The whole thing is pointless, religion and marriage are two separate things.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rae

    I find this entire thing to be so messed up. All the guy did was mention something he believed in. I am sure there are many other things he believes in that people would disagree with and many other things people would agree with. And, I'm sure that there are other CEOs of other companies who also share his beliefs in marriage. It's in the Bible and everyone knew he was a Christaon so why is this so shocking? What I find shocking is the intolerance of those that have lashed out at him. He didn't say gay people were not welcome in his store, as a matter of fact pretty he would welcome anyone from any walk of life, as God has said we should love everyone. I'm sure he also believes that abortion is wrong, per his Christian values, and had he mentioned that the Pro-Choice groups would be out there bashing him. Christians get such a bad rap of being intolerant, but there are many groups out there that hate them and what they believe in...how doesnt that make you the same as what you are accusing them of, that is intolerant?

    August 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Once again, this is not just one man's opinion. CFA actively supports efforts to harm gay & lesbian people by curtailing their rights. The company – not the private citizen, but the corporation itself – sponsors these efforts.

      CEOs say things I disagree with every day. But when the company they operate tries to harm people I love, I take exception.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Albett Perez

    I think that he has the right to say what he feels, we all have that right it is hes opion.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joel

    Why should those of us who don't follow the Christian religion have to live under laws dictated by a Christian holy book? And one particular interpretation of it, at that?

    August 6, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger Rabid

      You don't! Religion has no legal authority over marriage. None. None at all. Now the government on the other hand does have authority. There is suppose to be a separation of church and state in this country though that is not always the case in some places. Still, for the most part it is separate. There are Muslim weddings in this country, Jewish, Hindu and so on. You are not bound to the "Christian Holy Book".

      August 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Great! Then we can stop attacking gay marriage based on Biblical or so-called "traditional" arguments, right?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • vortex1964

      Joel, its seems to me that there is allot of hurt in you. Christians don't push their values on you. We share our faith in Christ as the Messiah, the Savior sent by God our Father. Now, t we live our lives based on the principle of God is love any one that claims to be a Christian and does not love his brother or neighbor lies to himself and the truth is not in him. Love does not mean we give up our values and beliefs because someone disagrees with us. There are not many interpretations only a grammatical, historical, one based on the original language. Jesus never condemned any one because for the most part they condemned themselves. The woman caught in adultery was to be stoned according to Jewish law, Jesus said he who is without sin cast the first stone. One by one everyone left until it was only Jesus and the woman, he asked, " woman where are thine accusers, she said no one condemns me, he said neither do I." You would think that is the end but then he says, "go and sin no more". For us its a sin. Whether your straight, gay, or what ever you are judged by God's Righteousness. We just share that God wants to be reconciled to you.

      August 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Larry

    Chick-fil-A ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,If there was one near here you would get my business,,,,keep up the good work

    August 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Have eaten at Chick-fil-A while trevelling in the United States. Great food at good prices!

    Wish we had them in Canada!

    Will patronize Chick-fil-A in U.S.A. for sure now!

    August 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nv

    Gay marriage is not right, but it is sooo Christian .. just how nasty they raise and treat their chicken!

    August 8, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. emr

    Isn't this reminiscent of 1930's Germany? The government refuses to let a jewish owned business open or suggests community boycotts because they disagree with the owner's religious beliefs. Just think about it.

    August 8, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. SaintAdolf

    Agenda setting at work here- the media CREATED this "news". They know what they are doing when they "report" on hot button emotional issues. Just like they know how to fan the flames by providing "full coverage". And don't think they are doing this for ratings. This is classic misdirection. What else is going on in the world that the media SHOULD be covering? Astroturf revolutions maybe...

    August 9, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Art

    Why is it that everyone who is gay thinks that those who believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman is somehow bigoted and hate mongers...when all we are doing is standing up for what the bible teaches...they can stand for what they believe but when some one disagrees they want to run to Washington and cry discrimination... It seems to me that they are the ones who are hate mongers...My belief is that we should love all people just as Jesus did...but we do not have to agree with gay people when we think it is morally wrong...If God had intended for a man to "marry" a man and a woman to "marry" a woman He would not have created Man and then a Woman to be his helpmate...He would have created another man

    August 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. icon archive

    It is remarkable, rather amusing answer

    October 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
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