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. Susan

    I love the Christian principles CFA is founded on, and I love that Mr Cathy simply stated his belief without bashing anyone... He has true class. Even though those who disagree with him are certainly the loudest, I believe they are not the majority.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GG

    I admire his standing firm on his beliefs. That is exactly what America stands for. We all have a right to believe and live how we choose. No words of anger need to be exercised. This is America "Freedom". We should never lose sight of that. This is not a communist country! So he doesn't agree with the Gay Life Style – So! He has a right to his beliefs and speech, just as all people do. God loves all people. He only hates the sin, not the person!

    July 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • blucorsair

      I agree with you whole hearted, but freedom of speech and expressing ones beliefs only applies to Democrats under the current regime! Chick filet will increase their business, thanks to this liberal slanted story. ...has anybody ever figured out what "occupy wall street" stood for? ...LOL

      July 20, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Light1Up

    rob is a clown. What goes around comes around.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. choklitluvr

    Why doesn't CNN talk about Procter and Gamble, Home Depot, and Target being supporters of gay rights? Why aren't you bashing their owners/presidents for taking a stand? Dan Cathy has every right to express his opinion just as Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, and everyone else you happily tout and Mr. Cathy is only stating what God's Word states. God designed marriage to be a living picture of the relationship He desires to have with each individual and made men and women unique so that that relationship could be better understood. If you don't like that, take it up with God...not Dan Cathy.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I didn't see CNN bashing anyone...but I see plenty of people bashing....God doesn't like that...

      July 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      God has defined lots of things Only problem is that mankind has decided to be selective in what should be an issue. Let's see.. my neighbors' children are misbehaving.. Can I go outside and stone them or do I have to wait for the parents to do it? and HMM I think I smell certain food cooking on their BBQ.. maybe they should be fired from their job, denied housing, beaten or killed for that they way gay folks are treated in this country and all in the name of God and the baby Jesus? I think God would be very unhappy with the how His name and Jesus' names are used.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Bravo, JB!!

      July 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JB

    CFA's views have been long known, and for that reason, I have NEVER eaten there. The problem in this country is that too many folks are busy stuffing their faces with fast food while others' rights are being bashed.. and as long as it tastes good, it's OK by them. How very sad.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Hall

    We are thankful for companies that stand up for what they believe.. The are not forcing their beliefs on anyone. We just love their food! Good for them.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anonymous

    I don't think CFA was bashing anyone's rights. They do not refuse to serve gays, nor do they openly criticize them. Mr. C was just stating what principles the company was founded on. These are people who are sold out for their faith. I'm sorry if it seems that they were judging or being critical. I honestly don't think that is the case, but then I may be wrong. Who am I to judge? No one. I do not hold myself to that position. However, I can say a few things. As a Christian, I can say that I love the fact that they are closed on Sunday's to allow their employees to go to church. I also know that their actions were seen as offensive, and I apologize to those who were. God loves wholly and completely, but as humans we can never understand that fully. He is the only one who has the right to judge CFA's actions, and in the end, they will be held to account for it, as will all of the people who are bashing them on this site. Can't you see? We are all equal under Him.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      Hobby Lobby is closed on sundays also.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I don't know if my original post was posted or not; but basically I said:
      Mr. Cathy has a total right to believe what he believes, and that is fine.
      I have seen nothing that CFA is doing that is discriminating against gay people at all.
      If there is a sign posted anywhere refusing service, THEN it's on...but Chick-fil-A isn't the first business so Christian based...remember Walmart originally was, too...

      July 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      He gives money to anti-gay marriage lobby groups. How is that not discrimination?

      July 21, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mary Ann

    They are a Christian Company, and they can follow what their beliefs are. If you don't like it, eat elsewhere. This is America. Just because someone thinks differently from you, does not mean that they are hatemongers.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Conversly, just because someone *loves* differently than you, is not a reason to hate.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BOMBO ©

    We don't have those in Canada.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Chick a fils, I mean, or whatever they call them. I don't mean gay people. We have those.

      I guess I can't quote Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson. My first attempt at this post got blocked, but if you saw the movie, you know what I'm driving at.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Strictly speaking, it's the willful sin that one commits which will never be tolerated by those who follow Gods law; giving way to the popular thought instead of keeping to Jesus' moral compass.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonquil

      Jesus never said that we were to act like little gods on Earth, hating and judging, rather than "loving thy neighbor". Two unrelated, consenting adults, pledging love and fidelity to eachother, is probably not where God would want your rightous fury directed towards.

      Stop wasting people's time, here on Earth; if you want to spread the word of God, focus on love, patience, compassion and goodwill.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Church Of The Poisoned Mind

      Well said, Jonquil.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. beachrat

    If I decided to boycott every company that has a pig for a CEO, I would be extremely restricted as to what products or services I buy. Anyway, for me it is a non issue, none of those in California.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. TM

    I applaud and fully support Dan's views on gay marriage! If it offends gays and non-Christians so be it. Probably would be a good time to buy stock in the company too as this is making for great advertising. Quite the opposite of what happened to JC Penney when the came out pro-gay.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. slickmick67

    While I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Cathy's stance on gay marriage, he has every right as an American to speak his opinion. And as consumers, we have every right to consider or not consider his stance when deciding whether to spend money in any of his establishments. Had he said his business would not serve certain individuals based on his personal beliefs, that would be a different matter.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jonquil

    In America, you are free to be a jerk...as long as your jerkiness isn't hurting anyone or imposing upon the rights of others. It's always baffling, though, when people who go into customer service or political lines of work also hold such stringent, exclusive views, on who deserves to be respected and who doesn't. It would make more sense that such individuals would be predominantly liberal in a universally accepting way. But, I guess, life doesn't always make sense.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Harry Adams

    Its way past time someone came out against the PC norm. I would love to see especially a polition say if my job depends on the gay-lesbian vote keep it.The job ain't worth it.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
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