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. cck99352

    As long as they make those tasty sandwiches, I will support their organization (regardless of their position on global warming, gay marriage, or other political and social issues). I am eating their food – not identifying with their ideology.

    And to all the liberals – bite me.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Not Chicken to Eat Chicken

    Perhaps CFL can compromise and offer Rainbow Sherbet..spiked with a liquid laxative so that they can run both ends of their mouths freely. Now, that would be a gay old time.

    July 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      This is moronic! Should we choose our brand of Laundry detergent or the restaurant we eat at because of the political philosophy of the owners? Carls Jr. used yo give money to conservative political groups but they make a great hamburger. So I eat at Carl's Jr. At least half of the people in this country are going to disagree with you so should that put half of the businesses in America on a boycott list? They opened a Chic FilA in Hollywood CA. So when I find the right guy, I'll have the wedding reception at Chic filA. I'm sure that Chic FilA will be happy to take our money and won't offer to returnthe money once they figure out what's going on. We will all sit down once we buy the food, so perhaps they will call the cops and then the guests can get on TV.

      July 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • DLema

      I feel like people are missing a part of it. I agree that they should be allowed to say whatever they want. I think I should be able to not go there because of what they say. Both things are in our rights to do. It doesn't make sense to defend their right to say what they want in response for people responding with their own free rights. Also, someone said we shouldn't choose laundry detergent based on political views. And I agree. For me this is not a political view but a human rights view.

      July 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rebecca Stephens

    This is Anerica Just let CFA alone. If people do not want to go there then fine. That is what a business is. We do not have to act like children( If I can not have it my way I will just leave) well then just leave. There are plenty of other places that people can go to. I think it is only fair to be able to have a belief in this country. If others do not want to be a part of CFA then do not gripe and complain about it just go somewhere else. I am tired of people getting all upset just because Jesus people want to have a life and then get bashed for it. Why can we just agree to disagree and go on. I do not bash others just because of what they believe or whatever. Just get off of it. Get real people. Leave CFA alone.

    July 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      Actually I have not been there yet, but all this talk has made me hungry for sweet and sour chicken at Chic Fil'a! I'll give you a report about what it's like in about an hour and a half. So choosing a side in a hot political debate is good for business. This "News article" on CNN would have cost about $250,000 if it was a paid add. I may open a hot dog place and advocate foor the reinstatement of slavery. Because virtually everyone disagrees with that idea, I should be able to get a billion dollars of free advertising and perhaps a presidential visit when he is in town. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      July 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ken

    It's a mixed bag. Anyone who is aware of Chick F business practices and beliefs should not be surprised. The founder started youth camps for underprivileged and at risk youth. Religious based of course but he has never made any bones about it. The $ speaks and everyone can support the businesses they like to. I don't eat their food because it makes me feeling terrible if I do. I am a gay man and understand everyone has a right to their opinion. We all have the right to support or not the businesses we like and trust. The unfortunate thing is some of that at risk youth they help can also be hindered and damaged by their stance if they are gay youth.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jony

    This is a rare case where personal values are more important than making money. I salute the owner of CHick Filet and I will continue to eat there. Not everyone has to support political correctness and alternative lifestyles. Just because your against it doesn't mean your a hater either. Those are just the tactics lefty's use to force their beliefs on society

    July 22, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. byron

    It is good to see someone standing on the word of GOD,the question isn't important. Now if we all would do that this country would have a chance at being a great country again.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Would that be billy bob god, or uncle rufus god?

      July 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cynthia28

    The nice thing about this country is we DON"T have to believe in any kind of god or believe that god will save us, the country, etc. And yes, I do base what I buy and where I buy from based on political stance. It may not always be easy to stand by my principals, but I do it. Walk your talk or close your mouth.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LM

    This isn't about tolerating other people's right to differ in opinion. It's about where money goes. If the company gives money to an anti-gay organization (as Chick-fil-A does) spending you're money there is giving money to that organization; it's really that simple.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      huh?... who cares how he spends his money, this is America, he can spend it however he wants. Do you really go around wondering how everyone you give money to, spends it? What a waste of time.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. e

    They use company money to back anti-gay organizations. Well, guess what, there are plenty of charities that do not try to deny American citizens legal rights, they chose the one they want to give to and as a result they have been called out. That is Capitalism, those of us who think gay people are human beings deserving of equal rights.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. e

    THose of us who things gay people are human beings deserving os equal rights will not be giving our money to Chik Fil A.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. scott

    This is America and they have the right to speak freely if they so choose. Every American has a right to their own opinion, that's what makes America great. We can agree or disagree, and that's OK also. Has nothing to do with their business, and all of this free advertising I'm sure adds a great boost for their customer base.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alicia

    For years I have been making buying decisions on the policies copanies support, and always try to buy American. I do my research because I don't want my hard earned money going to support anything I don't like. So it's good that someone like this company comes out, it saves me time , and I just add it to the list.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jusme

    What's the problem... Are gays the only ones with civil rights these days ??? We can't choose for ourselves, for our own businesses what path we will take ??? Wrong answer... Not to be gay is a choice... A right some of us have earned.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Blucorsair

    Why is it that the left cosistently puts more emphasis on the "the rights of the few" out wieghing "the rights of the many!" This is precisely why our country is in the shape that it is in! The liberals continue to try and justify our president adding a record $6 trillion to our national deficit in less than 3.5 years for the rights of the few! ...stand up and be heard america, before they take this away from us too!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • pete

      Do you think the country should be allowed to vote on what rights you get? We might decide that we don't want you to be allowed to get married.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jwalton314

    Chick-Fil-A can say whatever they want, this is America. No one forces you to eat Chick-Fil-A and I'm sure they don't care too much about losing business because they aren't even open on Sunday. They are closed for religious reasons and if a business will close their doors and lose out on a whole day because of God then why does anything think they will cater to something that is against their Bible?

    July 23, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
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