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. t3chn0ph0b3

    Ugh. People, stop "believing" stuff. It's bad for your brain.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ronald Elrod

    I myself am a gay man who would like to see the gay community to be able to legally marry. But, I'm the type that believes that when two people, gay or straight, love each other enough to spend the rest of their lives together, who needs a piece of paper saying they can marry? If and when I find the person I want to be with for eternity, I don't feel that I need ANYONE'S permission to get married. PERIOD.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Baft

      You'll need that piece of paper to claim your "husband's" life insurance policy when he dies of AIDS.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jasoncdanforth

    Nothing wrong with a private company that has morals that coincide with a religion. Closing on Sunday. That's your prerogative. But you're not supporting legislation to force every establishment to close on Sunday, are you?

    Morals or not, the anti-gay marriage position is irrational even from the point of view of the religion it references. This position is not Christian thought. This is pharisaical and theocraticly oppressive. No one is forcing anyone to be gay or be in a gay relationship, union, or marriage. Don't like it, don't do it. The only reason anyone would want to support legislation to force a religious precept on the population is if you seek to establish a theocratic regime. Like Iran, but with Christians. All religions are equally poisonous when practiced at a societal level. Religion is a personal decision, and any attempt to impose a particular religion on someone, no matter how well meaning, replaces the relationship between man and god with a relationship between man and man.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDominic

      Thank you!

      July 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jasoncdanforth

    How silly. You think god cares intensely about what you let other people do.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ryan

    I am rather impressed how some make this is a political issue. How are my lack of right some how your political motivation? Lol. That's awesome. So proud to be an American right now. I could care less what this guy thinks. I don't support his company and never have. My issues are those trying to express how they feel. They sound rediculous. Not that long ago woman fought for the right to vote. Now they use that vote to limit another humans rights. This shouldn't be a political issue. My rights are not your political gain our loss. And how is this book called a bible law? We have laws that go against this book. And yet you stand behind this book. This book is not fact. The words in this book and not be proven to be true. And yet you use this as your line of argument on what rights I get and don't get? Yet you say that's not hate. You should be proud of yourself!

    July 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      When I read " I could care less" ......I start caring less.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jazger

    i feel like chicken tonoght.. chicken tonight..

    and the wafflew fries. SCORE!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. treeclimber1

    Look, we have in this country, freedom of press, freedom of Religion, freedom of speech. That is what sets us apart from many countries past, present, and even future! If we cannot all enjoy these freedoms then there is no freedom at all. Mr. Cathy was aware that what he was saying may not be popular with a large group of people. That is not why he said it. He was interviewing with a religious group, which more than likely agrees with his point of view and beliefs. He knew that the interview would be published and of course there would be reaction. Does that mean we hide our head in the sand and become ashamed to voice our beliefs? No, not as Americans we have the GOD given right to say whatever, whenever we choose. No matter what side of the issue you are on if you can't accept that then you have no idea what it means to have true freedom. The debate will rage on. So be it, stop whining and threatening people with boycotts and much worse! When did everyone get so sensitive. You believe what you believe and I will stick to mine thank you very much.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Josho

    What seems to me laughable about Mr. Cathy's assertion is his belief that "one man, one woman" is the Biblical definition of marriage. That view deliberately ignores the fact that Solomon, David, Abraham, Jacob, and many other heroic Biblical figures had multiple wives; in fact, in 2 Samuel 12:8, God says that if David's multiple wives (and concubines) weren't enough for him, God would've provided even more. The Bible also refers, many times, to God's approval of slavery. Assuming Mr. Cathy doesn't own slaves, why would he ignore God's wishes in this regard?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mae

    My oldest son is gay. As a Christian, I admire Mr. Cathy for standing firm in his belief. In this day and age, it can be the "kiss of death" for many companies to make that kind of stand. With that said, my youngest child has opted to boycott Chick-fil-A; my gay son continues to enjoy their food!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Charles Easley

    Soo sad, when the mayor of Boston thinks that a CEO's belief that marriage is between one man and one woman is discrimination – and is to be prevented from opening in that city.. Sort of shows you who the real bigots are - liberals who don't believe that anyone except them can have freedom of speech – or religion – or expression. I will go out of my way Wednesday to eat at Chick-fil-A and will say God Bless You Mr. Cathy.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JohnG

    My main problem is the hypocrisy of these so-called "christians". The same book of the bible they use to justify thier hatred also says eating shell fish and any type of pork is an "abomination", which makes it equal to being gay. The bible also says you must not trim your beard or side burns. Funny, every picture of this "so called" christian I've seen is clean shaven. And yes, it is hatred. There are 1,138 federal benefits to being married which are being denied to gays. So much for "all men are created equal..."!

    July 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |

    chick-fil-a,is right on,if you dont like what they stand for and their christian beliefs,ask if jc penny will open a hamburger stand! LOL. a lot of us folks support chick-fil-a.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatTheRat

      So true! And while the libs and atheists are posting their hate, those who agree with CFA are out buying their yummy chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and peach milkshakes.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. albert goldenberg

    american's who don't believe in equality for all aren't real americans. and the human race has been trying to free itself from the evil of the bible for so many centuries now but its evil still hangs over us today. the bible has nothing to do with god, its the furthest thing from him. god existed long before the bible and if the bible disappeared from the earth tomorrow god would exist just fine, its a ridiculous primitive take on spirituality. the worst part of a human draws him to religion and its the better half that makes him realize he doesn't need religion to find god.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      It is evident that you have never read God's word, the Bible. If you did, you would see that the things we do are evil not the Bible. I would sure hate to be in your shoes on Judgment Day!!!!!!

      July 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PatTheRat

    There is no such thing as bad publicity. I bet this will be CFA's best quarter financially.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • albert goldenberg

      initially, but i think in the long run those who purposely go to support chick-fil-a will lose interest in the issue while many who are angered will never go again and will continue to dissuade others, so there probably will be some slowing in growth over time.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ross

    The commenters who think this is just about Mr Cathy's beliefs are missing the point. Chick-fil-A, as a company, chooses to invest a portion of their profits, to the tune of millions of dollars, in preventing marriage equality. It's not what they say, it's what they actually do with that real cash. As a consumer I would rather shop somewhere that invests in making things better for its workers and if it chooses to donate to causes, then it donates to causes that all of its customers can support.

    The 'Baptist Press' interview was clearly intended to muddy the waters, to try an make this look like a free speech issue. I don't care what Mr Cathy believes or says, I do care that if I buy a meal at Chick-fil-A, a sizeable portion of the profit will go towards anti-equality causes. Not just marriage, by the way: they also sponsor 'ex-gay' conversion camps.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
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