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. Karen

    Wouldn't it be great if more business execs would have the guts to stand firm on their beliefs. Mr. Cathy was asked his PERSONAL beliefs about his PERSONAL lifestyle, and he answered honestly. He has the right to do that, and in no way was he being hateful toward anyone. His business has prospered and blessed every community it has been in by its strong family values as well as its charity work especially in regard to Christian youth groups. Theirs sales have soared even with regarding Sunday as a day for its workers to spend with their families while the restaurant is closed for business. We will continue to be patrons of our Chik-fil-A stores, and encourage others to do so.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joel

    This isn't just one CEO's personal opinion. Chick-fil-a actively supports organizations against marriage equality. They give money and provide services to these organizations. It's not just one person's opinion; the company Chick-fil-a is actively making life worse for LGBT people. And because of that they deserve to be called out as the hateful bigots they are.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      You are right. This is not just one CEO's personal opinion. It is the opinion of the majority of Americans, who share a traditional view of marriage. I applaud the millions of Americans who expressed that point of view yesterday by supporting Chick- fil-a restaurants. We have sent a strong message to the mayor of Chicago and his liberal supporters, who are clearly "out of touch with reality."

      August 2, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • rfoster20

      He is not against marraige equality. that's a made up term. He is for traditional marraige. Natural marraige. boys like girls. girls like boys unless they are screwed up. If you want to have unnatural relationships and treat men like women and vice versa that's your business but don't expect normal people to be brainwashed by your craziness.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Joel, there are a bunch o companies that financially support controversial organizations. I believe abortion is murder. There are plenty of companies that give money to abortion clinics and organizations. I have a right to not support them just like you have a right not to support Chick fil a. But they have a right, as a private company – not governmental, to support whom they choose. Its why we live in America. Quit being hypocritical. Hateful actions would be wrong, but stating your opinion is what our country was founded on. And will hopefully remain.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rene

      When someone gives an opinion in a dignified way, it is not HATE. I don't approve of gay marriage. It doesn't mean I hate gays. I work with gays, serve gays and give gays my money for work they do for me. I happen to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. There is nothing hateful in that opinion. But I detect A LOT of animosity on your part.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Batman

      Exactly who are these anti-gay groups he's giving money too? I've heard that comment a dozen times, yet no one has cited a single group. hmmm..........

      August 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • What???

      Well, don't spend your money there. You will not be missed because I will double down on my order.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Diane

    Has anyone noticed the "run" on Chick-fil-a today........we can't hardly get into for all the supporters buying their product.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Habner

    I totally Agree with Chick-fil-a's stand. If you guys who are mad want to stop going there it is up to you.They are not going out of business because of you.Go where ever you want to go. Thank God for Chick-fil-a they are far better than the politicians on their stand. They say what they believe. Even far better than hypocrite preachers who want to please the congregation hiding the truth.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barbara Nash

    I presume that from now on the mayors of Boston, Chicago and Washington will require new businesses wishing to establish themselves in their cities to sucessfully pass a Thought Test. If their thoughts are not in keeping with these mayors, they will not be issued business licences.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • What???

      That is why they have high unemployment? Gang bangers and high crime becasue they are trying to please everybody and end up satisfying no one.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dusty

    I heard about this last week and decided to stop by to show my support for individual free speech and buy some chicken. Well, I could not even get close to the local Chick-fil-a. Thousands had arrived ahead of me and the city had to assign 8 police officers to control and direct traffic. They were even letting people park in the grass because the 'drive-up' was disrupting traffic for several blocks, and the several parking lots were full. Maybe I should have drove to Chicago or Boston where the lines were smaller, but I might have gotten shot in Chicago, and the Boston mayor would have prohibited me from eating at Chick-fi-a if they had one.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Williams

    I sometimes eat at Chick-fil-a but will be a regular customer now. It is heartening to know that there are still people who stand for their principles.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry Mainer

    I support a person right to FREE SPEACH and the right to eat where he wants to eat. If you disagree don't eat at CHICK-FIL-A.

    August 2, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      I agree completely. Therefore I will no longer eat at CFA.

      August 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry Mainer

    I ate at CHICK-FIL-A yesterday in Brandon, Florida. The please was pack ten deep at the coin her and the parking lot was over flowing into the street. I had to park in another lot and walk over. If we could get this much support at election day we can take back our country.Don't mess with "THE SILENT MAJORITY"

    August 2, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. rfoster20

    sorry, I spelled marriage wrong like 70 times.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joel

    Oh, he's for traditional marriage, is he? You mean the kind where people of different races can't marry each other? Or the kind where Solomon can have 500 wives? Or the kind where if the husband dies the woman has to marry his brother? Or the kind where a woman has to marry her rapist? Or the kind where the landlord can sleep with the bride on her wedding night?

    Which tradition are you talking about?

    August 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joel

    As much as I am pro-LGBT rights, pro-marriage equality, and anti-CFA, attempts to keep CFAs out of cities by those city governments, based on the company's politics, don't have a legal leg to stand on. I'm against that.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lady

    Do you people not believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

    I am digusted that this man's comments have caused such an uproar. He has the right to his opinion, just as everyone does.

    As for kissing in front of his restaurants. I don't want to see a man and woman doing that in public much less a gay couple. Keep it at home whoever you are!!!!!

    August 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      You seem to be confusing "freedom of speech" with "freedom from consequences." If CFA has the right to spend money to limit my friends' rights, I have the right to tell people what I think of their actions.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      Of course he has a right to his opinion, as a private citizen. But as the leader of a business he speaks for his company. Since he expresses his view as those of his company, he opens the company up to the consequences. I find his, and his company's belief, discriminatory and refuse to do business with them.

      August 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. California

    It's obvious that CNN has no intention of reporting on the vandalism going on at Chick-fil-A's by these gay protesters after all it would go against there principles of actually reporting news.

    August 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. California

    Gay's involved in hate crimes.


    August 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
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