Chick-Fil-A Gay Marriage Controversy

Chick-Fil-A Gay Marriage Controversy

Updated Jun 30, 2014 at 02:21PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jul 26, 2012 at 07:50PM EDT by Don.

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On January 4th, 2011, Metro Weekly[1] published an article titled “Is Chick-fil-A restaurant against gay rights?”, which reported that the anti-gay marriage organization Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) listed American fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A as a co-sponsor of two marriage conferences. On January 6th, Chick-fil-A posted a statement on its official Facebook[2] page, downplaying the company’s relationship with PFI by claiming it only provided sandwiches to the marriage seminars.

On November 1st, the LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters[3] published a report revealing that Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm WinShape had donated over $1.7 million to anti-gay groups in 2009. On July 2nd, 2012, Equality Matters[4] published another report, stating that WinShape donated over $1.9 million to anti-gay groups including the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council in 2010.

On July 16th, an interview with Chick-fil-A’s chief operating officer Dan Cathy was published in the Christian news service Baptist Press, in which Cathy revealed that the company did support a “traditional family.” On July 18th, Cathy appeared on the syndicated radio show “The Ken Coleman Show” and stated that he believed advocating same-sex marriage would be “inviting God’s judment on our nation.”[5]

Notable Developments

Online Reaction

On July 20th, Boston mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy denouncing the company’s stance on gay marriage (shown below). The same day, the Boston Herald[9] published an interview with Menino, in which he stated he was looking to block Chick-fil-A from opening any restaurants in the city.

That same day, the Jim Henson Company posted an update on their official Facebook[8] page announcing they had notified Chick-fil-A that they no longer wished to partner with the restaurant chain in the future and that they would donate the payments they received from the company to the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). The Facebook announcement gained nearly 15,000 likes and more than 6,200 shares, as well as inspiring the anti-corporate interest group The Other 98% to create a Muppets-themed poster featuring the quote, which went on to receive more than 34,000 likes and nearly 53,000 shares.

On July 23rd, a Facebook[6] event was created for “National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A”, which urged gay-marriage supporters to visit a local Chick-fil-A restaurant and record themselves kissing a member of the same sex on August 3rd. Initiated by Carly McGehee, Michael GetEqual Diviesti and Skylar Buffington, the event page was met by more than 14,000 RSVPs. Meanwhile, in countering the “Same Sex Kiss Day” event, former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee launched a Facebook event titled “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which called on all supporters of Christian principles to visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant on August 1st show their solidarity with its stance on gay-marriage. Huckabee’s proposition via Facebook was met by more than 670,000 RSVPs.

On July 25th, 2012, Redditor absurd_olfaction submitted a post to the /r/atheism subreddit titled “Chick-fil-A damage control FAIL”, which included a screenshot of a Facebook post in which a user profile is exposed for being fake (shown below).

Several prominent YouTubers also chimed in on the controversy with reaction videos, including mention over a proposed boycott (shown below, bottom, right) and a cooking guide for making a “Chick-Fil-Gay” sandwich (shown below, bottom, left).

On July 25th, 2012, Antoine Dodson uploaded a video to YouTube titled “Chick-fil-A?”, showing Dodson drinking from a Chick-fil-A cup while defending his choice to eat at the restaurant. The same day, Dodson uploaded another video titled “Ya’ll made me pull my hair back lol!”, in which he argued that boycotting the restaurant would only hurt the Chick-fil-A’s employees.


Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

On August 1st, major U.S. news outlets including CNN, New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported that hundreds of thousands of people visited Chick-fil-A restauarants to show their solidarity with the fast-food chain’s stance on gay marriage, spawning hundreds of photographs of long lines outside of Chick-fil-A stores across the country on Twitter and Facebook.

On the following day, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of marketing Steve Robinson released a statement to the LA Times revealing that the company set a new record in sales.

“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country. While we don’t release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day.”

Same Sex Kiss Day

On August 3rd, photographs of same sex couples and equal rights supporters partaking in the “Chick-fil-A Kiss-In” began pouring in on Facebook and Twitter, several hours before the official protest scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. (ET). The event’s official Tumblr blog National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A[14] also began featuring user-submitted photos of same-sex people kissing each other on the premise of the fast food restaurants.

Meanwhile, internet news site DailyDot[13] reported on some hostile exchanges between the two camps on Twitter, citing several examples of tweets insinuating that “kiss-in” protests may be met by violence from the detractors.

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