Gay rights activists are planning to hold a "national same-sex kiss day at Chick-fil-A"
Crowds jam restaurants in support of Chick-fil-A on Wednesday
One Chick-fil-A patron tells iReport he went Wednesday "in support of free speech"
Gay rights activists are planning to hold on Friday a “national same-sex kiss day at Chick-fil-A,” the restaurant chain whose president’s opposition to same-sex marriage sparked a media frenzy.
“Let’s show Chick-fil-A thanks for their support of Love, Equality, and the Real Definition of Marriage!” organizers posted on their Facebook page.
Same-sex couples are expected to arrive at restaurants across the country and kiss in protest, then post video or photos of the event on social media.
But on Wednesday, throngs of others weighed in on the Chick-fil-A debate, buying chicken sandwiches at stores to show their support of the chain.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dubbed it “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
He called for a vocal response to the backlash against the fast food chain and its president and COO, Dan Cathy.
The controversy started after an interview with Cathy appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16. He weighed in with his views on family.
“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
After criticism from gay rights activists, Huckabee and others called for a show of support for the chain on Wednesday. The response packed the restaurants.
Lines snaked around a Chick-fil-A in Dallas, CNN affiliate WFAA reported. Patrons packed a Chick-fil-A in Smyrna, Georgia. A food court with a Chick-fil-A was flooded in Laurel, Mississippi.
On Facebook, fans posted photos of themselves holding bags emblazoned with the restaurant chain’s bright red logo.
Edwin Guzman told CNN’s iReport that he waited about 30 minutes for his lunch at a “crazy packed” Chick-fil-A in Clarksville, Tennessee.
“It’s really hard to find people or leaders that stand for something good and stay firm,” he said of the restaurant chain.
In Barboursville, West Virginia, Brett Walker said, “the scene at Chick-fil-A seemed like a massive silent protest.”
Walker said he chose to eat at the restaurant Wednesday “in support of free speech” and waited 40 minutes to receive his order.
A police officer directed traffic as cars jammed the area, and employees walked car to car in the drive-thru line to take orders, he said.
The company, which said it was not involved in creating the event, says it set a sales record on Wednesday,
The chain won’t release sales numbers, but “we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day,” said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of marketing.
Proponents of same-sex marriage organized a simple counterprotest for Wednesday, asking people to donate the approximate cost of a Chick-fil-A meal, about $6.50, to gay and lesbian rights groups, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, known as GLAAD.