Critics and fans of Chick-fil-A took to the streets Wednesday to either criticize or appreciate chain's president Dan Cathy's stand against gay marriage.
The Atlanta-based chain, which has come under fire in the last few weeks because of remarks on gay marriage by company president Dan Cathy, was inundated with diners who wanted to demonstrate that they support Cathy's stance on same-sex unions or support his right to free speech.
Opponents of Cathy's position are planning a show of unity of their own on Friday with a "Kiss-in" at Chick-fil-A locations across the nation.
Julie Greene of Marietta was one who heeded Huckabee's call on Wednesday. She said she and her family - including her children and parents - planned to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Chick-fil-A today in a show of solidarity.
"We love the Cathy family stand on biblical values," Greene said as she waited for breakfast in Powder Springs.
But Greene was quick to say that she had no hatred toward anyone. Her support comes down to free speech. "Why can't (Cathy) say what he believes without being persecuted for it," she said. "We have our freedoms. And freedom of speech is one of our greatest."
Cathy's statements in June and July in support of the biblical definition of marriage raised the ire of supporters of gay unions, who have been increasingly concerned about the company's donations to anti-gay marriage groups. The company made clear that "Appreciation Day" is independent.
"Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was created by our fans, not Chick-fil-A," Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple: to provide great food, genuine hospitality, and to have a positive influence on all who come in to Chick-fil-A."
Daniel Jordan of Atlanta showed up at the Chick-fil-A at CNN Center with the expressed purpose of supporting the company. He said while he disagreed with Cathy's position of marriage equality, he is equally opposed to shutting down a company because of the views of one of its leaders. "Some people are trying to upset their business because of their opinions," he said. "The fact that they don't support gay marriage, what a surprise."
Erik Bloom, who tagged along with Jordan for a Chick-fil-A lunch, said Cathy should have kept his views private. "I just think it's dumb to be that outspoken about it," said Bloom, an Atlanta resident. "I think it's a bad business move. In business, you have to be more politically correct."
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