Americans flocked by the thousands to Chick-fil-A restaurants Wednesday in support of CEO Dan Cathy's comments in favor of traditional marriage, sending lines sprawling through restaurants, parking lots, down sidewalks, and around street corners. This morning the company confirmed, without releasing numbers, that it was an "unprecedented" day.
"We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on Aug. 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country. Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was not a company promotion; it was initiated by others," said the company's marketing vice president Steve Robinson.
Radio host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee started the idea for an "Appreciation Day" after Cathy came under fire from homosexual activists and various politicians around the country for his comments to the Baptist Press. ABC News reported that Huckabee said on his show Wednesday that, "People are voting with their feet today . . . I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A."
The Daily Beast ran a column Thursday from an anonymous homosexual Chick-fil-A employee who wrote that, "We were so busy we nearly ran out of food. We did run out of some things, like nuggets, strips, lemonade, and waffle fries. Though we didn't have to close early like we feared, by 10 p.m., we barely had anything left. ... Customers sang 'God Bless America' in the dining room. They vocalized their support for 'family values' in a way that made me want to vomit. We had two protestors outside, and I took five minutes to run out, hug them, and tell them: If I weren't working here now, I'd be out here with you."
He or she may have an opportunity on Friday, when the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is sponsoring a "National Same Sex Kiss Day" at Chick-fil-A restaurants, inviting supporters to submit photos of the activities. The organization is calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A not only for Cathy's comments, but also because it says Chick-fil-A, through its WinShape philanthropic wing, supports pro-family causes.
So far there are six events listed on its website for Friday. The Facebook page for the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter promises that "There will be a Kissing Booth at the location near the SMU campus, proceeds will go to local LGBT non profits! So come on out and bring your breath mints!!"
The company has so far declined to get involved in the debate publicly, adding in its press release Thursday morning that, "The Chick-fil-A culture and 66-year-old service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."