Chick-fil-A Backers Celebrate Appreciation Day
People who support Chick-fil-A's anti-gay marriage stance will be participating in the fast-food chain's appreciation day by chowing down on restaurant's signature waffle fries and chicken sandwiches, ABC News reported.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee created the event to counter the boycott gay marriage activists launched recently after Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A's president, denounced same-sex marriage.
More than 622,000 people have responded with a "will attend" on the event's official Facebook page. But many, many more will probably participate in "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
"The goal is simple," Huckabee wrote on the Facebook page. "Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."
ABC News talked to 22-year-old Courtney Clem, who participated in the event. She told the news station she bought Chick-fil-A for her entire office. Clem said she supports traditional marriage and the First Amendment.
"We want to support their right to an opinion," Clem told ABC. "I do support that opinion. And the right. Even if it was an opinion I disagreed with, I'd be here today." She also said the appreciation day has been a success.
"I think it's more about people frankly being offended that people are offended," she added.
One person who seemed to be offended was Anthony Piccola, the manger of New Hampshire's only Chick-fil-A. The New Hampshire newspaper the Nashua Telegraph points out that Piccola, who is a franchise owner, doesn't back Cathy's views on marriage and plans to sponsor New Hampshire Pride Fest, which will be held on Aug. 11.
He said he has no problems hiring gay people and does not discriminate against anyone.
"I would challenge people to come have a conversation with me before they make assumptions or boycott my restaurant," Piccola said in a statement. He also told ABC News: "As an independent franchise Operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best ways possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua. The Chick-fil-A culture and 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."
Cathy's statements have also offended some high-powered lawmakers. The mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., have all said they would ban Chick-fil-A from opening in their cities.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin certainly supports the chicken company. She posted a widely circulated photo of her and her husband holding large Chick-fil-A bags on her Facebook page. She also commented on the issue in a Fox News interview.
"Well, that calling for the boycott is a real -- has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights," Palin told Greta Van Susteren. "And the owner of the Chick-fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage, one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married.
"And having voiced support for kind of that cornerstone of all civilization and all religions since the beginning of time, he then basically [is] getting crucified," she added. "I'm speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage, which President Obama and Joe Biden, they both supported the exact same thing until just a few months ago, when Obama had to flip-flop to shore up the homosexual voter base," Palin said.
ABC News also points out former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum tweeted that he was "fueling up" at Chick-fil-A.
The chicken drama came last month after Cathy publicly announced he did not support marriage equality, EDGE reported.
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Cathy said. "And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
His statements made national headlines but the businessman told the Baptist Press he is "guilty as charged" for his comments and that he is "supportive of the family -the biblical definition of the family unit."
Soon after his controversial statements, officials from the Jim Henson Company said they were ending their partnership with Chick-fil-A, EDGE noted. The companies planned to work together to include a Muppet toy in the chain's kids' meals between July and August 18.
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company posted on their official Facebook page.