Participants in “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” at Chick-fil-A locations started posted pictures and tweeting their experiences Friday morning, but the largest turnout wasn’t expected until Friday evening.
The event comes two days after supporters of the chain’s president Dan Cathy’s stance on gay marriage attracted thousands, many of them conservative Christians, to restaurants, resulting in record-setting sales. former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister and Fox News talk-show host, issued the call to action at the company’s more than 1,600 locations. In a statement, Chick-fil-A executive vice president of marketing Steve Robinson said:
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, it was an unprecedented day.
“We refuse to sit on the sidelines. We are here, we have a voice, and we will not be quieted. Secondly I hope it shows other anti-LGBT companies that as American citizens, we will no longer tolerate inequality and we can take direct action when we see fit,” McGehee said in a Q&A posted on the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Web site
GLAAD president Herndon Graddick, said in a statement, that Cathy “should meet and get to know the people that he’s speaking out against - the people who are harmed by his company’s multi-million dollar donations to anti-gay hate groups working to hurt everyday LGBT Americans and break apart loving families.”
Both demonstrations are in response to comments Cathy made to the Baptist Press about backing the “the biblical definition of a family” and in another interview, reiterating that he didn’t support same-sex marriage and that “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.’”
The Atlanta-based company first came under fire for its conservative stance on marriage in January of 2011 after news broke that an outlet in Pennsylvania sponsored a marriage seminar given by an openly anti-gay group.
Fallout from the ensuing controversy included a decision by Northeastern University students in February to cancel plans to bring the eatery to campus.
Further, a report published by gay rights advocacy group Equality Matters this summer says the company donated more than $3 million to Christian groups opposed to homosexuality between 2003 and 2009, and nearly $2 million more in 2010.
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