Chick-fil-A supporters turned out in droves Wednesday to patronize the chicken chain in the midst of a major controversy over comments made by a company executive on gay marriage.
The comments were made by President and CEO Dan Cathy to Baptist Press in July.
When asked about his company's position on the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage, Cathy said, "Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
Following the comments, one-time presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee began a campaign on Facebook to support Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, declaring Wednesday as national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
CBS Atlanta News' Sky Eye flew over Chick-fil-A restaurants all over the metro area at lunchtime, all of which had long drive-thru lines. Inside the restaurants, customers crowded in to order their meals.
"I have friends that are gay so I can't really go one way or the other on it," said Darlene Jarvis, who waited in line at the Chick-fil-A in Lithia Springs. "Everyone has their opinion on it."
Many customers agreed that people are entitled to their opinion, but respected the fast-food chain's stand on gay marriage and the traditional family.
"Dan Cathy, Truett Cathy, they're so sweet," said Rachel Cooper, a former employee. "They do understand it's family marriage, a man and a woman, and they're entitled to that."
The Associated Press reported that opponents of Chick-fil-A's stance on gay marriage were planning a "Kiss Mor Chiks" event at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide on Friday where people of the same sex would be urged to kiss each other in solidarity.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's Executive Vice President of Marketing, showed his appreciation for the chain's customers, but said the chain wasn't responsible for the turnout.
"Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was not created by Chick-fil-A. 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 into contact with Chick-fil-A," Robinson said.
CBS Atlanta News began receiving photos of long drive-thru lines and packed restaurants from viewers around lunchtime on Wednesday.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:11:15 GMT
Rep. Jack Kingston has conceded the race for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat Republican nomination to businessman David Perdue.According to the Associated Press, unofficial returns showed Perdue with a leadMore >>
Rep. Jack Kingston has conceded the race for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat Republican nomination to businessman David Perdue.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:19 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:19:49 GMT
Harold Jones II has won the State Senator District 22 Democratic seat in the run-off election against Corey Johnson. With 57 of 57 precincts reporting, Jones won with 6,114 votes, compared to Corey Johnson'sMore >>
Harold Jones II has won the State Senate District 22 Democratic seat in the run-off elections.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:09:03 GMT
Ben Hasan has unofficially won the district 6 commission seat in Augusta-Richmond County.With seven out of seven precincts reporting, Hasan won with 1,243 votes, compared to Bob Finnegan's 1,128 votes.ProvisionalMore >>
Ben Hasan has unofficially won the district 6 commission seat in Augusta-Richmond County.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:26:00 GMT
A man is in the hospital after being shot in the abdomen and right knee Monday night, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded to the 2000 block of Central Ave around 6:20More >>
A man is being treated for non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the abdomen and right knee Monday night.More >>
3933 Washington Road
Augusta, GA 30907