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.
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