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Gay-rights supporters start petition to meet with Chick-fil-A CEO

Chick-fil-A says Wednesday's take was unprecedented
Days after a chief Chick-fil-A executive's comments about gay marriage sparked national calls for boycotts and appreciation days, gay-rights supporters said they'd like to take Dan Cathy out to dinner.

Really.

Along with her partner, Marylsa, and two children, Atlanta-based Marci Alt started a Change.org petition Thursday morning asking Cathy to meet with her family and talk about the issues same-sex couples face when denied the chance to marry. GLAAD has since backed the petition, which had more than 400 signatures just after 2:45 p.m.

“I hope Mr. Cathy will join my family for dinner, where we can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia,” Alt said in a statement. “It’s important that Mr. Cathy meet the people his company is donating millions to stand against. I'll even make chicken.”

Alt said her family would also organize a protest at their local Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga., on Friday. Grass roots organizers have declared "National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A" on Friday, where couples are encouraged to go to the fast-food restaurant's locations and take a photo or video of themselves kissing.

"I hope that visibility of the kiss-in helps LGBT youth who feel isolated and are victims of bullying," Carly McGehee, who organized the event, said in a statement. "I want LGBT youth who are growing up in places like Texas, where I was raised, to know that it's OK to be who you are, because it seems that Mr. Cathy disagrees with that."

Cathy's remarks -- he recently told the Baptist Press he and his company were against gay marriage -- have drawn strong reactions as customers pledged to boycott the chain and some mayors proclaimed they would not allow Chick-fil-A to open within their cities.

In response, thousands of people ate at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide as part of "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," an event former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared to show support for the Christian-run company.

Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing for Chick-fil-A, said in a statement that although the company would not release exact sales numbers, Wednesday's totals were "unprecedented."

Hundreds of people lined up outside Southern California locations Wednesday, listing a variety of reasons why they were there.

Lake Forest resident Deanna Kirchen stood in line with her children at a Costa Mesa Chick-fil-A for religious reasons.

"I've been in line for over an hour, and I'm only about three-quarters of the way through," she told the Daily Pilot. "I'm hungry, and yes, we came here for lunch, but I wanted to support Chick-fil-A for having the cojones to stand up for biblical values."

"I'm not against gay rights by any means, but I think this guy is getting a bad rap," Beaumont resident Ed Vatter, 57, said over a plate of chicken nuggets and waffle fries at a Chick-fil-A in Laguna Niguel.

"Plus," he told The Times, "the food's pretty good."

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-- Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

Photo: Hundreds of customers line up at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Laguna Niguel on Wednesday. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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