Gay-rights supporters start petition to meet with Chick-fil-A CEO
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.
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."
-- Kate Mather
Photo: Hundreds of customers line up at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Laguna Niguel on Wednesday. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times