Chick-fil-A 'kiss in' protest tries to challenge appreciation day
Two days after backers of Chick-fil-A converged on locations around the nation in support, gay rights backers plan to strike back with a decidedly different kind of activism.
Activists are planning a "National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A" on Friday. As part of the event, couples are encouraged to go one of the chicken restaurant's locations and take a photo or video of themselves kissing.
It remains unclear whether this protest will generate the huge crowds that turned out Wednesday to a show of support for the company's CEO, who ignited a national debate by publicly expressing his opposition to same-sex marriage.
As of Thursday evening, a few people had posted photos on the "Kiss Day" website.
"Let's show Chick-fil-A thanks for their support of Love, Equality, and the Real Definition of Marriage! Invite your friends!" organizers said on its Facebook page.
The move comes after thousands of restaurant supporters came out to back the CEO's stance. In some cases, there were long lines at locations.
"The ability for a company to be able to believe what they want to believe and still have their doors open to whoever wants to or chooses to give their business -- that's why I'm here," she said. "Yes, I am a Christian, but my strongest support stems from being a business owner. I want to believe what I want to believe and not be condemned for what I believe, and give people the freedom of choice, if they want to do business with us."
Newport Beach resident Ian Conger cited both business and religion as his reasons for dining Wednesday at the relatively new Costa Mesa location.
"This company is family-owned, and they're putting their money where they want to, and that's their right," he said. "Nobody should tell someone how they should spend their money. God is very good to my wife and I, and I feel God's going to be with us through this and he'll be with the opposer as well. He doesn't hate anybody."
Lake Forest resident Deanna Kirchen stood in line with her children to support the restaurant for religious reasons.
"I've been in line for over an hour, and I'm only about three-quarters of the way through," she said. "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."
Chick-fil-A drew criticism after Chief Executive Dan Cathy recently said he and his company were against gay marriage. The comments drew strong reactions, with customers pledging to boycott the chain and some mayors proclaiming they would not allow Chick-fil-A to open in their cities.
In response, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared Wednesday to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, calling on people to eat at the restaurant to show support.
-- Kate Mather and Jenny Stockdale