Culture War Over Marriage Consumes Chicken Chain
The national debate over Chick-fil-A’s stance opposing gay marriage spilled out the doors of its restaurants Wednesday as supporters showed up by the thousands to back its position.
At the local Chick-fil-A on U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines, patrons lined up around the small brick and glass building for hours, and police had to direct traffic that backed up travel lanes on the highway.
Chick-fil-A gained attention last month when company President Dan Cathy expressed his opposition to gay marriage.
“We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Supporters and opponents have taken to the Internet and social media ever since to either stand with or against the fast-food chain. Late last month, the Jim Henson Co. announced it would no longer partner with the restaurant to supply kids’ meal toys.
Gay rights activists have since begun a boycott of Chick-fil-A, hoping to pressure the company into being more tolerant of homosexuals. To counter this, supporters of Chick-fil-A are going to the restaurant en masse.
“I think he’s done a really great job,” said supporter Matthew Kane of Cathy. “I’m out here to support somebody who, through a huge corporate organization, has chosen to stand up for what he believes in.”
“Liberty is liberty,” said patron Bonnie Dougherty. “This man is taking a biblical stand on an issue that concerns all of us: marriage. Our country was founded ‘in God we trust.’”
“I agree with Dan Cathy 100 percent,” said Lorraine Landry, who also turned out Wednesday at the Southern Pines location. “The family should be the way God created it. It doesn’t work any other way.”
Some saw support for Chick-fil-A as a continuation of support for Amendment One, the controversial state constitutional amendment that passed in May restricting the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
“I voted for the marriage amendment,” Pamella Leroy said. “It’s an important issue because it’s what the Lord demands. [Chick-fil-A] is taking the Lord’s stand and they will succeed in their business.”
Eric Corbett, operator of the local Chick-fil-A, declined to comment on the controversy but said he appreciates the jump in business.
“It’s been a challenge, but a pleasant surprise,” he said. “It’s been difficult keeping everybody upbeat, keeping the food in supply, but we’ve met the challenge.”
Corbett estimated that the restaurant served between 7,000 and 8,000 customers. He said the restaurant ran out of some menu items about 9 p.m.
“We did a lot of preplanning,” he said. “We had a lot of management meetings to go over our expectations for the day. And quite frankly, toward the end of the night, we started running out of products, but all the customers were very understanding and just wanted to come out and voice their opinions.”
Gay marriage supporters have called for a boycott of the chain, and same-sex couples around the country plan a kiss-in at Chick-fil-A restaurants today.
Contact Andrew Soboeiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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