A large group of people gathered by the new Chick-fil-A food truck Thursday afternoon, but they weren't looking for chicken sandwiches or waffle fries.
The group included members from the Human Rights Campaign protesting recent statements by Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, who recently told Baptist Press, "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."
His statements, which many believe oppose same-sex marriage, have fired up gay rights advocates across the country. Mayors in both Boston and Chicago have urged the company to reconsider locating restaurants in their cities, and the Jim Henson company recently pulled toys from kid's meals.
Thursday's protesters held signs that read, "Your chicken sandwich comes with a side of homophobia," "Hungry 4 Equality" and "Don't be a chicken, support equality," among others.
"We're not calling for a boycott," said Paul Guequierre of the Human Rights Campaign, adding, "Consumers can make their own decisions, but we want to give them information about the company and then they can make better decisions based on that information."
Chick-fil-A issued a statement recently in response to the backlash:
The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.