For some people Wednesday, lunch represented more than just a chance for a bite to eat.
Chick-fil-A is at the center of a debate over same-sex marriage after remarks by the company's president, Dan Cathy, saying the company’s religious beliefs support marriage only between a man and a woman. While some customers are boycotting the chain, others are making a special effort to support Chick-fil-A.
Wednesday was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day for customers wishing to express support for traditional marriage.
At a location in Sterling, Va., where the lunch crowd was larger than usual, customer Ashley Parker showed her support, calling her support of traditional marriage both a religious view and a political view. Others supported free speech.
““I don’t particularly agree with it, but it’s God-given right in America to make their position known and to take one,” customer Dan Fendlason said. “That’s what this is all about, and I’ll be here on Friday when the gay side comes in and does what they want to do. I support their side, too.”
The company issued a statement saying, "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. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
Since Cathy’s comment, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and mayors in Chicago and Boston have said they don’t want Chick-fil-A to expand in their cities. Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio disagrees with the mayors.
“You’re not allowed to go out and impose your political views on companies on the left or the right, and we can’t discriminate against a company because of their political beliefs of their executives or their employees,” he said.
Supporters of same-sex marriage organized counter-demonstrations at Chick-fil-As across the country Friday.