Posted on August 1, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Updated today at 10:34 PM
What's your stance?
DALLAS â" Chick-fil-A supporters waited in long lines and filled its restaurants across Texas (where the fast food chain has more outlets than any other state) to support the companyâs stance against same-sex marriage.
âWe wanted to be in a place where other people think like we do," said Heidi Vick said as she walked out of a restaurant on Fort Worth's West 7th Street.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday âChick-fil-A Appreciation Day.â It comes just days before gay activists plan to stage a âkiss-inâ at the chainâs restaurants.
âWhen people see the amount of people that support us, I think itâs going to be much more effective than refusing to spend money at a certain place,â said Carly McGehee, who organized âKiss Mor Chiks.â Sheâs asking people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A locations on Friday and kiss each other outside the restaurant.
McGehee, 24, is from Flower Mound, and remembers eating at the popular restaurant nearly every day. Yet she turned against the restaurant after the company began supporting groups that oppose gay marriage.
âI couldnât sit idly by and let my rights be infringed upon any longer,â said McGehee, who currently lives in New York and works as a fundraiser for gay rights groups.
The controversy intensified last month when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the Atlanta-based company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the Biblical definition of a family."
Gay rights groups and others answered with calls for boycotts, which the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston have publicly supported.
"This is not about Mr. Cathy's freedom of speech," said David Reed with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. "This is about how Chick-fil-A directs its money â" specifically to oppose gay and lesbian relationships.â
The chainâs supporters showed up in force on Wednesday. Crowds overwhelmed the companyâs dining rooms coast-to-coast, and lines stretched around many restaurants.
âWe want to say: 'Chick-fil-A, here's our money,â" said Evan Lenow with the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, who bought nearly 200 sandwiches. âWe want to support you with our pocketbook as well as with our words."
Debbie Barnhart arrived at the restaurant in an SUV packed with her friends and family.
"I order things from Amazon, and they support gays, so I don't have a problem with that,â Barnhart said. "But when a company says they support traditional marriage values, then I feel like I want to support that."
Chick-fil-A brought in extra staff at some locations and extra supplies in anticipation of the rush.
McGehee said she wasnât bothered by the chainâs enormous support, and hopes the attention will encourage more people to support her cause later this week.
âRegardless of how many people show up [on Friday], weâve gotten millions of Americans to discuss the topic,â she said.