Patrons cite religious freedom, First Amendment at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day
"Drive thru line at Apalachee Parkway Chick-fil-A is 40 cars deep. Stretches back Apalachee Parkway 2 blocks," Michael Williams tweeted.
"Chick-fil-A Ashland, KY Cars lined up both ways on US 23 to get in. Not sure I'll get in. Sure wasn't expecting this," Alliance Bean tweeted.
"I am in insanely long line in Atlanta. Anti-Big Brother, indifferent on the rest. Classic liberal," Allan Lynch tweeted.
Chick-fil-A critics have also planned protests, with organizers of one rally writing on Facebook that they hope to counter "the bigotry and hate that is being promoted by the Chick-fil-A company."
On Friday, same-sex couples are planning to meet at Chick-fil-A locations for National Same-Sex Kiss Day.
"As a private company, Chick-fil-A has every right to alienate as many customers as they want," said Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "But consumers and communities have every right to speak up when a company's president accuses them of 'inviting God's wrath' by treating their LGBT friends, neighbors and family members with respect."
According to GLAAD, Chick-fil-A's "anti-LGBT stance goes well beyond simply opposing marriage equality."
"They have given millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations, including those that have been designated 'hate groups' by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and those that push so-called 'ex-gay' therapy, which has been denounced by the mainstream medical and mental health community."
"Chick-fil-A has an extensive history of discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, including funneling millions to organizations that actively work to deny rights to the LGBT community," the Human Rights Campaign said in a blog post.
"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," a Chick-fil-A Facebook post said.
"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 . . . 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."
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