Gay couples embraced at Chick-fil-As across the country Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern time in protest of president Dan Cathy’s belief in “the biblical definition of the family unit.” The PDA protests came just two days after what former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee declared to be “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” during which thousands patronized Chick-fil-A restaurants to demonstrate their opposition to same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A broke a single-day sales record Wednesday.
Turnout was fairly underwhelming across the country, especially compared to the success of the week’s earlier protests. In Decatur, Ga., near the company’s headquarters, about two dozen protesters gathered, the New York Times reports. They waved signs with slogans like “We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not eating,” and “Eat Mor Equality.” In Orlando, turnout was also low, with around a dozen protesters gathering at a Chik-fil-A outpost to wave rainbow flags and chant slogans.
Plans for the kiss-ins were created on a Facebook event, which had more than 14,000 people listed as “Going” as of Saturday afternoon. The event site reads:
“In honor of their support for love, equality, and the real definition of family, we’re holding a NATIONAL Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick Fil A’s around the country. So grab a friend (or 20) and head out to your nearest Chick Fil A! And don’t forget to post photos/videos of it here! For all the world to see!
We would also like to clarify that this event was NOT created as a response to Mike Huckabee’s appreciation day, this event was created on July 19, several days before Mike Huckabee announced his plans for Wednesday August 1.”
When asked about the kiss-in on Thursday, Huckabee said, “More power to them.”
But Huckabee’s followers are done voicing their opinions on the matter. In response to the kiss-in, conservative non-profit group Founders’ Intent asked attendees of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to send their receipts and empty fast food bags to Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday. Both mayors said they would support a move to block the chains in their cities. “Stand up to government executives discriminating against private enterprise for the views of private individuals,” the Wisconsin-based group urged on a Facebook event page.
Before the scheduled kiss-ins, a Torrence, CA Chick-fil-A was graffiti-ed with a cow and the phrase “Tastes like Hate,” according to NBC Los Angeles. The police are investigating the crime; it’s unclear whether it was related to the kiss-in event.
Amid the protests, Chick-fil-A released the latest in a series of statements dealing with the controversy:
“At Chick-fil-A, we appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple: to provide great good, genuine hospitality and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Though most Chick-fil-A restaurants saw mere dozens of kissers turn out, the organizers deemed the event a “HUGE success” and posted photos on their Facebook page.