The Chick-fil-A manager in Nashua, New Hampshire is flying the coop. Though Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy announced in mid-July that he was opposed to gay marriage — causing quite a stir — Anthony Piccola, the manager of the chain’s New Hampshire branch, has chosen a diverging path, helping to sponsor a gay pride festival in Manchester, N.H. in August.
Chick-fil-A in recent weeks has become a political symbol. At least three mayors hinted they would try to block Chick-fil-As from their cities. GOP figures like Sarah Palin and David Dewhurst — who just lost a Senate runoff in Texas to Tea Party Candidate, Ted Cruz — made a point of patronizing Chick-fil-As to show their support for Cathy’s stance against same-sex marriage.
(MORE: Politicians Coast-to-Coast Take Sides on Chick-fil-A’s Gay Marriage Controversy)
And now, this Chick-fil-A manager is taking a stand of his own. In a statement, Piccola said he was excited to take part in the New Hampshire Pride Fest on August 11:
“In both my personal and professional life, I have had and continue to have positive relationships with family, friends, customers and employees in the LGBT community. It would make me sad if someone felt they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
The pride festival will feature food, music, and a family-friendly drag show. The event will come only 10 days after “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which took place on Wednesday, August 1. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee organized the event, encouraging those who opposed gay marriage to dine at a Chick-fil-A. Thousands packed locations across the country, setting a company record in sales.
Much furor has been raised by politicians, companies, and customers about Dan Cathy’s public stance against gay marriage. As of yet, though, there is no evidence that the fast food chain discriminates against its employees or customers. “At the end of the day, part of our profits still go towards Dan Cathy, and subsequently, all the organizations he supports,” a gay Chick-fil-A employee told the Huffington Post.
This rationale is what drove some customers to boycott the chain; a same-sex kiss-in at the chain’s restaurants across the country is even planned for Friday.
MORE: From Chick-fil-A to Amazon, Why Companies Take a Stand on Social Issues