In an event that has proven to be far more about constitutional freedom than anything else, hundreds of thousands of people nationwide waited in line for hours today to get a chicken sandwich, with police directing traffic for drive-through windows.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, organized by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee after gay activists targeted the company in response to CEO Dan Cathy saying his family supports biblical values, overwhelmed franchises from coast to coast. More than 600,000 people responded to the online invitation to the event, and even more showed up at their local franchises to support free speech.
One of those was Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, who ordered 650 chicken sandwiches for the ministry staff.
“It’s festive. Everybody’s upbeat — very kind,” he told CitizenLink while waiting in a line that wrapped through the store out the door, down the driveway, through the parking lot and down the street in two directions in a northern Colorado Springs business district.
Democratic mayors in four cities last week said they would work to keep Chick-fil-A franchises from opening in their towns — striking a nerve with the people who turned out to show their support today. Some franchises reported running out of items before midday, requiring them to special order supplies.
“I didn’t even know Chick-fil-A was such a strong supporter of the family,” Paul McLaughlin, 34, of Colorado Springs told CitizenLink while standing in 95-degree temperatures, waiting to order lunch with his wife and infant daughter. “As soon as I heard on the news they were getting heat for it, I knew instantly I would be here supporting them today.
“There are so many companies that are open in their support for gay rights. This is the first time I’ve heard of a company openly supporting marriage,” he added. “I don’t understand why they can say whatever they want, but we can’t. It’s about freedom of speech and marriage.”
Chick-fil-A employees were also outside, offering free ice water to the people waiting in line. On the street nearby, people with clipboards sought to register voters and gather petition signatures.
Daly noted that the boycott against Chick-fil-A and the mayors’ collective statements are “the antithesis to the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.
“I think the Cathy family is right. I think Cathy’s remarks are right on target,” he said. “They respect all people regardless of their sexual orientation.
“People are just saying it’s self-evident that men and women marry. That traditional, Biblical marriage is defined as a man and a woman. Literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the country are standing for that. It’s almost as if they have woken the sleeping giant, and it just comes down to Chick-fil-A.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the CitizenLink Action Center to send a note of support and thanks to Dan Cathy.