Thousands of Americans turned out yesterday to feast on fried chicken in a politically-charged show of support for a family owned fast-food chain which opposes same-sex marriage.
Long lines and traffic jams were reported throughout the American heartland after 630,000 people declared on Facebook they would take part in a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
“I just got my chicken and my car is filled with the smell of freedom,” a caller named Steve told conservative talk show host Mike Huckabee from the Chick-fil-A outlet at Fort Walton Beach in the Florida panhandle.
“Cars are just everywhere,” reported another caller from Florida, named Vicky. “Everybody is coming for Chick-fil-A, freedom and Christianity. It’s a beautiful thing.”
In campaigns for US elections, President Barack Obama favours marriage equality, while his Republican rival Mitt Romney insists marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. Both have yet to comment on the Chick-fil-A flap.
With more than 1,600 outlets, mainly in the southern United States, family-owned Chick-fil-A is as famous for its Bible Belt values — it never opens on Sunday — as it is for chicken breast sandwiches and nuggets.
But it is under fire from gay rights activists and their supporters who, citing tax records, say it has given millions of dollars to Christian groups that vigorously campaign against marriage equality.
“Guilty as charged,” president Dan Cathy told a Baptist publication in mid-July, adding in a subsequent radio interview that the United States is “inviting God’s judgment” by recognizing same-sex vows.
Critics of Chick-fil-A plan a National Same-Sex Kiss Day outside the chain’s restaurants and shopping-mall locations on Friday and claim they are getting their message across. (AFP)