|Chick-fil-A draws support after ‘marriage’ statements |
|Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:00 pm |
Special to The Messenger
Dale Royster of Martin went to Chick-fil-A on the “Appreciation Day” Wednesday to buy some Chick-fil-A original chicken sandwiches for himself and his wife
For those people who came out in droves to spend a few bucks at their local Chick-fil-A Wednesday, it was more than just chicken that prompted their support of the popular restaurant.
Several weeks ago, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a noted conservative and former presidential candidate, inspired a large number of people to join a movement that grew en masse.
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy started the company when he was 46 years old.
Recently, his son and company chief executive officer Dan Cathy announced his belief that marriage should be between one man and woman. Since then, conversations have been started on the Internet and media outlets nationwide.
Huckabee said he stands with the family’s Christian values and pushed for a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which was met with more than 640,000 people standing with that effort nationally on Wednesday.
“I ask you to join me in speaking out on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” he wrote on Facebook. “No one is asked to make signs, speeches or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A.”
Chick-fil-A does not open on Sundays.
At Sodexo’s Chick-fil-A, located on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin, customers lined the Boling Center waiting patiently for their turn in support of the restaurant Wednesday afternoon.
Close to 1,000 people locally joined in that effort, which was a huge boost to the restaurant’s daily average.
According to Sodexo general manager Benjamin Long, the UT Martin campus Chick-fil-a normally has around 50 people in a day over the summer.
Blake Dover of Columbia heard about the event from his friend, Brittany Lyell of Rives. Dover is taking summer classes at UT Martin and has kept up with the discussion in the news regarding the Chick-fil-a controversy. “I’m just here to support Chick-fil-a’s founding beliefs basically,” he said.
Ms. Lyell heard about the event on Facebook. “They have the right to their opinion, so they should express what they truly believe,” she said.
After waiting in the long line, she planned to get a peach milkshake and Dover planned to get a small vanilla milkshake with some waffle fries.
The restaurant typically opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. during the week in the summer months. It wasn’t until 2:30 Wednesday when the last customers finally purchased their food. While people across the area showed up primarily in support of the “Appreciation Day,” some were just there to eat.
Johnathan Nunley and Charity Curry didn’t know about the event until they arrived to grab lunch. After hearing that it was an appreciation day for the fast-food chain, they changed their minds and decided not to eat at Chick-fil-A.
“My plan is to marry a woman, but if two people of the same sex want to marry, I can’t do anything about it,” Nunley said. “I don’t want to give in to all the hype.”
“I think it’s impressive to see that this has such an impact,” said Ms. Curry after looking around at the large crowd. “People came from all over Weakley County and they used the media to build up the event. I think it (the hype) could be used for something more beneficial like education.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, people across the nation in support of same-sex marriage are being called to visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant Friday and publicly, but conservatively, kiss for “National Same-Sex Kiss Day.”
This movement was reportedly started three days after Dan Truett’s comments on national television. The group behind the movement, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is asking people to take and post photos and videos to the Internet from Friday’s event.
Editor’s note: The preceding story was compiled by the news staff at The Weakley County Press in Martin.
Published in The Messenger 8.2.12