ELK GROVE, CA - Hundreds of thousands of Chick-fil-A supporters flocked to the restaurant Wednesday as the company continues to be criticized for an executive's comments about gay marriage.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press last month that the Atlanta-based company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family."
That unleashed a torrent of criticism from gay rights groups and others, who have called for boycotts and efforts to block the chain from opening new stores.
But now, supporters of what they call traditional family values packed the chicken fast-food chain, supporting the organization's Christian values.
At the Elk Grove location, diners waited in line up to an hour.
"They need our support," said Marilyn Fothergill, who took an hour long church bus ride from Oakdale. "They don't need to be degraded just because of their values."
Traffic was backed up on Bond Road almost all day Wednesday, even jamming up the northbound lanes of Highway 99 for a little while.
"It's wonderful," Rhonda Russell said. "It's a great thing to come out here and see all this. I've never seen anything like this before."
The Elk Grove location ran out of produce for some of the sandwiches, forcing reduced menu selections.
"We didn't even care if we got to eat," said Fothergill. "We just cared to come and show that we were supporting them."
Opponents of the company's stance are planning "Kiss Mor Chiks" for Friday, when they are encouraging people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and kiss each other.
The Associated Press