Patrons of Chick-fil-A came out in droves Wednesday, spending their dollars to support the restaurant chain that’s facing harsh criticism over CEO and President Dan Cathy’s comments about the sanctity of traditional marriage.
“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" was first proposed by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
The nationwide demonstration in support of Chick-fil-A happened after mayors across the country condemned the company for Cathy’s comments in a recent interview.
"We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” he said.
The backlash prompted some politicians to highlight their support of free speech Wednesday.
"We're just here to show Chick-fil-A our support in support of the First Amendment,” said Karen Harrington, a South Florida candidate for Congress, at a restaurant in Davie.
That location is usually busy, but on Wednesday the lines stretched in every direction and the parking overflowed into additional lots.
“I don’t necessarily agree with his stance on gay marriage, but I mean it’s a free county, and he makes delicious chicken sandwiches,” Casey Catalfomo said, shrugging.
But critics of Chick-fil-A say the company's opposition to gay marriage is not the only issue, adding that the CEO openly supports antigay organizations, which they say cannot be tolerated.