Thousands of Americans took the opportunity to turn Wednesday’s lunch break into a political statement as part of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
At the Ballston Mall Chik-fil-A in Arlington, Va., more than 50 people waited in line at lunch to get their chicken fix, including U.S. Military men and women in uniform and several volunteers from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“We felt it was important to put our money where our mouth is, and our values,” said one customer named Charlotte, who was with a friend on lunch break. “They have great food, they have great policies, the people who work for them are happy.”
The day of support for Chick-fil-A is a response to the public outcry that occurred when the president of the popular fast food chain, Dan Cathy, publicly announced his support for traditional marriage.
“We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,” he said in a radio interview last week. “And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
In response to vicious attacks against the company for it’s already well-known Christian beliefs (Chik-fil-As are closed on Sundays, for instance), FOX News Contributor Mike Huckabee declared August 1, 2012 to be Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day across the United States, and encouraged Americans to support the company. As of Wednesday more than 640,000 Americans nationwide had RSVP’d on Facebook that they were ‘going’ to attend Huckabee’s event.
While many customers visited Chick-fil-A in order to show their support for traditional marriage, the majority went to support freedom of speech.
“They stand up for great values, and we’re in a country where freedom should be respected,” Charlotte said. “So we’re exercising our freedom today and eating some great food.”
In Raleigh, N.C. lines of cars waiting to enter Chick-fil-A caused so much congestion on highways that police had to direct traffic.
“I come here usually because I work across the street but especially today,” said Judson Jones, a Raleigh resident. “I believe in what he [Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy] said.”
Another Raleigh woman said that she stopped by Chick-fil-A in order to, “support the reasons that they are closed on Sundays.”
Twitter was also flooded with support for Chick-fil-A and photos of crowded restaurants and drive throughs across the country.
Not content to let conservatives have the last word, however, gay marriage advocates are planning a “Kiss Mor Chiks” Day for Friday, in which gay couples will perform public displays of affection in Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country in protest of the statements.
No word from Chik-fil-A yet on how it will handle the upcoming kiss-in.
Regina Conley contributed to this report.