By Jesse Wood
Aug. 1, 2012. Across the country – including in the High Country, people are flocking to Chick-fil-A today to support traditional marriage – and free speech – after comments from Chick-fil-A’s president caused a stir among same-sex advocates.
This comes more than two months after North Carolina constituents voted overwhelmingly for Amendment One or Marriage Protection Amendment, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, in May and a few weeks after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said, “Guilty as charged,” when asked by the Baptist Press about the company’s support of traditional marriage.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” Cathy told Baptist Press.
Soon, these comments created a backlash among same-sex marriage advocates, protests at its restaurants and even caused the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco to warn the franchise not to pursue new restaurants in their cities.
Then, former governor of Arkansas and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee created a Facebook event, proclaiming Aug. 1 “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which has garnered hundreds of thousands of friends. A link leading to the Facebook event page says, “It’s not about fried chicken. It’s about free speech.”
Huckabee said, “The Mayor of Boston says he won’t allow Chick-fil-A in Boston. Amazing that a mayor now has the power to stop commerce because he personally disagrees with the personal views of the CEO of a company.”
Locally, the restaurant and its stance on marriage has support with hundreds of customers waiting for multiple hours to eat lunch in Boone, including a group of people from First Christian Church in Mountain City, Tenn., that traveled to the High Country for the occasion.
In Boone, the police department directed traffic in front of the entrance to Chick-fil-A on U.S. 321 for several hours on Wednesday, and one witness said traffic was backed up all the way to N.C. 105.
Will Price of Zionville and his son waited nearly two hours for some chicken sandwiches in their white pickup truck at the local Chick-fil-A to show his support for traditional marriage.
“That’s what I believe,” Price said.
Was it worth the wait? “Very much so,” he added.
Kimberley Towle, the lead marketing director at the Boone Chick-fil-A said the restaurant has been packed at least since 10:30 a.m., when she arrived to work on Wednesday. She added that the restaurant hasn’t been this busy since its grand opening in 2004.