There'll be a lot of lip-smacking in Chick-fil-A restaurants today, but it'll be in the smooching way, not in the this-chicken-sandwich-sure-is-tasty way.
Gay rights activists are calling for a nationwide "kiss in" protest at Chick-fil-A's more than 1,600 locations today, two days after hundreds of thousands flocked to the fast food chain in support of the owner's public opposition to same-sex unions, reported the Associated Press.
The Chick-fil-A face-off reveals deep divisions over gay rights in America. Everyone from Sarah Palin to the Muppets have gotten involved.
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Organizers are encouraging participants to kiss someone of the same sex at a Chick-fil-A restaurants today to protest owner Dan Cathy's stance on gay rights, said AP.
Former Arkansas Governor and presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, who called for Wednesday's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, responded to today's planned "kiss in" by telling FOX News, "[t]hat's America," adding, "[i]f they believe that this will help their cause - to put people of the same sex kissing each other in front of families - if they believe that will encourage people to be more sympathetic, then more power to them."
Kiss-in protest organizer Carly McGehee told AP she hopes today's event "helps LGBT youth who feel isolated and are victims of bullying."
The whole thing began late last month, when Cathy told a Christian gathering that he and his company opposed same-sex unions because they conflict with what he described as Biblical values. While Cathy said "[w]e don't claim to be a Christian business," he told the Biblical Recorder that "as an organization we can operate on biblical principles."
The chain's WinShape foundation reportedly donated almost $2 million to "anti-gay" groups, according to an investigation by the gay-rights organization Equality Matters cited by The New York Times.
Chick-fil-A is "based on biblical principles," Cathy explained, saying company leadership is "asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us," he told the Biblical Recorder.
Indeed, the whole thing has proven quite a windfall for the fast food giant, with a top Chick-fil-A executive telling NBC News that Wednesday's pro-Chick-fil-A rally was a "record-setting day" for the company. Since he declined to elaborate, NBC turned to the PrivCo research firm, which said the event probably pulled in an additional $8 million in revenue.
It's not a figure likely to be matched by its latest competitor -- Portland's new "Hate Free Chicken Sandwich."
"It's modeled after a certain restaurant's recipe," Portland-based Hamburger Mary chef Sagamore Blakley told AP. "This is not copied as a compliment."