Strong Turnout for "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day"

Gay rights activists call for restaurant boycott

By Keaton Fox
|  Thursday, Aug 2, 2012  |  Updated 12:59 AM CDT
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Hundreds of thousands of Texans filled Chick-fil-A restaurants across the state to show support for the company president, who has come under fire for saying the company supports

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News

Hundreds of thousands of Texans filled Chick-fil-A restaurants across the state to show support for the company president, who has come under fire for saying the company supports "the biblical definition of" family.

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Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in North Texas

Chick-fil-A supporters are eating at the chicken chain's restaurants as part of "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" Wednesday in support of the company's president Dan Cathy for publicly backing "the biblical definition of a family."
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Supporters of fast-food restaurant Chick-fil-A jammed drive-thru lines in North Texas on Wednesday.

While some of those in line and visiting inside were making a normal trip for food, many were there for "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently ignited a firestorm of controversy after saying in an interview that the company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family."

"I love Chick-fil-A, and I love what they're doing," said J.T. Tucker, of Saginaw, who made two trips to the restaurant in Hurst to show his support. "They're standing up for what's right in God's word in the Bible, and I thank them for doing what they're doing."

One man at a Euless Chick-fil-a on Wednesday morning said he planned on visiting the restaurant every day this week.

Another man said he visited to support the embattled company president.

"I'm proud of him," Tony Baird said. "I think it takes guts, and it probably cost him some money -- maybe, maybe not; maybe people will rally around him -- but it takes guts."

Same-sex marriage advocates expressed outrage at Cathy's comments, calling for boycotts of Chick-fil-A and for their supporters to take part in a kiss-in at restaurants on Friday.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald that his city will not welcome the restaurant there.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, is credited with launching Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

In an online writing, Huckabee said his intent is to support a business run by a man who is standing up for his beliefs.

"No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate," he said. "The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse."

Several area religious organizations took part in a large way. The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth said it would buy 200 sandwiches for its students and faculty. The Baptist General Convention of Texas in Dallas announced it would buy about 100 biscuits for its employees.

NBC 5's Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.

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