East Texans Line Streets To Eat At Chick-Fil-A
By BRITTNI BARNETT And TAYLOR GRIFF
East Texans showed up in droves at local Chick-fil-A restaurants on Wednesday to show their support for the company's stance on gay marriage.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy, in his statement to The Baptist Press in July, stated he supported the "the biblical definition of the family unit."
As a result, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee encouraged people to show their support for the company on Wednesday, declaring it "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
In Tyler, lines stretched out the door at the Chick-fil-A on Broadway Avenue at lunchtime as hundreds of people waited for their turn to order. Traffic was backed up on the street as others waited in line for the drive-thru.
Manager Barb Carter said the restaurant had been packed all day and that people were waiting for them to open at 6:30 a.m.
"We were encouraged to have extra staff on hand and prepare for a busy day," Ms. Carter said. "We had no idea there would be this many people."
Shanna Best, of Tyler, came to Chick-fil-A Wednesday to show her support for the company's values.
"When I heard what was going on, I was all for supporting it," Ms. Best said. "Because I'm a Christian, I stand with others who uphold Christian beliefs and morals. This is a good company."
As Frank Churchwell, of Grand Saline, waited in line to order, he said he did not come to Chick-fil-A as part of the supporters.
"I have two granddaughters hungry for some Chick-fil-A and I have a coupon," Churchwell. "I had no idea this was going on or I wouldn't have come. The man's got an opinion but he should keep it to himself. I could care less what he thinks."
Jenny Jones, one of the founding members of Tyler Junior College's Straights and Gays for Equality (S.A.G.E.), said while people have the right to express their opinions, some of what they say can be hurtful.
"I believe a corporation has the right to operate on their own principles and values," Ms. Jones said. "What I have a problem with is them donating millions of dollars to charities, groups and PACs (political action committees) that promote discrimination, bigotry as well as other things. I am very much against Chick-fil-A and am not a customer there."
There are currently more than 1,600 independently owned and operated Chick-fil-A restaurants in the United States.
According to a statement on its website, while Chick-fil-A manages its business on biblically-based principles, going forward it will "leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," according to the statement. "Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
When contacted by the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Ed King, owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurants on Broadway Avenue and Troup Highway in Tyler, was unable to comment at this time.