The Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy started after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain's president and COO, Dan Cathy, appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16. He weighed in with his views on family.
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BOCA RATON Hundreds of supporters of Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain whose president opposes same-sex relationships, lined up for lunch at Town Center at Boca Raton on Wednesday afternoon, creating a queue that zigzagged through the recently renovated food court.
Chanting "USA! Chick-fil-A!" the supporters, organized by Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, marched from the entrance to the mall to the food court after a rallying cry from their pastor, the Rev. Mark Boykin. They said they wanted to show gay-rights supporters that there are many people who oppose same-sex marriage and they can exercise their freedom of speech with equal enthusiasm.
"They are making a lot of noise, but they are in the minority," church member Celio Fonseca said of gay-rights activists. The Boca Raton father of four attended the event with his daughter, Stephanie, 17. "Everyone has the right to express what they believe, and we are here to support the chain."
Supporters and opponents of Chick-fil-A are visiting restaurants across the country this week to register their opinions after President Dan Cathy told a Baptist newspaper the chain supports "the biblical definition of the family unit." Opponents have organized a "National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A" on Friday, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee encouraged a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday.
Twitter users across the country said Chick-fil-A outlets were packed, with lines out the door and into the parking lot that were causing traffic delays.
At Town Center, the line of several hundred people remained in the mall, to the consternation of some shoppers who sought a quieter, less political lunch hour.
"They are allowed to do what they want. Having said that, it's disruptive," said a Canadian tourist who declined to give her name. "This isn't the place for it. It's supposed to be an upper-class area."
Mall officials also were not pleased. A security officer asked Boykin to stop speaking to the crowd assembled at the mall entrance, although he finished his speech anyway. Mall manager Brian Nelson said later the mall is private property.
Boykin called National Same Sex Kiss Day "reprehensible and offensive."
"We are not going to give in to these bizarre and freakish behaviors," Boykin said. "We will continue to exercise our First Amendment rights, the gay community notwithstanding."
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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