Chicken and a cause: Customers swarm Chick-Fil-A restaurants

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Chicken and a cause: Customers swarm Chick-Fil-A restaurants

CREATED Aug 1, 2012

Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell   Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It wasn't your typical lunch rush at Tucson Chick-Fil-A's. Chickens can't fly, but the chicken sandwiches were sure flying out the door, all because of the company's unrelenting stance on gay marriage. It was all part of a nationwide crusade fueled by social media of course.

At El Con Mall, it was one man in a cow suit versus a flock of Chick-Fil-A fans. Patrons coming out to support Dan Cathy, the company's President and Chief Operating Officer.

Inside the restaurant there was no room to move. More than an hour and a half wait said customers. It was packed with people in line for chicken and a cause. 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked customers if they were surprised by this massive turnout. Chick-Fil-A supporter Nancy Hughes replied, "Not at all. To be able to support traditional marriage is a great American freedom."

The lines were so long they wrapped around the building. The drive thru lines were no shorter.

"It was worth the wait," said Chick-Fil-A supporter Angelica Lopex.

Tucsonans turned out by the thousands to show support for the fast food giant.

"I have nothing against homosexuals, I have friends that are homosexuals, but I still support traditional marriage," Hughes said.

"We need to stand for what's right, we love our country, and we'll fight for it," said Alvin Smith. 

On this day, a pretty uneven fight. 9OYS cameras caught one lone protester calling for "no more homophobia."

"I think what they're doing is wrong," Irving said. "Everybody has a right to find happiness. It's a God given right. God loves everyone."

9OYSs interview with the lone protester was interrupted by a man not happy we were talking to the other side. He calls the man in a cow suit a fool. 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito gave him a chance to talk. He told him, he'd rather eat.

"There is a lot of anger out here," Irving said. "They are calling me names and speaking hate. It's just not right. It's hypocritical."

Gay rights activists plan a counter protest on Friday. They're calling it "Kiss Mor Chiks." They are calling on same sex couples to show up at Chick-Fil-A's across the country to kiss in public as a sign of public affection.

Chick-Fil-A released a statement that in part read, "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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward our intent it to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."

To read the company's full statement, click here.