Lunch at Chick-fil-A on Friday Was Business as Usual
After Wednesday's Customer Appreciation Day, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain wasn't sure what was in store on Friday. The day had been tagged as "Same Sex Kiss Day" by gay and lesbian groups.
The Peachtree Corners Chick-fil-A was packed as usual during the noon hour on Friday. The lunch-time lines were long, both inside and in the drive-through and the dining room full of families and workers on their lunch breaks.
There was no sign of the debate that has been waging since the restaurant owner's comments made headlines.
The controversary stemmed from an interview with a Baptist publication in which Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy said the company was "guilty as charged" of supporting the biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
In response to Wednesday's "Customer Appreciation Day" proclaimed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, gay/lesbian groups had promoted a "Same Sex Kiss Day" to take place on Friday.
Chick-fil-A's response has been measured and careful on the Friday promotion. When asked if he was prepared for the day, Eric Walls, the manager of the store, said simply, "We always treat every one with dignity and respect."
The store was filled with diners including three women who had met for lunch before heading back to college in a few weeks. None felt that the restaurant should be targeted for its owner's remarks.
"This is a place for food not a place for debates," said Natalie Phillips, a Peachtree Corners resident and UGA sophamore. "I don't think people should stop eating here just because they may not agree with his beliefs."
Phillips friend, Elizabeth Schall, nodding in agreement, said the issue was really about free speech and the owner of the Chick-fil-A had the same right as anyone else.
"I think it's ironic that the company gives so many scholarships," said Schall, a Peachtree Corners resident who begins her sophamore year at Harding Unviersity in Arkansas in a few weeks. "The company gives in so many ways, maybe other companies should elavate to their standards to match."
Anna Beaver, the third of the trio to speak out, said "It's a private company, the owner should be able to stand up for his beliefs without ridicule."
What do you think? Has the controversary that has swirled around for weeks since the news first hit really just about free speech?