As people nationwide flock to their local Chick-fil-A, so do hundreds in Toledo, both in support and opposed to the conservative views of the fast-food chain's president.
Wednesday's planned "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" drew long lines of people to Westfield Franklin Park Mall. Much like thousands of people across the country, crowds at the Toledo mall came out in support of the fast food chain's president, Dan Cathy, who said in an interview last week that he is a firm backer of "traditional marriage" (that which is between a man and a woman) and supports a "biblical definition of the family unit."
The event was created by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who has stood out in support of Cathy. Dozens of other prominent individuals and groups, including Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin, have come out in support of the restaurant chain and "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
At Westfield on Wednesday, lines were seen running from Chick-fil-A, through the food court, and into a parking lot. Heavy traffic was reported around the mall Wednesday. Chick-fil-A employees at the mall said over 1,250 customers came through the lines by late afternoon with about 400 coming through every two hours.
Many of those in line travelled many miles to get to the Toledo store. One woman told WNWO that she drove over 60 miles from Michigan just to support a Christian company and free speech.
Critics argue that the company's stance on gay marriage goes beyond recent statements. Proponents of same-sex marriage have scheduled protests of their own. A "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" to be held at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide is planned for Friday. Organizers say gays and lesbians are encouraged to show public displays of affection at the the restaurant.
Chick-fil-A is a family owned and operated company that has over 1,500 stores in 39 states nationwide. The company announced in July that it will open the Toledo-area's first free standing Chick-fil-A restaurant in Perrysburg. Construction has already begun on the Fremont Pike store.
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