Chick-fil-A Protest Shifts from “Eat-in” to “Kiss-in”

Participants in the kissing crusade headed to nearby Chick-fil-A restaurants and locked lips with a demonstrator of the same sex.

First the eat-in. Now the kiss-in.

Gay rights activists and other supporters of marriage equality descended on Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country Friday for “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” in protest of the fast food chain owner’s opposition to same-sex unions.

The kiss-in protest came two days after the Georgia-based privately held chain announced “record-setting” sales on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," ushered in by former Arkansas governor and ex-Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Participants in the kissing crusade headed to local Chick-fil-A restaurants and locked lips with same-sex partners. The event, as well as calls to boycott the company, got the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Staged by supporters of same-sex marriage, the counter event came in response to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s remarks to the Baptist Press that his company supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Cathy’s remarks, and past support for anti-gay marriage initiatives have stirred controversy among the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community and its allies. But conservative Christians have rallied for Cathy, as have other supporters who have framed the issue as one of free speech.

Mike Huckabee proclaimed last Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” to urge Americans to support the company. Hundreds of thousands of customers flocked to more than 1,600 Chick-fil-A locations, according to the LA Times.

Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A executive vice president of marketing, told NBC News the chain had a “record-setting day,” but declined to offer sales figures.

Big cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia have been at the center of the controversy.

Chicago Alderman Joe "Proco" Moreno said he does not want a company that discriminates against a segment of the community setting up shop in his ward, and said he planned to block the fast-food chain from opening a location in the Logan Square neighborhood.

"I think it's irresponsible to have discriminatory policies from the top down," Moreno said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to echo Moreno's sentiment, saying that the values expressed by Cathy were not in line with Chicago values, NBC Chicago reported.

"Gay couples are our neighbors, our families, members of our own families, they’re our residents- those are our values," Emanuel said. "And we don’t want to have any policy that discriminates against people that are essential members and members who contribute to the value of our city. That’s who we are."

Amid a backlash, Emanuel's press secretary later clarified to NBC Chicago that the mayor "never said he'd block the restaurant from coming."

In Philadelphia, City Councilman Jim Kenney wrote a letter to Dan Cathy, stating that the views of the chain's president are not welcome: “So please – take a hike and take your intolerance with you. There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly and Sisterly Affection.”

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