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Gay Marriage Debate Moves To Chick-fil-A Stores

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - The same-sex marriage debate is escalating on Wednesday, but it will not be happening inside of a courthouse or in the politicial arena. Instead, the chicken you choose could reveal your stance about gay marriage. Thousands of conservatives are expected to fill Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country on Wednesday.

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has made it clear that he believes in the biblical view of marriage — a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage advocates then launched a nationwide boycott campaign. Hundreds of churches and conservative groups retaliated by announcing support for the fast-food restaurant chain, and the company’s push to adhere to traditional values.

“While they may have been in neutral, kicking this fight into overdrive now allows fair-minded consumers to make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Associated Press after Cathy made his comments. “As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.”

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth plans to support Chick-fil-A by buying hundreds of chicken sandwiches for students and faculty members on Wednesday. First Baptist Church pastor Robert Jeffress has also encouraged his congregation to go to Chick-fil-A. The issue is not about homosexuality, Jeffress said, but rather freedom of religious expression.

“I think it’s important to make a statement, stand up for people that have good Christian values, good Christian morals, and stand up for what they believe in,” said one Chick-fil-A customer early Wednesday morning.

Gay rights groups have called for a complete boycott of the chicken chain, and have even planned protests outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants in many cities across the country. Same-sex marriage advocates are also planning a nationwide ‘kiss-in’ inside some locations on Friday, and proponents are asking for donations of $6 — about the same amount as a Chick-fil-a meal — to gay and lesbian rights groups, as a counter-protest.

“I’ll never go back,” said homosexual North Texas resident James Persha. “If they want to take that stance, then they should go bankrupt.”

Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant in a Georgia mall in 1967 and has since grown to more than 1,615 locations, including 262 in Texas. They close on Sundays in order to bring biblical principles to their business. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” Cathy told the Baptist Press.

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