Thousands 'Eat More Chikin' to Support Chick-Fil-A
People from all over drove to Racine's Chick-Fil-A to participate in nationwide "eat-in," an event started by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to support the owner of Chick-Fil-A's support of traditional marriage.
People supporting Chick-Fil-A put their money where their mouth is in a big way Wednesday.
After company President Dan Cathy's comments about supporting traditional marriage went public, there were talks of boycotting the company, and the Muppets contract with Chick-Fil-A got stuffed.
But former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stepped to the company's defense, organizing a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. He spread the word through the most effective means available, by creating a Facebook page.
At Regency Mall in Racine, the line was out the door, down the hall, through the mall and circled back in front of an end anchor store. As of 2:45 pm, the restaurant had been open for nearly five hours and had served between 1,500 and 2,000 people.
And it wasn't just folks from the greater Racine area who took time out to wait in line. Keith and Bonnie Chillquist drove in from Mukwanago, and Jim from the Sheboygan Tea Party (he didn't want to give his last name) came down from Sheboygan.
"We heard about the protests against Chick-Fil-A, so we came over to support the rights of small business owners and the rights of business owners to say what they believe," said Keith Chillquist. "There's this thing called the Constitution, and Democrats try and take it and do whatever they want with it but we think that's wrong."
"We came down to support Chick-Fil-A because of the political quandry they're in because it isn't right," he said. "The owner has a right to say what he thinks and what he believes."
Caledonia's Heather Doebereiner said she was eating at Chick-Fil-A not because she agrees or disagrees with what Cathy said, but because she supports his right to say it.
"I'm supporting him having his own opinion," she said. "This is about freedom of speech and not necessarily whether I agree with him or not."
The Wisconsin Family Council purchased 300 $5 gift cards as a "thank you" to those stopping at the restaurant to eat. Julaine Appling, president of the group, said with the turnout so much greater than anticipated, they had to buy more gift cards to try and keep up.
"We are the marriage champion so of course we want to show Chick-Fil-A that we support Mr. Cathy's view," she said. "Look at this line. This shows that Wisconsin citizens have core values and are willing to show their appreciation for a company that shares those values."
Gay marriage supporters aren't letting this go quietly, though. A Facebook group has started to promote a counter-protest.
Dubbed "National Same-Sex Kiss Day," the invitation asks people to gather at their local Chick-Fil-A at 8 pm Friday to stage a same-sex "kiss-in."
Patch left a message with the office at Regency Mall about whether or not they're aware of this event and their plans to handle any potential crowds.