Restaurant's 'Appreciation Day' brings out supporters, protesters | News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS)- Drivers traveling by Chick-fil-a Wednesday in Cape Girardeau may have noticed a bit of a traffic jam.
A lot of people are taking part in a national show of support for the fast food chain as the company continues to be criticized for an executive's comments about gay marriage.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press last month that the Atlanta-based company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." That unleashed a torrent of criticism from gay rights groups and others, who have called for boycotts and efforts to block the chain from opening new stores.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, more than 529,000 people on Facebook have accepted an invitation to take part in the event.
There were responses across the country on facebook.
That lead us to ask the question, how does this affect a business long term, if it all?
"Someone who's really in favor of what Chik-fil-A has done or said is not going to eat there every day now," said Southeast Missouri State University Business Director Dr. Bruce Domazlicky. "They're going to get tired of it real fast, I expect, even if they really like the food. You'll see this blip today. You may see an offsetting one on Friday. But overall I think in the end, people are going to go back to doing what they do best, making choices."
The president of Cape's Chambers says patrons have a choice.
"Consumers can patronize any kind of businesses they want to patronize," said John Mehner, President of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. "And, they can look at a corporation's policy or its goals or different things, or they can just choose to go after a product regardless of what the corporation believes."
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently said he believes in the Biblical definition of marriage, meaning it is a union between a man and a woman.
Though, Cathy said he loves and respects anyone who disagrees.
Supporters of same-sex marriage have accused the chain of discrimination and are calling for a boycott.
Chick-fil-A said it does not discriminate against anyone.
Opponents of the company's stance are planning "Kiss Mor Chiks" for Friday, when they are encouraging people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and kiss each other.
One group protested at Liberty Square near Capaha Park.
"We're trying to make aware that people need to get out there. They need to make people aware of what we need to do. They need to fight for what they want, our civil rights," said Adam Beard. "We would like equality. Just our basic being able to marry who we want. Love is not gender specific."
So many people went to the Cape Girardeau location that it created a traffic tie-up near the restaurant.
It's also making it hard to get into Saint Francis Medical Center.
"This parking lot is reserved for our patients, families and visitors and it is our responsibility to make sure we have adequate space for them," said Rick Fehr, the security/risk manager for Saint Francis Medical Center.
Police were called out to help with traffic.
Copyright 2012 KFVS & CNN All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.