Chicken chain diners back 'traditional marriage'




Posted on August 1, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 1 at 6:19 PM

What's your stance?

FORT WORTH — North Texans loosened their Bible belts to eat more chicken on Wednesday.

"We wanted to be in a place where other people think like we do," said Heidi Vick said as she walked out of the Chick-fil-A on Fort Worth's West 7th Street.

In 100 degree heat, lines at the fast food restaurant stretched outside the air conditioned zone. Drive-thrus were 50 cars deep during the lunch hour.

Every customer News 8 spoke with said they were there to support Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and his outspoken view supporting "traditional marriage."

"They're not afraid to say it's 2012, but we don't care," said Preston Burnley, who was waiting outside at 1 p.m. “You can boycott us if you want, but we're still going to stand up for our rights."

Gay and Lesbian Alliance president David Reed joined the national boycott led by GLAAD — the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He won't eat at Chick-fil-A because dollars speak louder than words.

"This is not about Mr. Cathy's freedom of speech," Reed said.

He pointed to Chick-fil-A's website, which shows profits go to the private WinShape Foundation. GLAAD says WInShape bans same-sex couples from its marriage retreats and counseling programs.

"This is about how Chick-fil-A directs its money — specifically to oppose gay and lesbian relationships through WinShape Foundation," Reed said.

Reed said he doesn't have a problem with the words of Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage. On his Facebook page, Gossage called the gay and lesbian boycott a liberal agenda that's "disgusting and untraditional."

Reed said those words would not warrant a boycott. "This is his own personal viewpoint and his own personal money," Reed said.

The Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary joined the discussion at the Chick-fil-A restaurant near Alta Mesa and McCart. The seminary put down the Bibles and picked up the tab for 200 sandwiches.

"We want to say, 'Chick-fil-A, here's our money," said Evan Lenow. “We want to support you with our pocketbook as well as with our words."

Debbie Barnhart came to the restaurant in an SUV packed with friends and family. She said her lunch crowd was there in favor of the Cathy family.

"I order things from Amazon, and they support gays, so I don't have a problem with that,” Barnhart said. "But, when a company says they support traditional marriage values, then I feel like I want to support that."

Chick-fil-A told News 8 it did not organize the event. It did have extra staff at some locations and extra supplies in anticipation of the rush.

GLAAD has asked for another protest on Friday, August 3. It wants same-sex couples to stage a “conservative” public kiss in Chick-fil-A restaurants.