Published: Aug 03, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Aug 04, 2012 05:35 PM
APEX - Customers like Laura Long of Apex were happy to “eat more chicken” on Wednesday in support of Chick-fil-A and the eatery’s stance on traditional marriage.
Long said government officials shouldn’t get involved with business owners’ religious beliefs. And she was just fine with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s recent remarks against gay marriage.
“I’m here because after Dan Cathy made his statement, it’s become about religious freedom of speech,” Long said. “It’s the fact that he’s running a business and is taken to task for his personal views. When you own a business and you can’t have (your) personal views, then your freedom is being threatened.”
Many people poured into Chick-fil-A restaurants around the Triangle on Wednesday to show their support for the business. Apex Chick-fil-A franchise owner Tony Holmes said the turnout was much higher than he anticipated. Some patrons mentioned they were visiting for the third time in the same day.
Holmes said business was up 30 percent, and people were lined up around the block during the lunch rush. Holmes said he supports the company’s Christian values.
“We’re a community restaurant. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what you look like. We’ll give you good service with great food in a good environment,” Holmes said, echoing the company’s previously released statement. “People have their own values and their own opinions, but we can also treat everybody with dignity and respect.”
Several customers told Holmes they were against Cathy’s comments but bought food anyway.
Randy Dye, however, drove to Apex from his home in Pittsboro to show his support for Chick-fil-A. He proudly showed his opinions via a sign: “Supporting: Christian Values; American business; First Amendment (Chik-fil-A).”
Dye said he didn’t think Cathy was speaking out against gay people but instead saying marriage was between a man and a woman.
“We don’t want the definition of marriage changed,” Dye said. “That’s ordained by God.”
Gay activists were scheduled to stage a counter event at 8 p.m. Friday called National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A, asking supporters to post pictures on Tumblr and Facebook. The group generated more than 11,000 potential attendees via Facebook.