Two days after supporters poured into Chick-fil-A across the U.S., supporters of same-sex marriage will stage a different kind of protest at the controversial restaurant chain.
The Atlanta-based chain has been under fire from gay rights supporters since president Dan Cathy last month told the Baptist Press it was "guilty as charged" for backing the "biblical definition of family."
Cathy also called supporters of gay marriage "arrogant" — prompting calls for a boycott against Chick-fil-A, rebukes from the mayors of Boston and Chicago, and ending at least one business relationship when the Jim Henson Co. pulled its toys from the chain.
And yet the company says it had a "record-setting day" on Wednesday when supporters poured into its 1,600 locations at the urging of former U.S. presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee — a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor — called on supporters of "traditional values" to turn out for what he called "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
Chick-fil-A says Wednesday was a "record-setting day" but would not release exact sales figures.
The company will face a fresh, albeit less aggressive, round of protests on Friday when same-sex couples are expected to stage a "kiss-in" at Chick-fil-A locations across the U.S. at 8 p.m. local time. The Facebook page behind the "Kiss Mor Chiks" protest had tallied more than 18,000 "likes" and other declarations of support by Thursday evening.
One commenter, describing herself as a married mother of two from Virginia, said she is "totally planning to make out with my best friend, a lesbian mommy," at her local Chick-fil-A.
"It's fine with my hubby, my kids think it's 'cool' and my preacher father suggested we participate," she added.
Chick-fil-A says it is unconcerned. A spokesperson described the impending protest as "another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."
Kiss-ins and other, sometimes more provocative, protests have become increasingly popular with activists of all stripes. Chilean students staged a mass kiss-in last year over rising education costs, while young lovers in Istanbul puckered up in support of public displays of affection.
Last year also saw the "Slut Walk" phenomenon spread from Toronto to New York, India and Australia in support of women's rights. The marches of scantily clad protesters were sparked when a Toronto police official said women shouldn't dress like "sluts" if they don't want to be raped.