Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A becomes the center of attention in same-sex marriage debate

Virginia State Senator Ralph Smith sent out a rallying message to join him at both the Chick-Fil-A at Valley View Mall on Wednesday for lunch and the Salem Chick-fil-A for dinner. The eatery is under siege for their views on same-sex marriage.

Roanoke’s Valley View franchise owner Bob Childress said, “Chick-fil-A has asked us for all media to not come on the property today and Friday.” A boycott by those who support same-sex marriage is expected Friday.

Patti Lee, Children’s Ministry Director at Parkway House of Prayer was there to support 1st Amendment rights and to support those who fought and died for our country and our freedom. “I’m against same-sex marriage.”

Veronica, Jessica and Anna van der Linden

Christina van der Linden brought her three girls Jessica 14, Anna 10 and Veronica 7. The girls stood in front of the Chick-Fil-A cow and posed for a photo.

Smith sent out notices urging people to turn out Wednesday, the National Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day to counter boycotts. Smith handed out American Flags by the dozens and they were snapped up quickly and he soon ran out.

“It’s July 4th in August,” said Smith as he handed out the flags to a line of people that stretched down the side of the building. Cars were backed up on Valley View Boulevard trying to get to the parking lot and drive-in window. There was standing room only inside as people lined up at the counter and down the aisle. All seats were taken.

Smith said he wasn’t surprised by the large turnout. “I can’t think of anyplace that Billy Graham would go that I would not follow. It’s the patriotic duty to stand up for the family unit.”

Smith said he has had the opportunity to be with Truett Cathy the founder of Chick-Fil-A on several occasions. “The way he’s run his business and lived his life is certainly a model for all. So I am an absolute fan of the family and the way they run their business,” he said.

Franchises are closed on Sundays and the corporation donates millions to Christian causes. Don Cathy, Chick-Fil-A president publicly defended his company’s stance against same-sex marriage and that set off the controversy

Politicians are weighing in. Boston’s mayor said he would block the stores from opening in Beantown. A Chicago alderman vowed to prevent franchises from opening in his ward. Smith said, “it was a big mistake for big city mayors to say we don’t want their kind here.”

Other companies have taken the opposite view like Target, General Mills and Starbucks. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz explained their pro-gay stance saying it’s about making its employees proud. It is the sign of the times and they have suffered no ill effects to their bottom line. The American Family Association and the National Organization for Marriage is boycotting them.

Even JC Penney has come under fire by conservative groups for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson.

Weighing in on divisive issues can be tricky and that’s a lesson Chick-Fil-A seems to be learning quickly. In a statement the corporation released they said, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate to the political arena.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Local Events

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