Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Rallies Supporters in Wake of Gay Marriage Firestorm

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An unofficial Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day brought hundreds of thousands of fast food lovers out to the support the embattled restaurant, which has endured serious criticism resulting from its ownership's gay marriage stance.

Supporters converged on its locations on Wednesday after former GOP presidential hopeful and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared it to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day called on people to show support a great business.

Tea Party groups, conservative activists and countless ordinary patrons flocked to the chain, which has been under fire since chief executive Dan Cathy recently stated that he and his company were against gay marriage.

The comments drew strong reactions, with customers pledging to boycott the chain and some mayors - most notably Boston's Tom Menino and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel - proclaiming they would not allow Chick-fil-A in their cities.

Interestingly, many came out to support the restaurant and Cathy's religious beliefs, even if they say they are less than religious themselves.

"I'm not getting myself involved in the issue of gay marriage and all that, I'm not getting involved in a religious debate," Gwilym McGrew said.

"I'm getting involved in the government and the media basically putting their thumb on a businessperson for his religious beliefs."

Mark Almlie said he'd never even had Chick-fil-A food, but drove in Wednesday to support "people that stand up for what they believe in."

"I'm not against gay rights by any means, but I think this guy is getting a bad rap," Ed Vatter added. "Plus, the food's pretty good."

Some customers said they waited in line over an hour, and were told it would take about even longer before they were able to order their food.

They were unswayed.

"That man - just like you or I - has a right to say, 'This is what I believe' and not be punished for it," Karen Kenney told the L.A. Times.

In all, it was an overwhelming response to the backlash of recent weeks, which saw protests outside restaurants and calls to boycott the chain.

Actor Ed Helms was among the first to boycott Chick-fil-A over the issue; many other stars and regular people alike have urged the same.

What do you think of efforts to boycott Chick-fil-A?

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