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Teens protest Chick-fil-A gay marriage stance at new O.C. branch

Teens protest Chick-fil-A gay marriage stance at new O.C. branch
Teens protest outside the new Laguna Hills Chick-fil-A, which opened Thursday. (GLAAD)

The Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy spilled into the Southland early Thursday morning, as a large group of teens protested the chain's perceived anti-gay stance outside a newly opened Laguna Hills branch.

About 70 protesters from the nonprofit group Youth Empowered to Act handed out fliers and asked customers at the Orange County restaurant to make a different fast-food choice.

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Activists dressed up as chickens, wore shirts emblazoned with "Gay O.K." slogans, carried rainbow flags and carried signs riffing on the chain's "Eat Mor Chikin" slogan. They began arriving at 5 a.m.; the restaurant opened at 6 a.m., said Rich Ferraro, a spokesman with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

At issue: Chick-fil-A's millions of dollars in donations to anti-gay organizations as well as company president Dan Cathy's comments last week that the chain is "guilty as charged" of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Response to Cathy's statements have been passionate from both sides.

The company has endured backlash from the creator of the Muppets, mayors from Boston and Chicago, and a slew of Hollywood celebrities. But several prominent conservatives, including Mike Huckabee and Michelle Malkin, have publicly championed the chain.

On Wednesday, Rick Santorum tweeted about the Aug. 1 Chick-fil-A appreciation day proposed by Huckabee.

"With two of my boys, Enjoying chick-in-strips and an awesome peach shake at Chick-fil-A," Santorum tweeted. "See you here next Wednesday!"

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