It’s not the combo Chick-fil-A is used to: Instead of a chicken sandwich and waffle fries, the chain got a potent mix Wednesday of protest and support as Americans used Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to debate gay marriage.
Silver Lake small business owner Ari Solomon, 36, showed up at a Hollywood Chick-fil-A – but not to eat. Instead, he was there as a volunteer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, informing customers of the chain’s history of opposing gay marriage as well as its alleged cruelty to chickens.
“Then, people can make their own choices whether or not they want to spend their money there,” he said. “[The company is] taking a very strong stand against civil rights. Hollywood is a very gay-friendly community.”
But customer and Los Angeles resident Virgie Howard, 39, said she was willing to wait in line to get a chicken sandwich because “everyone has freedom of speech.”
“I don’t feel like they should be attacked for having opinions,” she said.
Also Wednesday, Ron Prentice, chief executive of California Family, sparred over the issue with political activist and National Same Sex Kiss Day organizer Carly McGehee on a Los Angeles Times video chat.
Former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both took to social media to discuss their patronage of Chick-fil-A. Popular West Hollywood bar The Abbey – which caters to gay clientele – unveiled its new Chick-For-Gay sandwich, an unapologetic knockoff of the Chick-fil-A version.
Follow Laura Hautala on Twitter