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Thousands At OP Chick-fil-A Supporting Free Speech and ‘Traditional’ Marriage

In the wake of Chick-fil-A president’s gay marriage statement, with mayors in Boston and San Francisco telling the company to open elsewhere, a massive crowd showed Wednesday in support of the Orland Park franchise.

The wait around 3 p.m. Wednesday was two hours through a winding line at parking lot just to get to the front door.

“I like their view on marriage and I believe we should have the freedom to at least express our views on it,” said Susan Soulian, who drove an hour from Wilmington to wait in the long line. “That’s all they did. You can’t let a business not set up because of a different viewpoint.”

Soulian was among a steady flow of people numbering in the thousands who appeared at the Orland Park Chick-fil-A franchise throughout Wednesday, to show support after public officials denounced the company’s stance against gay marriage.

The fallout, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s own statement about the company’s values “are not Chicago’s values,” started with a comment made by Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy.

According to the Baptist Press article by K. Allan Blume:

Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.

In response to the outcries against the company, Fox News pundit and former governor Mike Huckabee created a Facebook event called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, though the company had no formal involvement.

“This is not a Chick-fil-A event, nor a Chick-fil-A sponsored event,” said Cassie Dignan, marketing director for the Orland Park restaurant. “It was started by fans of Chick-fil-A. “We just heard through the news that we should probably get ready. We had a lot of people call last week that they’d be coming.”

Dignan said an exact number of customers wouldn’t be available until after business hours, but a long wrap around line outside the restaurant – that one patient patron said took about two hours just to get inside – started forming around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“Some people were waiting in line at 5:30 a.m. before we opened,” Dignan said. “. It’s just been crazy. We’re just a chicken place that’s here to serve really great chicken and treat people with honor, dignity and respect.”

Former Michigan State Senator Cameron Brown and his wife Helen drove about two-and-a-half hours to Orland Park from Kalamazoo, Michigan to support the company.

“This is a fundamental expression of everything we believe as Americans,” Cameron Brown said about visiting the Orland franchise. “Mr. Cathy has been well-mannered. He made a statement about marriage and he has a right to do that. It’s hard to imagine this is happening in America. We feel this is the most patriotic expression we can do.”

Cameron Brown further said statements from Emanuel and other mayors are “mean-spirited and un-American.”

Becky Howard came from Bridgeview to offer her support at the Orland location, but chose to open doors for people leaving rather than wait in the long line.

“I don’t believe in same sex marriage, but I do think if we don’t stand up for our rights they could take away our freedom of speech,” Howard said. “It bothers me that we live in a country where we should have freedom of speech and it could be taken away just because we believe differently.”

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Laura B August 05, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Barbara - you are joking, right?
Laura B August 05, 2012 at 08:39 PM
If you vote for Romney you are voting for the exact reason of what is wrong with this country.
Julie August 05, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Laura B....like I said "Remember that much of the Mosaic law was fulfilled by Jesus so be sure to include many NT references as well as OT" Every reference which has been taken completely out of historical context is from the Old Testament. I will give you some NT thoughts on marriage: Mark 10:11-12 Luke 16:18 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 Ephesians 5:21-25 (Don't read this and leave out verse 28!) Ephesians 5:31 Oh, why not just read all of Ephesians 5.... Hebrews 13:4 Clearly you don't understand the OT. I'm not a theologian, but at least I understand that the OT laws were meant to be formational in order to bring the people from worshiping gold cows to the point where they would be ready to hear Jesus' message.
Carol August 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
How come you can say your for it and that is ok, but if you say your against it, that makes people mad. So what, everyone has their own opinion, not everyone has to be for gay marriages.
Dean Casper August 08, 2012 at 04:55 PM
That is the very point I am making. No matter the issue, liberals, especially Liberals holding public office, demand 100% compliance with their political agenda or they will use the power of their office to make life very difficult for you. Speak out against any Iiberal initiative and suddenly you are having a zoning problem, etc. unemployment and underemployment are at historic levels. We need jobs! Here you have liberal politicians holding ideology over employment. They would rather deny their economically oppressed constituents an opportunity to work and make a living than allow a CEO voice opposition to liberal ideology.

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