The fracas that developed over comments made by the chairman of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain in support of traditional marriage garnered a huge response, not only in the number of customers served on August 1, but also earnings poured into the till. Customers descended the approximately 1,600 Chick-Fil-A stores nationwide on what had come to be called "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," by supporters of traditional marriage. Former Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee had called on Americans to voice their support of "traditional values" by digging into chicken sandwiches at the chain.
The result was "record-setting" sales for the national chain that adheres to the Christian principles of its founders by closing its doors on Sundays in honor of the Christian sabbath day. In a statement, company spokesman Steve Robinson said "While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record setting day." Robinson added, "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was not a company promotion; it was initiated by others." Showing apparent indifference to customers who have pushed to boycott the chain and block the opening of new Chick-fil-A store, Robinson also said "We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."
The latter statement was a reference to what supporters of homosexual marriage are calling a "kiss-in" in which homosexuals are to kiss at Chick-fil-A restaurants on August 3.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago denounced the chain because of statements made by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A. Speaking in an interview with the Baptist Press newspaper, Cathy said in July that Chick-Fil-A that his company is "very much supportive of the family," When asked about his company's support for traditional marriage, Cathy responded, "Well, guilty as charged." Cathy said that he and Chick-Fil-A support traditional marriage based on Biblical values
"We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives," Cathy said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
John Kirkwood, who is the co-host with Pete LaBarbera of the AFTAH Hour - which focuses on the gay political movement - recorded a video in Schaumburg IL that showed ground lined up at a suburban Chicago Chick-Fil-A on a hot evening to buy their dinner. The crowds appeared to be orderly and in queue for their chicken sandwiches. Among those at the Appreciation Day at Schaumburg was Helene Walsh, the wife of Representative Joe Walsh (R). Catholic nuns, apparently of the Carmelite order, were also there to pick up a chicken sandwich.