Aug. 1, 2012 at 9:08 AM ET
Supporters of restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, which has come under fire for its president's anti-same-sex marriage stance, are planning a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday.
According to news reports, Christian conservatives have promised to buy the Atlanta-based chain's waffle fries and chicken sandwiches to show their support of President Dan Cathy, who recently told a Baptist publication that he was "guilty as charged" in his support of the "biblical definition" of the family as being between a man and a woman.
The statement sparked a firestorm of criticism from gay marriage supporters and politicians, turning Chick-fil-A into a lightening rod for the debate over same-sex unions.
A Chicago alderman vowed to block a Chick-fil-A proposed in his district, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported him, saying, "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values." Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote in a letter to Cathy: "There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."
Muppets creator The Jim Henson company yanked its toys from Chick-fil-A restaurants, saying it has "celebrated and embraced diversity for over 50 years." It directed its revenue from the Chick-fil-A toys to GLAAD, a leading gay rights organization.
Chick-fil-A, which is a national chain but has the majority of its 1,600 restaurants in the South, is not without its supporters.
Related story: Chick-fil-A out of the fryer, into the fire
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" to support a business "whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values." Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who like Huckabee ran for president as a darling of social conservatives, joined the cause along with religious leaders.
"As the son of a dairy farmer who milked many a cow, I plan to `Eat Mor Chikin' and show my support by visiting Chick-fil-A next Wednesday," the Rev. Billy Graham said in a statement last week, referring to the slogan in the company's ads, which feature cows urging people to eat poultry.
People on the other side of the debate are planning to have same-sex kiss-in at some restaurant locations on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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