Chick-Fil-A kiss-in counter protest
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was billed as a "kiss in" a chance for same sex couples to show their love, in the face of what were seen as hateful statements about same sex marriage by the president of Chick-Fil-A.
The event followed "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," held on Wednesday, where hundreds lined up to buy sandwiches, in a show of support for the chain.
The event was loud, colorful, and peaceful. Hundreds of supporters of same sex marriage and gay rights taking a stand.
Robert Calderon of Fresno says he was here for, "Just less hate and more love in this country. That's what we need."
Many here saw the statement by Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy that same sex marriage would invite God's judgment as being hateful.
Jason Scott of Gay Fresno said, "So, we're out here today to show that we don't approve of that message and we're just out to exercise our first amendment rights too."
A Fresno State student, said her name was Dauscha told us, "I was never against the chain itself I just don't like how they are supporting against my equal rights."
But the protest didn't stop those who supported the company presidents stand from coming out. Shirin Schneider of Fresno brought her four children in for sandwiches.
"I really appreciate that the onwer of Chick-Fil-A has a right to express his views in the country and I just want to support that."
Although she told us she tries to avoid fast food, she likes the sandwiches too.
"Actually I do."
On Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day drew huge crowds in Fresno and across the country. Most said they came out to support freedom of speech. Bruce Hershey was back again after Wednesday's event. "I'm just glad to see the public support for Chick-Fil-A, even if people don't agree with the statement of the President, he has a right to his opinion."
But gay rights activists say it's more than just one man's opinion. They say Chick-Fil-A donates millions of dollars to groups that actively fight against gay rights and same sex marriage.
Craig Turpin of Fresno said, "Just that people know where their money goes and what the corporations are doing with it."
But the money for Chick-Fil-A keeps coming. The controversy has provided the company a boost they set a sales record on Wednesday. But the activists like Robert Calderon here predict the public's appetite will eventually change. "Less chicken sandwiches, more equality." He proclaimed.
The groups named by the activists here include: The Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family. Two related Christian groups that oppose gay rights. Exodus, which advocates converting homosexuals. Yes on 8, The National Organization for Marriage and a group called Vote for Marriage, which all oppose same sex marriage.
In 2009 and 2010 Chick-Fil-A provided about two million dollars a year to those groups through its Winshape Foundation.
gay rights, fresno, local, gene haagenson
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