Originally published August 1, 2012 at 6 a.m., updated August 1, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
What came first, the Chick-fil-A recantation — or the protests?
Let’s back up a bit.
Dan Cathy, president of the national fast-food chain with 1,600 restaurants, caused a ruckus recently by telling the Baptist Press that Chick-fil-A supports the “biblical definition of the family unit.”
Cathy elaborated that the country is “Inviting God’s judgment on our own nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ”
Gay groups responded as you might expect … with outrage. Mayors of New York, Chicago and Boston questioned whether Chick-fil-A permits should be pulled. But today, supporters of "traditional" marriage turned out at restaurants in San Diego and elsewhere in the country to back Cathy's sentiments.
The chain, meanwhile, has attempted to defuse the controversy. In a statement, the company said the culture and service tradition in Chick-fil-A restaurants is to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
It continues, “Our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
But gay advocates in San Diego and across the country aren’t letting it go.
They plan to counter what they call Cathy’s homophobic sentiments with “National Same-Sex Kiss Day.”
The smooching protests are planned on Friday at Chick-fil-A franchises in Oceanside and in the Midway District of San Diego. San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality and the political non-profit Canvass for a Cause are organizing the protests.
Rachel Schoma, executive director of Canvass for a Cause, says plans for Friday include picketing and signs, but same-sex kissing is also welcome.
“This is a celebration of the fact that all couples and all love is equal … we’re going to go and demonstrate that unity and that love at Chick-fil-A,” said Schoma. “They said something hateful that hurt a lot of people — and we’re going to be responding with love and solidarity.”
An employee at the San Diego Chick-Fil-A said the restaurant is not commenting on the protests, but they will be serving everyone who comes in.
City news Service contributed to this story