Culture Wars At The Lunch Counter: Local Residents Pack Chick-Fil-A

The crowd inside the Franklin Avenue Chick-fil-A restaurant in Waco. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Ziegler)

WACO (August 1, 2012)—Residents packed the Chick-Fil-A at 4310 Franklin Ave. in Waco Wednesday in support of the restaurant chain, which has drawn criticism over an executive’s comments about gay marriage.

Lunch-hour lines were long inside the restaurant and traffic was backed up on Franklin as residents waited to pull into the parking lot.

Viewers reported long lines and traffic tie-ups Wednesday at the two Chick-fil-A restaurants on 31st Street in Temple.

The scene played out at Chick-Fil-A restaurants throughout Central Texas around the country after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who’s a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."

The Rev. Billy Graham, 93, ate a Chick-fil-A lunch, including a chicken sandwich and waffle fries, Wednesday at his North Carolina home, a spokesman said.

Chick-fil-A became the latest front in the nation’s culture wars after the chain’s president Dan Cathy said last month he supported traditional marriage.

Cathy said his privately owned company is "guilty as charged" in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family unit.

In a later radio interview, he said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

The comments unleashed a mix of criticism and support.

The Cathy family has never made a secret of its Southern Baptist views and closes its restaurants on Sundays, but Cathy's statements fired up gay rights groups, who called for a boycott.

Opponents of the company's stance plan a protest called "Kiss Mor Chiks" Friday.

They’re encouraging same-sex couples to go to Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and kiss each other.

Chick-fil-A has said it has a history of applying biblically based principles to its business, and said it strives to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect.