CREATED Aug. 3, 2012
PALM SPRINGS--Chick-Fil-A supporters had their say earlier this week with Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Supporters of the chicken chain set a one day sales record after the company's CEO came out against gay marriage. Now supporters on the other side are firing back.
Gay rights activists are taking their message of equality to the fast food chain with national Same-Sex Kiss Day. While there isn't a Chick-Fil-A here in the Coachella Valley, there are some in Riverside County, and the debate over marriage equality is ruffling feathers across the valley.
The so-called "kiss-in" at Chick-Fil-A's across the nation is in reaction to recent comments made by the fast food chain's president. You'll remember, he said he believes in the biblical definition of marriage -- between a man and a woman.
"There is such a thing as freedom of speech and so on and so forth but I think when it becomes against a particular group like that I think that it's bad," James Zentner from Cathedral City said."
The remarks, as well the company's financial support of groups, gay rights activists see as anti-gay, have angered some people. Richard Noble is one of them. He was the first gay man to walk the rainbow flag across the nation.
"I walked by a lot of Chick-Fil-A's," Gay Rights Activist Richard Noble said. "I did not eat there. I couldn't for the same reason I walked the flag across America. I'm tired of seeing the hurt and lives being ruined by discrimination."
Hamburger Mary's in Palm Springs showed support for chicken and gay rights by offering a Chick-Fil-A type sandwich, one they are saying is prepared without hate.
"I think everybody's got their own right to have an opinion," Mark Jones, General Manager of Hamburger Mary's said. "As far as what they did, they did it in a context where I think they're doing it for their own promotion seeing as how yesterday went with their lines out the doors."
This woman worked at Chick-Fil-A for three years, and her dad happens to be gay. She says while upper management has come out against same sex unions, those who work behind the counter come from all different backgrounds.
"Everyone I worked with at Chick-Fil-A, everyone had different opinions so the people at the top, you know, obviously had very strong religion, but not all of the employees think that way. It's just sad it's being shed in this light," former Chick-Fil-A employee, Casey Vaughn said.
In Torrance, graffiti reading "tastes like hate," with a picture of a cow next to it was painted on the side of a Chick-Fil-A. Like the "Kiss In" and "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," people are exercising their First Amendment rights across the nation.