Chicken sandwich becomes a political statement

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Reporter - Todd Faulkner
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

PADUCAH — Thousands of people turned out Wednesday to support fast food chain Chick-fil-A and its president's anti-same-sex marriage stance.

It started when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a Christian magazine he supported a "biblical definition of the family unit". The company financially supports a philanthropy group called WinShape that has donated millions of dollars to groups that actively lobby against gay marriage.

That outraged some same-sex marriage advocates, who called for a boycott of the restaurant. That in turn outraged opponents of same sex marriage who called for Wednesday's show of support for the company.

People demonstrated all across the United States, including at Paducah's Chick-fil-A location.

Shalon Day supports the company and its president.

"It's our right as Christians, as Americans, to support a company that's been around for a long time running under the same values," Day said. "This whole spin has been blown way out of proportion. As Christians we're to love everyone. It doesn't matter. For him to answer a question honestly that was posed to him, he answered it. What's the problem?"

Fellow Chick-fil-A supporter Suzanne Shultz agreed.

"My own beliefs and my values are in line with those of the people who run this company," Schultz said. "It is my right to choose where I go, what businesses I frequent, what businesses I choose not to frequent, just as it is with everybody in this country."

Robert Courtney advocates same sex marriage.

"The gay community is alive and well in Paducah, Kentucky. We're not going anywhere," Courtney said. "When a CEO of a company stands up against an entire group of people, there just needs to be a rebuttal. There needs to be a counterpoint."

Courtney added, "There is a very real stigma attached to homosexuality in our country and particularly in this community."

Courtney hopes to change that during a nationwide movement scheduled for Friday in opposition to Wednesday's event.

Proponents of same-sex marriage have their own protests planned including a "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" to be held at Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is the one who declared Wednesday "Chick-fil-A appreciation Day" to support the business. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also joined the cause along with religious leaders.

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