(NEW YORK) — On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage activists ate “mor chickin” to support Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. On Thursday, it is same-sex marriage allies’ turn.
Gay marriage supporters are putting a romantic spin on traditional sit-ins, organizing “kiss-ins” outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants from Dallas to New York City to celebrate National Same-Sex Kiss Day.
“Basically what you’re going to get is a bunch of pretty normal, average, everyday people that just happen to be gay or lesbian give each other a kiss or a hug, hold each other’s hand, and really show them that we stand up for what we believe,” said Marci Alt, who is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga., about 20 miles from the company’s Atlanta headquarters.
While the spark for this week’s protests both for and against Chick-fil-A stemmed from comments the company’s CEO, Dan Cathy, made supporting traditional marriage, the issues driving people to the streets go deeper than one executive’s words.
“For me why it’s so important is, I don’t believe anybody should have the ability to say, I’m not a good Christian, or I’m Jewish, that I’m not a good Jew because I’m gay,” said Alt, who has been with her wife for 12 years and has two daughters. The couple have invited Cathy over to dinner, where they “can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia,” said Alt, who says she’ll even make chicken.
Many of the Chick-fil-A supporters who turned out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day told ABC News that they chose to eat chicken sandwiches on Wednesday to support Cathy’s First Amendment rights to express his opinion on marriage.
Activists who are planning to turn out for Friday’s kiss-off say it is not about speech, it’s about action. Chick-fil-A and the non-profit foundation WinShape that it supports have donated millions to anti-gay groups such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Family Research Council and the National Institute of Marriage, all of which support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
“Yes, you’re allowed to have your opinion, but when you start signing checks over to people who are against my community and trying to rip my family apart, I’m going to stand up,” Alt said.
Alt said she expects “hundreds, hopefully thousands” of people to show up for the Atlanta kiss-in. Other formal protests are planned in Dallas and New York City and hundreds of other informal kiss-ins are expected around the country.
“It is just a nice nonviolent demonstration of LGBT love,” said Rome Frost, who is organizing a kiss-in outside of New York City’s only Chick-fil-A location, at New York University. “It’s to show how much support that we do have and how we can solve these kinds of problems in a very nonviolent and romantic way.”
Frost said he expects between 150 and 200 people — both gay and straight — to show up for the New York City kiss-in, which starts at 8 P.M. ET.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN